This is perhaps an area where Left and Right might meet. Yes, salaries went up in the universities, because there were no cost controls, and the government set up yet another Rube Goldberg neoliberal scheme to fund education through student loans that allowed banks to issue loans to students with 0 risk, as the loans were insured by the Federal govt. In other words, more easy government money in an indirect sort of way. This turned the universities into quasi-government contractors, and like Halliburton, KBR, General Dynamics and Blackwater, the schools could increase tuition, pay themselves handsomely, and cause massive inflation in tuition costs because all it meant was that the students would simply get bigger and bigger government-backed loans.

One other aspect you failed to mention is that the entire interpersonal dynamic between students and teachers was flipped on its head. When public colleges were privatised, that meant the students were footing the bill; they became, in essence, the “customers” being “served” by the teachers. And if a customer complained to Management about an unfair grade, an invasion of his/her safe space, or bias or prejudice or racism, then it was the teacher whose neck was on the chopping block, not the tuition-paying customer. This is actually a reason why some conservatives support going back to the publicly funded, merit-based model: it takes the power of the consumer’s purse away from the students, and empowers the teachers in the system.

Joe is a US Ex-Pat with dual US-EU citizenship, who travels Europe extensively, commenting on trends, attitudes, politics and more.

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