By Bob Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
Posted February 8, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden was in Florida’s capital city on Monday – to raise funds for President Obama’s re-election campaign and to schmooze a crowd at Florida State University (FSU) by coming out in favor of lowering college “costs” and increasing student loans in order to keep college “affordable.”Of course, what Mr. Biden was actually advocating was keeping the students’ price low – meaning that the rest of the cost of operating a system of higher education would be paid by taxpayers. In this scenario, high-school dropouts who work at the car wash across the street from the FSU campus could end up paying higher taxes so that sons and daughters of affluent families can have their college education more heavily subsidized.Then again, maybe Mr. Biden doesn’t understand Economics 101 or the difference between price and cost. Let’s just say that if it were to cost Government Motors (GM) $60,000 to make a Cadillac Escalade with a sticker price of $55,000, that’s not a sustainable business model — and somebody will have to make up the difference.Moreover, if Mr. Biden really wanted to offer advice about keeping college “affordable,” he ought to head home toDelaware. While a year’s tuition and fees at the university where he was speaking on Monday total $5,514 for in-state students and $19,958 for non-residents – both below the national average — the situation is a quite different inDelaware. Indeed, check out the following information from the website of that state’s flagship school, the University of Delaware:“Tuition for in-state undergraduate students at the University of Delaware will increase $630, or 7.0 percent, for the 2011-12 academic year — bringing the annual in-state tuition cost to $9,670. Undergraduate students from outside Delaware will pay $1,700, or 7.0 percent, more in annual tuition. Their tuition next year will be $25,940.“Over the past five years, annual in-state tuition and fees at UD increased from $7,740 in 2006-07 to $11,192 in 2011-12, a total $3.452 and an annual average of $690. Annual out-of-state tuition and fees grew from $18,450 to $27,462 during the same period, a total increase of $9,012 and an annual average of $1,802.“UD receives an appropriation from the state to support the cost of education for in-state students. This appropriation accounts for 11.9 percent of the total UD operating budget, down from 13.0 percent last year and 18.6 percent five years ago. The total impact of this decline in state support over the past five years is $11.2 million.”Perhaps this speech would have been more appropriate inDelaware, Mr. Vice President.