College Affordability

As you may know, I'm a recent college graduate, four years behind schedule. Like so many other Americans, I'm saddled with the debt from that education. I've often said that the cost of a college education is not so much the tuition but the expenses - supplies, health care, rent most of all, even food is becoming more expensive.

Nonetheless, tuition is increasing as well. In some cases it's increasing faster than inflation and, in the age of hush-hush stagflation, it's certainly increasing faster than income. If you are not from a family with a comfortable pool of wealth, the price of college will quickly put you and your family in serious debt.

There have been plenty of reports about this and its presumed causes. University administrators often point out - correctly - that the cost of educating a student has been increasing; the prices reflect that cost, not new revenue for the institutions. In Nevada, budgetary constraints are prompting a surcharges and tuition increases. 

Congress has also been trying to help, sorta. The Bush Administration, and its supporters in Congress, have long seen debt as no terrible thing.  The Democrats have made college affordability part of their New Direction and '08 campaign platforms. Loan interest rates have been reduced. More may be done in the near future.

Last week, the a House committee referred out legislation to address college affordability. Primarily, the goal is to increase the amounts available through PLUS and Stafford loans, but also to provide relief for parents and students who's ability to re-pay has been compromised by the mortgage crisis.

Last month, the House had passed similar legislation that included a piracy rider. This would have forced universities to combat (and, presumably, show headway against) illegal media and software downloading through their campus networks. That bill got through the Senate without the rider, but has since been tabled (killed).

Sadly, it's all a lot of deck chair rearranging. If you are a college student, the parent of a college student, or a college graduate, contact your Senators and your Representative and ask them to support efforts to make college more affordable.

Reno and Its Discontents

If you are from Northern Nevada, I encourage you to check out Reno and Its Discontents. If you're not from Northern Nevada, it may not make much sense, but go there and click on an ad anyway.

Myrna the Minx is the blog's proprietor, tho the blog's been a communal effort recently, incorporating posts from Dullard Mush's The Anon Guy, Mr. Jerz and others.

Those blogs are still operating - and using their posts - so why Discontents is padding its content is a little confusing. It seems to be a hub of sorts for the Northern Nevada blogging community. Perhaps the market is consolidating?

I think one big Reno blog is a good idea. (It's the capitalist pig in me.) If the economy of scale generates a functional ad revenue base and that profit is plied into keeping an eye on the hijinks of Renoland, I'm all for it.

If that is not what's happening then... well... drat.