Kassebaum Kool

September 1, 1995

Poor Nancy Kassebaum, one of the most calm, cool voices on Capitol Hill has done it again. In her attempt to bring reason and fairness to the budget crisis she has invited the wrath of yet another special interest group. This time it’s the Kansas higher education establishment. You see Ms. Kassebuam has proposed that when a student or parent receives a Federal student loan, the university pay a small fee (.85 percent) to help defray the cost of processing and administrating that loan. It’s quintessential Kassebaum, taking a volatile and divisive issue, and trying to deal with it in a way fairest to all.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I have yet to ever hear higher education say “We have eliminated bloat and bureaucracy. We are operating so much more efficiently, we need less money from the public trough this year.” No, we never hear that. It’s always a request for an increase, and if the increase isn’t big enough than it’s twisted into a “cut”. Nancy has really crossed the line, she’s actually suggesting universities pay for the privilege of having all those extra students attend their campuses thanks to the money provided by the Federal Government.
They just don’t get it. Larry Moeder, Director of the Office of Student Financial assistance says, “it’s an unfair tax”, and questions why all students should pay more to help those who take out loans. Hello!, anybody in there, wake up Larry. Income subsidizing has been going on since FDR invented the New Deal. Hey, I question why all of society should pay more to help pregnant teenagers who drop out of school to produce more babies to collect more money. But the intelligencia that came right out our your academia says it’s good public policy so we all dole out to subsidize those who choose to waste their life. If it’s O.K. to do that, surely it’s O.K. to ask universities or all students to put forward a pittance to help those who are really trying to help themselves. I’d rather subsidize a college education than pampers and pacifiers.
If spread across all, Wichita State students would pay approximately $8.00 a year more while K-Staters would pay somewhere around $20.00. (Based upon $400,000 in fees divided by an estimated student body of 20,000.) Stephen Jordan, executive director of the Kansas Board of Regents fears “it will be the straw that breaks the students backs.” Come on, 20 bucks a year? If the establishment truly believes that, it’s no wonder students are graduating with college degrees that mean nothing. If they are really concerned about costs to students might I suggest taking a look inward. Get rid of the b and waste and go after the sacred cows that have been so dutifully fattened over the years.
A less than 1percent fee is not overbearing. When’s the last time anyone bought a home for less than 1 percent closing costs, filled the tank for less than 1 percent Federal excise tax, or for that matter, paid less than 1 percent for purchasing anything? It is a fair proposal, and with all the supposed brain power running our universities I would surely hope they could figure out a way to make it work. (I know that’s asking a lot but you’ve got to start somewhere) Mike Horak, Kassebaum’s press secretary cuts to the chase, “people condemn the budget deficit, but then balk at any cuts that affect them.” The establishment is whining like a spoiled school boy kept in from recess. Upon reflection however, maybe that’s just what we need. Send them all out to recess and let common sense back into education.

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