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updated: 6/27/2013 6:15 PM

A way to rein in college tuition costs

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I started my college career at a well-known private university in Chicago in 1967 when annual tuition was $900. Using an inflation calculator, that translates into $6,870 in today's dollars. Yet that university's website advertises a tuition of $35,504 for the 2013-14 academic year, approximately five times the rate of inflation. This of course was before the creation of student loans, which I suspect has greatly contributed to the price of an education. The unintended consequence of the program has been to encourage growth in extravagant campus building programs, salaries, tuition rates and student debt with little or no incentive on the part of college boards to practice fiscal restraint.

The government underwrites the university tuition and prohibits students from declaring personal bankruptcy. Government and universities are the winners while many students become virtually indentured servants for the next 25 years.

I suggest we create a disincentive for universities to continue increasing costs by employing more adjunct (part-time) professors and eliminating the provision that prohibits student loan default. Nothing like a little insecurity to encourage economic austerity.

Gerald Wester

Mount Prospect

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