Thoughts on President Obama's comments on higher education on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon | Opensource.com

Thoughts on President Obama's comments on higher education on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Posted 26 Apr 2012 by 

Mary Ann Bitter (Red Hat)
Rating: 
(2 votes)
Thoughts on President Obama's comments on higher education on Late Night with Ji
Image by : 

opensource.com

submit to reddit

President Obama was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon which was recorded at the University of North Carolina. Higher education and student loans were a big part of their conversation (see vidoes below).

We recently featured a two part infographic series on the higer education "bubble." If you missed it, here is part one and part two.

What are your thoughts on Presidents Obama's commentary regarding higher education and student loans? Did you think it was great conversation? Or did you think it lacked substance? Let's have a healthy conversation in the comments below.

submit to reddit

15 Comments

jcschweitzer
Open Minded

The visit to UNC was a campaign stop. Too much effort was put into differentiating himself from Romney, and too little into discussing the problem.

The argument that the source of student loans should be the government vs private investment hides the issue of college costs growing significantly faster than inflation. Students are insulated from the costs by student loans that don't have to be repaid until they leave school. A typical $30K debt, at graduation will hang around student's neck for twenty years or more. Delaying home purchases and investment in retirement, in addition to creating less risk adverse populations. They need to keep their job to pay back the loans.

I was able to pay for college with part time and summer jobs. Is that possible today? UNC is a relatively inexpensive state university, but even with putting money away diligently for my children every month (in addition to funding my retirement), will likely only pay for one to two years of college.

Instead of pumping more money into schools and funding it by putting an economic drain on our most productive future workers, maybe the solution is to reduce the cost of an education.

Vote up!
2
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Very correct, the solution isn't more govt. money or lower rates but less Govt. involvment and NO govt. money. Union organizations continually want more money for doing less, stop feeding the beast and let the prices come back to earth. I presume the loan rates are going back to where the people that borrowed the money agreed to pay, I have to pay my mortgage based on my agreement, why not them.

Vote up!
2
Vote down!
0
Java1Guy
Community Member

I watched this quite closely since he was at Univ of Colorado the next day (my hometown and alma mater)...
I certainly won't argue it was a campaign stop, and why not crusade on an issue you've all but won anyway... however, I AM an Obama supporter and he did make some valid points: community college options, state support, reduce overhead costs, etc.

The interesting phenomenon occurring now, especially relating to OpenSourcing, is the amount of college education available on-line and for free. Will a traditional college degree become irrelevant? There are non-profit schools (see http://www.wgu.edu/ Western Governor's University), but what about the concept of an "aggregator" -- compile a curriculum from available on-line courses, create degree programs. Sure, accreditation is an issue, but maybe it become less important, especially in areas such as software development. Startups already often are interested more in ability than credentials.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
jcschweitzer
Open Minded

The growth of college tuition is likely caused by cheap credit that doesn't have to be paid back until after leaving the institution. It causes hidden inflation and burdens the most productive members of society with long term debt. At some point, likely not far in the future, a college degree will cost more than the potential earning gains. It has already happened in Arkansas where the ten year ROI is negative.

When that happens more extensively, there will be a collapse of people going to college. I will find it difficult to pay for both college for my children and retirement. I hope the free options put price pressures on traditional education and force effieciency. The US is unmatched on the quality depth of college education. It is the foundation of our middle class. Hopefully we can solve the issue without a collapse and correction.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Another great observation on the funding of college, easy credit and the idea we all have to go to college.

If you think of the most people in the middle class, there is NO need for a college degree, business courses to learn to type and run office software, yes, trade courses to learn how repair cars, do plumbing, be an electrician, etc. College is highly over-rated unless you are in a technical field, medicine-eng.,etc.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
Java1Guy
Community Member

I would disagree with John Ward - while there isn't necessarily a skill requirement for "most people in the middle class" having a broader, more knowledgeable view of the world is a good thing for everyone.

btw - good story on NPR this morning about "merit scholarships" for private schools; upshot: discounting the huge "retail" price to attract the better students.

Vote up!
2
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Certianly there is some 'value' for a broad education, my point is that is doesn't make you a more valuable employee or member of society. Hopefully your brain isn't turned off, when you exit whatever education level you reached. My point is that to ask 'would you like a coke and fries with this order' doesn't require a Masters in Liberal Arts. There is also NO reason to be ill-prepared to do something of value for society, simply to have a college degree, often a trade school may make you more valuable to BOTH society and YOU, and that stands a good chance of making YOU happy.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
Java1Guy
Community Member

But I disagree -- perhaps it DOES make you a more valuable member of society. Just maybe when asking 'would you like coke' you've thought about just how much HFCS is in that coke...

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Well I think we have hit on the major difference; you are presuming you know better than I what is in my Coke or that I care!

Good discussion, and we have finally gotten to the important point, I think a sentient being can make their own decisions and you are sure you should be making them for me!

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
Java1Guy
Community Member

What?? That's a creative leap...
My point was the possibility that attending higher education would contribute to your enlightenment and help you make INFORMED, EDUCATED decisions. Frankly, I would consider you a MUCH more valuable member of society if you DID care what was in that coke.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Yes, I get that way sometimes, and to prove it, I don't drink Coke, so I don't really care what is in it and as long as there is information about its contents, I figure it is up to people who do drink it. See, I told you I am prone to creative leaps.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
jcschweitzer
Open Minded

Education is a life long process, but education beyond K12 with high standards, is critical for most professions that pay well. The goal is to rework education so it fits within the median budget of the middle class (the rich can afford anything, and the intelligent poor have many funding options).

That means a family with an income of $60-80K a year should be able to send their kids (two roughly on adverage) to school with a combination of part time work by the student and savings by the parent.

That includes the ability for that family to purchase a house and save for retirement (pensions are dead outside the public sector, and that bill is coming due too). Assuming taxes of 20% (Federal and state), 15% for retirement savings, house payment of $2K a month, that leaves $22K a year for all other expenses (health insurance, car, etc).

A 20 hour part time job at $10 an hour, brings in roughly $750 dollars a month, or $9K a year. Assuming a $30K a year total cost of attendence, the parents will have to contribute $84K to educate their children. Start saving at birth.

Think how hard it would be to do all that for the next generation if you have to pay student loans too. Plus, college cost grow faster than inflation, so expect to pay double in 20 years.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
John A. Ward

Again I find myself agreeing, in large part with your position. I could quibble a little bit about taxes in the 'blue' states particularily, I remember my time in NY, the tax city,state and county was close to your figure, without 8% payroll tax or federal income tax. Anyhow, my point was that there is possibly too much emphasis on a college education, too little on teaching someone something they can use (be paid for) all their life and my second point, there is NO reason to support education cost that have risen 6 times faster than inflation, stop feeding the beast with Govt. money, 'loaned' at good rates to entice consumers to purchase something, that sometimes is of NO lasting value to the individual.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
jcschweitzer
Open Minded

I lowballed the taxes, but it doesn't change the math significantly. The middle (actually the 40% to 90% range) pay the majority of taxes in the country. That's fair because the majority of income is in that range. The fact it is probably closer to 30% of income for most americans just emphasises my point.

I believe that universial education is an important factor in national development, and worth funding by the government. Not a blank check and requiring a focused cost structure that is affordable.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0
JustPassingBy

I have my own views on the real symptoms of the ever increasing costs of higher education in America these days. From what I gather there are only two real "bubbles" left in the American economy. Higher Education and Commercial Real estate market. I am not well vers on the Commercial real estate market to be honest but I think I have a very good ideal how and why Education costs are so high much higher then is reasonable or even justified. The biggest problem as I see it is the governments involvement in the Higher Education infrastructure. Colleges get a lot of monetary aid from the government in an effort to curb costs, yet perversely the opposite effect seems to happen. The colleges seem to use that money to build more and more student attractions on there campuses fitness centers, ect.. All in an effort to draw in more students, not lower the cost of educating them. It's a business after all and if a competitor down the street just opened a new rock climbing wall and coffee house on campus with there Federal money, you best believe your college will need to focus on aesthetics upgrades to the campus to keep pace. And then the cycle starts all over, Students faced with higher education costs because there now going to school and a vacation resort not a place of learning.

But I feel the coming collapse of that bubble will be a welcome thing. Because I believe a new form of education is on the verge of sweeping the world over. Website like http://www.khanacademy.org/ showcase what that future will look like. You have access to free high quality open education not subjected to one groups ideal of a structured education or agendas. Learning done at ones own pace and skill levels. Then all the brick and mortar colleges will have to offer is a nice Cafe Mocha with that piece of paper that cost you 30k and didn't guaranty you a job anyways.

Vote up!
0
Vote down!
0

Mary Ann Bitter is a Creative Strategist for Red Hat's Marketing Communications & Design team. She lives at the intersection of business and design and believes the open source values have never been more relevant than they are today.  She is passionate about problem solving and working with people who give a damn.

What is open education?

Holiday gift guide promo