Author: Andrew Gillen

Andrew Gillen is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Legal Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the sixth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 6: Legal Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness The Executive […]

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The Political Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the fifth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 5: Political Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness There are […]

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The Moral Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the fourth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 4: Moral Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness Student loan […]

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The Economic Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the third in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 3: Economic Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness Student loan […]

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The Educational Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the second in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 2: Educational Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness The next […]

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The Logical and Rhetorical Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the first in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 1: Logical and Rhetorical Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness […]

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Further Evidence That Higher Education Accreditation Is a Cartel

Accreditors serve as key gatekeepers in higher education. Without accreditation, a college’s students are not eligible to receive federal financial aid such as Pell grants and federal student loans. This gives accreditors a fairly unique role in allocating federal spending—these private entities decide whether taxpayer dollars will flow to a college. Given that the public […]

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The Latest Batch of Forgiven Loans Shows Why Student Loan Forgiveness Is Such a Bad Idea

The Department of Education is going to forgive an additional $6.2 billion in student loans for 100,000 students through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This adds to the $1 billion in previously forgiven loans for 11,000 students. This shows one of the reasons why student loan forgiveness is such a bad idea. Under the […]

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I Just Made My Last Student Loan Payment—Here’s How to Improve the System

I borrowed over $30,000 for college, and after many years of repayment, I am now officially (student loan) debt-free. By a bizarre twist of fate, much of my professional life has been devoted to studying financial aid programs like student loans. In this essay, I reflect back on how my student loan experience compares to […]

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PSLF Was Already Bad. The Biden Administration Just Made It Worse.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced new changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The changes make a bad program worse. PSLF was launched in 2007 and provides accelerated loan forgiveness for politically favored workers.  Other college graduates with student loan debt need to make payments for at least 20 years […]

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Six Thoughts on Biden’s Free Community College Plan

Details are starting to emerge about the Biden administration’s plans for free community college. According to a story in Inside Higher Ed by Alexis Gravely, the key details include: States that opt-in must set community college tuition and fees to $0 and must maintain current spending on community colleges. To offset the loss of tuition, […]

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The Four Schools of Conservative Thought on Education

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is part of a longer essay published by The Heritage Foundation on the conservative policy response to COVID for higher education. The full essay can be found at The Heritage Foundation website. The key to finding policies that can garner widespread conservative support lies in understanding the four schools of thought through […]

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Data-Driven Accountability is Coming to Higher Ed

Most people and institutions are held accountable, however imperfectly. We all know of a charlatan who has yet to be exposed, or a shady institution that is coasting on its reputation, but eventually, the truth wins out. With any luck, that moment has arrived for higher education. Last fall’s publication of the most comprehensive college […]

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Don’t Bail Out Colleges. Help Students Instead.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing devastating financial damage throughout the economy, and higher education is no exception. Colleges worry about a decline in enrollments from students newly wary of gathering in close quarters, cuts in state funding that historically accompany recessions, and declines in the value of endowments. These dangers are real, but they don’t […]

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State-Funded Colleges Are Still Well Funded

I have a confession to make. My recent study on state funding of higher education was about the simplest piece of research I’ve done in a dozen years. So was the finding; there’s been no trend of state disinvestment in higher education. But what a ruckus it caused. The key finding entailed simply downloading and […]

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How to Lower Skyrocketing College Tuition Costs

Conservatives have long worried about the Bennett Hypothesis. Named for former Education Secretary William Bennett, it argues that the availability of federal financial aid programs leads colleges to increase tuition faster than they otherwise would. Conservatives have been right to worry. But there’s a way to break that link—by changing how we determine aid eligibility. […]

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A Better Way to Solve the Student Loan Crisis

Skin in the game for student loans, the idea that colleges should face financial consequence when their students default, is gaining momentum in policy discussions. After all, when students take out loans, the colleges get all their money upfront, leaving taxpayers holding the bag when students default on the loan payments years later. It seems […]

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Student loan debt

Here’s Why Tuition Keeps Rising

Ice cream cake has a disturbingly short lifespan in my home. When one is nearby, I ruthlessly hunt it down and devour it. Some days, when I have biked to work or gone for a run, I easily convince myself that I deserve cake as a reward. But exercise does not cause my cake-eating. It […]

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Default on Student Loans? Bad Idea

Writing in The New York Times, Lee Siegel encourages students to follow his example and default on their student loans. The four biggest problems with his piece are: Siegel is the wrong case study Even if you are of the opinion that college should be free and student debt is immoral, Siegel is the wrong […]

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Defending Income-Contingent Student Loans

Last week George Leef argued that my recent case for income contingent lending (ICL), a type of student loan where the monthly payment is a function of the student’s income, was off base. One of his main points was that if ICL is such a good idea, “Why do we not find “income-contingent” lending in […]

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Let’s Tie Our Hands on Student Loans

Odysseus, in Homer’s Odyssey, orders himself tied to the mast of his ship so he can hear the beautiful song of the Sirens without risking the usual gruesome fate of those who sail too close to the singers. This lesson – if you know you are going to make a bad decision you should tie […]

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The Four Lessons I Learned by Taking a MOOC

Very few people who enroll in MOOCs (massive open online courses) tell us about the experience. I just took one and learned these lessons: Lesson One: Professors need to start phasing out in-class lecturing now. Based on my own experience as a student and as an adjunct professor, the vast majority of professors spend much […]

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What Do Professors Really Think?

From the blog The Quick & the Ed  The Undergraduate Teaching Faculty The 2010-2011 HERI Faculty Survey , a survey of faculty at four-year universities by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, contains some interesting findings. Almost a quarter of professors at four-year universities do not consider teaching their “principal activity” (pg 19) The […]

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A Short Reply to Charlotte

Charlotte Allen‘s response to my recent piece on the denial of accreditation for Ashford contains some good material, but some misunderstanding. My piece is not about whether the Ashford decision itself was flawed–I never stated that WASC was wrong to deny Ashford accreditation and flatly stated: “It is certainly possible that Ashford doesn’t deserve accreditation…” […]

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What’s Wrong with Accreditation–A Textbook Case

The world of higher education is abuzz with the news that a for-profit university, Ashford University, whose Iowa campus holds accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, has been denied accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for its online headquarters. Denial of accreditation for schools that already have […]

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What Cost Shift to College Students and Parents?

A new report from Demos, a policy and advocacy center, titled The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class “examines how state disinvestment in public higher education over the past two decades has shifted costs to students and their families.”

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Does Tuition Go Up Because State Funding Goes Down?

Gary Fethke’s recent op-ed Why Does Tuition Go Up? Because Taxpayer Support Goes Down in The Chronicle of Higher Education is an enjoyable read. Rather than dismiss the opposing side’s argument with straw men, as is so common these days, Fethke presents it faithfully and gives it due consideration, which is a breath of fresh […]

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Yes, College Professors Can Work Harder

David C. Levy’s Washington Post article, “Do college professors work hard enough?” set off quite the firestorm. His basic point was that we currently “pay for teaching time of nine to fifteen hours per week for 30 weeks,” but that If the higher education community were to adjust its schedules and semester structure so that […]

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The Tuition Story That Never Dies

Some commentaries on higher education appear year after year, almost unchanged. One of these hardy perennials is the story that tuition and fees don’t come close to paying for the actual cost of educating college students. In his popular book, The Economic Naturalist, Cornell University economist Robert Frank claims that tuition payments cover only a […]

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The Student Loan Debacle–What a Mess

Until recently, much talk about student loans was fact-free: There simply weren’t publicly available figures worth paying attention to. The official balance of student loans from the NY Fed were unreliable: There was a bucket of random obligations called “Miscellaneous”, which included things like utility bills, child support, and alimony. And it turns out that […]

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