Degrees of Value

DEGREES OF VALUE: Here's a provocative idea: risk-based student loans. The idea of letting "market forces" dictate the financing of higher ed sounds dangerous but author Michael Simkovic makes a compelling argument. To fight grade inflation and student migration towards easier majors, Simkovic suggests providing "lower interest rates and lower total cost of education" for students undertaking "challenging high-value majors" (think STEM, business, healthcare). In tandem, universities who channel students towards fields of study with "high value in the labor market" would receive lower "institutional interest rates." Sound like the not-so-very-invisible hand of the market getting a little too pushy? EdSurge is divided on this: some of us are intrigued at using this notion to address such vexing issues as excessive student debt, declining STEM degrees and so, even if there are a million unaddressed loopholes (you can find the STEM grads' opinions here on hackernews). Betsy worries this kind of micromanaging is rife with unintended consequences. Besides, don't we keep encouraging students to follow their passions rather than what makes coolly rational economic sense? Download the PDF here and share your POV.

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