As if you needed any more proof that the 2012 campaign will fail to take higher education issues seriously, the New York Times reported yesterday that President Obama is using his stops in swing states to assail Mitt Romney for his supposed views on financing college tution. Obama, the article notes, argued that Romney “would cut student loans and grants” but “do nothing to curb the tution increases that threaten to put higher education out of reach of millions of middle class Americans.” This is worse than misleading: it evinces a fundamental ignorance of the economics of higher education education. The “tuition increases” Obama laments are made possible by the federal guarantee of funds through the same “loans and grants” he champions. Therefore, curbing the government’s aid to colleges and universities would undoubtely slow the rate of tuition growth.
It’s too bad Romney hasn’t seriously proposed anything resembling what Obama claims he’s proposed. We can only hope he does so. He should actually earn the President’s criticism.