Thursday, October 20, 2005

A story that shows the problems with high tuition at institutions of higher learning.

Apparently Wal-Mart Heiress Paige Laurie is no longer a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Laurie, the granddaughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton, has returned her degree, nearly a year after Elena Martinez told ABC’s “20/20” that she had written term papers and done assignments for Laurie for 3½ years.

“Paige Laurie voluntarily has surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to the university. She is not a graduate of USC,” the school said in a statement

Now here is the kicker:

At the time of the “20/20” broadcast, Martinez said she dropped out of USC because she couldn’t afford the tuition. She said she learned a great deal by doing Laurie’s class work.

So the student who was smart enough to do the work (obviously, since Laurie was granted a diploma) won't get one, because she couldn't afford the tuition (although I would think the $20,000 should have helped, but apparently it wasn't enough) but the spoiled brat (get a hint-- elsewhere in the article it says that her parents put her name on a stadium and his father named his business Paige Sports Entertainment company) came very close to outright buying a diploma from one of the nation's premier universities.

With tuition jumping upward at a double digit clip at even public universities (together with enrollment caps in the face of budget cuts from legislatures and Congress) and the cuts in student loan programs pushed by the Bush administration, going to a university is on its way to becoming the exclusive purview of the superwealthy (along with a handful of great athletes who earn athletic scholarships).

But the good news is that poor people who are smarter than they are can still get the education by doing their homework, if they are dishonest enough.


dorsano said...

I'm an old enough fart that I was able to participate in the National Direct Student Loan program begun under Eisenhower in 1958. The NDSL program was eventually replaced by the Guarenteed Student Loan Program and the Perkins Loan program.

With direct lending, the U.S. Government is the lender. In the "guarenteed" programs, taxpayers subsidize the private sector to deliver the same loans.

Congressman Petri, a Republican from Wisconsin championed direct lending through much of his career in the House and worked to revive it with the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) legislation when he served as a member of the House Education Committee.

The argument against direct lending is that is socialism - the government is competing side by side with the private sector.

In spite of independent GAO audits showing that the direct lending programs outperform the private sector, people like Senator Pete Hoekstra insist that Expanding a program that allows the government to directly compete with the private sector is fundamentally bad public policy. CBO budget scores represent a flawed analysis that does not reflect the true cost of lending incurred by the federal government.

Congressman Petri states that The CBO has confirmed what I have been saying for years. Our student loan program is awash with big subsidies for private banks that are completely unnecessary. If we stop subsidizing banks and just provide the loans directly from the U.S. Treasury, we could free up billions of dollars to be used for Pell scholarships.

It seems Petri hasn't forgotten the portion of the Republican Oath which states I BELIEVE government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.

To learn more about the nexus of ideology, corporate lobbyists, rhetoric and the people's business click here.

shrimplate said...

"If the rich could pay the poor to die for them, then the poor could make quite a good living."

Old proverb, probably Yiddish.

Same goes for getting an education, it now seems.

jen said...

good one eli, thanks

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh! Recalling a quote that goes something like: "Degrees hung on the wall don't necessarily make you a decent human being." Thanks for pointing out how true that can be in some cases.