Coming soon: No federal loans, fewer black students

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I gave a keynote of the 2017 KIPP convening in Las Vegas about the public good

I read an interesting op-ed recently arguing that colleges and universities should be required to co-sign loans for students who enter, ensuring that the institutions have some “skin in the game” for their success. It was written as if we don’t have any right now? Institutions invest a great deal of money into students, which is why discount rates continue to rise.

Here is the article:

I figured I would counter this piece by making what I think is the best analogy of how higher education works. It is like a gym membership. Just because you pay the membership does not mean you will get fine! You have to work out, take advantage of the classes and trainers, and just as important, you have to eat right! If you eat junk food you work against effort at the gym.

Here is my take:

This idea of risk sharing is not going away. The real truth is this: lawmakers are still overwhelmingly white, and higher education is becoming browner. Those lawmakers don’t see themselves in the next generation, and they don’t want their tax dollars supporting those kids. I’m not just making this up. A great article in The Chronicle documented an Arizona lawmaker saying this explicitly.

Here is a key paragraph:

Working on labor and education policy for many years, Mr. Carnevale, 70, has seen that dynamic at play. “White people my age are not going to vote to educate Hispanic kids or black kids,” he says. “All the great advances in education” — like the Morrill Act to create land-grant colleges in 1862 and the GI Bill to educate veterans of World War II — “have come when there was a strong white majority.” As those majorities have diminished, the public instead has pushed through measures to limit education benefits, restricting tax revenue, for example, cutting spending, and putting constraints on immigrant students.

Just as we need to pay attention to gerrymandering designed to marginalize votes of black and brown people, the next wave will be to eliminate federal loans so that you can only get private ones, and that will ultimately erase the hopes of most people of color from obtaining a higher education.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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