While making a number of good points in her May 17 letter (“Congress not doing enough to ease student loan debt”), Janet Domenitz misses the all-important one: College costs have far outpaced inflation over the last few decades.
During my last year at Tufts, in 1972-73, tuition and fees were $3,000. Based on inflation over the last 40 years, Tufts costs in 2012-13 should have been about $16,000. They are, instead, more than $44,000. My starting salary as an engineer was $11,200 per year, nearly four times my last year’s tuition. Believe me when I tell you that an engineering graduate starting out in 2013 does not make $160,000 per year.
Focusing on the government and banks overlooks the root cause of high student debt: ridiculously high and unjustifiable college costs. Well-intentioned efforts over the years to make college funding easier to obtain have just made it easier for colleges to raise their fees.
A well-funded and well-managed state university system that was attractive to students of all abilities would provide a cost-effective alternative and put a competitive brake on the cost of private universities.