Intended “unintended” consequences: college costs up for poor, down for rich

Alan Pyke comments via ThinkProgress on a Hechinger report by Jon Marcus and Holly K. Hatcher, titled “Poorer families are bearing the brunt of college price hikes, data show.”  The take-away: over the past several years, the move at college and universities to attract higher-scoring students (more likely to be higher income) through merit scholarships, decreases in state funding, and continued tax policy, among other things, mean that the poorer students are paying higher price hikes than richer students.

You read that right: between 2008-2009 and 2011-2012, poor students’ costs at private institutions went up $1,700, but rich kids’ only $1,200; the examples from the report suggest that the increase in public institutions leads to even greater disparities (it didn’t report the exact figure).  Yes, the figures are all measured in real, inflation-adjusted dollars.

Why does the title of this post suggested that these are intended consequences of policy?  All you have to do is to follow the language of conservative leaders, like Rand Paul, talking about the “culture of dependency” that apparently results from any public assistance for anyone, even kids who happen not to have won the birth lottery.  Rand Paul and Paul Ryan are quite frank in wanting to lower taxes on the rich, remove regulations that protect consumers from corporate rapaciousness, and eliminate help for those lower down on the economic ladder.  Higher education is yet another venue for the class warfare campaign for the rich, um, redistribution upwards, um, conservative vision of the American future.

Whatcha thinkin'?

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