The $400,000 question on college affordability

October 23, 2012

After a few minutes focused on foreign policy, the candidates sparred at length over a question asked via Tout by a young man concerned about reports that the price tag of college may rise to as much as $400,000 in 2030.

“Is college even worth it at that point?” he asks.

Stein and Anderson argued in favor of increased spending on student loans, while Goode and Johnson made the case – similar to a point of view expressed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other conservatives – that increased federal spending on loans actually raises the cost of higher education, because colleges will raise their prices accordingly.

“Let’s bail out the students and do something really useful with that bailout. ... We cannot afford not to educate our students,” Stein said.

Goode countered: “The person that asked the question on the Internet is not going to like it, but we can’t afford more Pell grants and more federal student loans.”

Johnson told the crowd that “’free’ comes with a cost.”

“‘Free,’ very simply, is spending more money than you take in. ... ‘Free’ has gotten us to the point where we are going to exp some monetary collapse,” he said.

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Josh Hicks | October 23, 2012