Monday, August 18, 2008

Zweifel Slaps Lager on College Tuition

Democratic nominee for State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is taking aim at his Republican opponent for comments he made recently about higher education.
Zweifel said his views on how to help Missourians with college affordability are in "stark contrast" to how Republican Brad Lager views the Treasurer's office.
"Lager told Missourians they were on their own," Zweifel said in a statement Monday. "I believe saving for college is as important as saving for retirement," Lager said to the St. Joseph News-Press. "We cannot continue to have a mentality that government can do everything for everyone ... That’s just a creation of bigger government," Lager reportedly added, when asked about his higher education platform.
Zweifel notes that The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gives Missouri an "F" for affordability and cited the state for not making any progress on student costs in more than a decade.
"Missouri has the highest public tuition of any state in the Big 12 Conference," Zweifel said. "When we increase cost barriers to higher education, we hold Missouri back.
"At the same time the state is underfunding higher education in Missouri, it is also eliminating opportunities for students and families to reasonably finance their education," Zweifel said, referring to Gov. Matt Blunt's restructuring of the state's higher education loan authority. "As private lenders pull out of the student loan market, students can only look to a crippled MOHELA for loans," Zweifel added.
Part of Zweifel's education plan includes "returning the board to focusing on its original propose of providing low-interest loans." Zweifel also wants to improve MOST, Missouri's college savings program.
"Under Treasurer Steelman, broker and fund manager fees increased for many of the products," reads a Zweifel release. "Clint will ensure it is clear to investors what the costs are for each product so they can make the best investment decision for their family."


Craig said...

What is Zweifel babbling on about here? Gov. Blunt signed a landmark higher education package that controls tuition, doubles scholarships, holds universities accountable and sends $335 million to support innovative learning centers, among other things. So, not sure what Zweifel’s beef is; just sounds like the same baseless talking points the Dems are putting forth this election cycle.

Smile said...

Sorry Craig, it appears that you are mindlessly repeating the same old talking points from almost three years ago, as Blunt did while passing his legislation, and nothing more. His talking points, which sounded great at the time, couldn't be further from the truth today.

I'm sure that you've heard that many of the loan agencies are in trouble today. Many industry experts were predicting this when Blunt was trying to pass this his Mohela bill. A reason they are not currently on the board any more. Mohela has been unable to make the required payments to the state/universities. If they were making the payments to anybody but a state entity, they'd be considered in default right now. The agency can't afford to sell off this much of their assets and continue to be a solvent entity. This is what Zweifel is eluding to.

Missouri is an expensive State to go to be a resident in and go to school in, I know this first hand. If it weren't for low interest rate loans, that may not have been possible for me... while working full time, I might add.

A couple of Blunt's policy issues that you brought up were noble. Setting a cap on tuition increases and doubling the amount of State scholarships. If he could have done both these without selling Mohela assets it would have been great. The doubling of State scholarships isn't going to be able to happen if Mohela cannot make their required payments, so that point is null and void. And if they are able to build all the new buildings that are proposed under the Mohela build, the money to run and staff these buildings will have to be raised from somewhere. The Mohela sale does not account for this. This will lead the Universities to be extremely creative on funding these buildings or lead to tuition increases, which have been keeping up with inflation under Bush only.

There are no easy answers to higher education in our state. But I can assure you that selling off Mohela assets is not an easy answer by any means. The next Governor should make it a task to overturn the majority of Blunts bill. Without studying the affects further, I would suggest just a third of what Blunt allocated from Mohela. This would be sure that Mohela won't have to raise interest rates on students without means, but remain a solvent entity. Hopefully this could keep in tact Blunt's good points from his Mohela deal, but ensure there is affordable education for Missourians.

Smile said...

Sorry about my ramblings, but Missouri deserves better than the shortsightedness of Blunt with this Mohela deal.

Much like many remember Holden by his excessive Inauguration, I believe Blunt will be remember by killing Mohela under so many false pretenses.