National Press Club

Why have college costs risen so much? Expert to explain why at Sept. 10 Newsmaker

August 26, 2014 | By Herb Perone |

Photo/Image: Wikimedia Commons

Why have college and university costs continued to explode despite 50 years of ostensibly benevolent government intervention? Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and economics professor at Ohio University, will discuss the reasons at a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

The event will be held in the Zenger Room at 10 a.m.

Vedder's appearance comes amid skyrocketing growth in federal student aid. In 1964, such aid was a mere $231 million. By 1981, the federal government was spending $7 billion on loans alone, an amount that doubled during the 1980s and nearly tripled in each of the following two decades -- and amounts to about $105 billion today. Taxpayers now stand behind nearly $1 trillion in student loans.

Meanwhile, grants have increased to $49 billion from $6.4 billion in 1981. By expanding eligibility and boosting the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350, the 2009 stimulus bill accelerated higher education's evolution into a middle-class entitlement. Fewer than two percent of Pell Grant recipients came from families making between $60,000 and $80,000 a year in 2007. Now roughly 18 percent do.

This growth in subsidies, Vedder argues, has fueled rising prices: "It gives every incentive and every opportunity for colleges to raise their fees," he says.

Like all NPC Newsmaker events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and NPC club members. It is free of charge and no advance registration is required.

Contact: Tony Gallo NPC Newsmakers event host, at (202)544-6973 or