Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Robin Hood and Student Lending

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed this morning:

"There's a trade-off occurring here," said Brett Lief, president of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs. "It's almost like we're Robin Hood taking from the moderate to give to the needy, when what we really need to do is increase funding over all."

I'm not sure that efforts to trim the excessive subsidies that go to private lenders and directing them to student aid is akin to stealing and aiding the poor. When the American public sits around thinking about where their tax dollars are headed, I'm pretty sure they think of students and not bankers. Making sure more students can go to college, and that student debt is more manageable seems like the right policy to me.

That being said, is Robin Hood really the best example the lenders could find to justify the status quo? I don't seem to remember Robin Hood stealing from the "moderate," I'm pretty sure he only took from the egregiously wealthy. And not just benign rich people, but really bad, theiving rich people. Also, don't people like Robin Hood? I know I grew up in the era of Kevin Costner and not Errol Flynn but still, he was a hero, the good and just people of Nottingham Forrest rallied behind him...all that stuff right? I'm also pretty sure the moral of the story wasn't, "more money for everyone" even the excessively wealthy. So if you're an oversubsidized industry looking to justify your continued overpayment by the government at the expense of millions of students, should you be comparing yourself to the villains of a well known story about wealth redistribution?

On second thought, maybe not a bad comparisson after all.

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