The Obama administration announced an initiative to make it easier for college students to understand the costs of their education, both immediate and long-term.
Under the program, participating colleges will provide students with more information about their financial aid options, odds of graduation, and estimate their monthly payments on borrowed money after graduation.
All to the good, we believe.
A better understanding of financial options can only help students make better decisions in their 20s that could follow them into their 30s and beyond.
So, why wasn’t this done sooner?
Until recently, college was seen as an unalloyed good bet, cost be damned. In the long run, the lifetime earning power of a four-year degree easily outpaced four years of indebtedness. So, the thinking went, go where you want to go, study want you want to study, and worry about the cost later.
But education costs have spiraled upward with little regard to the increasing burden on young graduates .
Further, college degrees are no longer much of a guarantee, especially in an economy that is not producing enough jobs, fewer still with good pay and benefits.
So, while we approve of the effort to provide better transparency into the financing options and consequences of university offers to students, no one should be fooled that transparency goes to the heart of the problem. For students to get good value, their educations must be affordable and give them marketable skills for existing jobs.
The Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman (June 14)