We knew the college kids were angry, but as Bob Van Voris and Janet Lorin described in their recent piece for Bloomberg, we could be in for yet a whole new round of conversations about how we “value” things.
In this case, it’s the value of that good ol’ college education – you know, the one everyone’s been demanding student loan forgiveness on in recent years as it was.
But, as the kids are debating the “value” of their experiences in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s not forget, also, that a big part of the reason those tuition bills were able to reach numbers like “$70,000/year” in the first place (all the “value” they were bringing notwithstanding) – well, you guessed it – #moredebt.
Not unlike in the case of the housing market and other types of assets over the past two decades, when monetary policy remains loose, interest rates remain near zero, and #QE rules the day, it’s easy to convince everyone they should take on #moredebt because low interest rates! And “because low interest rates”, the actual price (in theory, the actual value) of the asset, good, or service, can be artificially inflated to no real end (as can the profits that flow to the owners of said assets and those who benefit from the production of said goods & services – whether they be real estate speculators, bailed-out corporations and private equity firms, or tenured college professors & administrators…)
Now, we’re all for profits flowing to those who create genuine value in our economy & society – as best determined by the exchange of value someone is willing to offer for whatever it is they want in return. The problem is, whenever the fuzzy math of #moredebt is involved, that means your values are most likely not being considered… (especially if you were someone who played by the rules, worked hard, saved money, sacrificed time, and hoped to be able to exchange the value of your hard work & sacrifice for something of genuine sound value to you in return…)
Bloomberg: Angry Undergrads Are Suing Colleges for Billions in Refunds
“To justify annual prices that can top $70,000 a year, colleges have long advertised their on-campus experience…”
What students are saying:
“I am missing out on everything that Drexel’s campus has to offer”
“…making claims of “unjust enrichment,” arguing that it’s unfair for the schools to profit from services they didn’t provide.”
“…seeking compensation for what is known as “diminution of value,” or the difference between the worth of an on-campus education and one delivered online.”
What colleges are saying:
“…called the suit against it “misdirected and wholly without merit.”
“…the crisis hasn’t changed the “core value” of its education.”
We’ll anxiously stay tuned to see how this particular series of battles plays out.