Neither my husband, our daughter, or I knew that we were paying 24% of her University of Iowa tuition bill toward other students' tuition scholarships. More than a third (36.7%) of those scholarship students my daughter helps pay for in each tuition bill have not even demonstrated any financial need.
How is this fair? We didn't even know about this until recently. There was no transparency at all.
Paying for other students' scholarships would be fine if we were rolling in the dough, but we're not. The University of Iowa is a public university and we are paying in-state tuition. Even so, a college education is not as accessible as it used to be, because tuition goes up nearly every year.
Meanwhile, the University of Iowa recently began donating $100,000 a year toward the Downtown Business Association, formerly known as SSMID. Why? What does the Downtown Business Association have to do with the university's mission? Without UI students, faculty, and staff patronage, downtown businesses would be in a world of hurt.
The University of Iowa is also paying over $100,000 to President Sally Mason's husband. It's okay to pay him for lecturing in biology. But to pay him to be Pres. Mason's consort and fellow fund-raiser? Tell me again how many male presidents' wives were paid to do exactly the same thing? I'm guessing zip. Nothing. Nada.
The University of Iowa Foundation has over $1 billion in assets yet only spends $13.1 million for student scholarships.
That's not enough, especially when you consider that students are going into debt with student loans to make up the difference in scholarship aid. My daughter has had a job to help pay for college since she was 16 years old. Do scholarship students also work? Are university administrators careful enough with their resources? I don't think so.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to increase. Doubling student loan debt interest is estimated to cost grads up to $4,000-$5,000 over the life of the average student's loan debt.
Republicans are also blocking consideration of legislation repealing tax breaks and taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil companies. So rich oil companies win and students lose. How does this make sense?
Some economists are predicting that student loan debt will explode like the housing bubble and break the economy. Over all, Americans of all ages now owe about $1 trillion in student loans. In 2010, student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time.
Student loan debt will make it difficult for students to marry, buy cars, and buy houses. Larger student loan debts will cripple their ability to consume at a rate that will help spur the economic recovery, which is 70% consumer driven, especially if recent grads can't find decent-paying jobs.