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Jane Bond...

Homeless...

NPR reported on a study published by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab that concludes that 36 percent of college students are “food insecure,” another 36 percent are “housing insecure,” and another 9 percent are outright homeless.

This is, honestly, no surprise to me at all.

Have you seen the cost of a college education these days?

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[image from PeopleDemandingAction.com]

I was discussing this with a coworker once I saw the headline pop up as a recommended read in Pocket. He’s a few years younger than me but also with a young kid and terrified at what it’s all going to cost once our kids are ready for that level of education.

We both blame the higher education system, as a whole, for this issue. I mean, think about it… in a system inundated with a variety of colleges and universities all jockeying for new students, they are making everything bigger, (arguably) better, shinier, newer, etc., in hopes that prospective students are enticed to go there.

And who pays for it? The students. Both current and prospective.

I wish I knew what the solution is.

The only thing I can come up with is a merging of universities. No more would we have five or six different state universities… per state! Instead of, for example, Northern, Eastern, Western, and Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois, and Illinois State University, it could just be The University of Illinois. That’s a lot of competing for tuition dollars removed from the equation. You apply to the system as a whole and just go to school at whichever one has your program or, if there is more than one of those options, the one most convenient to you. No matter what, you’re a U of I student paying your tuition to one entity.

While we’re at it, have state systems be the same from one state to the next. Students in Iowa have the same opportunities as students in Illinois or Nebraska or California or New York, etc.

(I’d love if the same could be done to private schools — both merging and standardizing — but they’re all run by donor dollars so who can force it? Would be nice, though.)

Ideally this would minimize competition amongst colleges and keep costs lower and reduce these instances of food and housing insecurity that are apparently becoming more than just moderately problematic.

Ideally.

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