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As I See It

Reducing college costs better than erasing student debt

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When President Joe Biden wiped out student debt for some college borrowers, he only addressed the symptom, not the illness. The real problem is less the amount of debt students held, but why they had to borrow it in the first place. The cost of attending college these days is extraordinarily high, and rising. The average annual cost for attending college in the U.S. is now more than $28,000 a year. Assuming it takes four years to get a degree, that works out to a pricetag of more than $100,000 to get a degree. That is an increase of 180% from just 40 years ago. College costs have risen four times as fast as inflation. The University of Wisconsin system deserves credit for holding the line on tuition for the past several years, but the fact is it shouldn’t cost this much to get a degree. Part of the cause of the rising costs is that colleges continue to attract more and more students, and that means more professors, at higher and higher salaries. In the UW System, for example, there are 9 employees making more than $500,000 a year, and 128 employees making more than $300,000. Wiping out all that student debt only helps those who hold student loan debt today. It does nothing to help future generations afford to go to college. Lowering the costs of attending college would help everyone today and into the future.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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