Tuesday, April 05, 2005

WFA: Saving $100 Million From the Herald Leader

We mentioned the Lexington Herald Leader editorial from Saturday in which they accused the General Assembly of "raiding" Big Education of $13.7 million (KAPT) and $82 million (The Student Loan People). The facts are rolling in, and it doesn't look good for The Herald Leader. The KAPT situation is well documented; even the Courier Journal spanked Jonathan Miller and Greg Stumbo for their grandstanding and hypocrisy. The story behind the $82 million is more of the same, but with a twist.
On its face, this bogus "raid" is somewhat less controversial than the KAPT scandal. The $82 million represents redeemed bonds that the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC) requested for the purpose of college loans to low income people with no plans to go to college (yes, you read that right). The request was denied. End of controversy. The Governor denied the request by allocating the $82 million elsewhere in his budget proposal and the House and Senate rightly agreed.
But here is the twist: how absurd is it that the Herald Leader and the (KHESLC) want to squander $82 million dollars on student loans to people who don't plan to go to college? The desire to help more low income people attend college is laudable, but let's be serious. We don't make a difference by doling out more student loans. There are ample financing opportunities (the least preferable are loans, for heaven's sake!) for higher education. The difference should be made on the front end with young children by implementing higher standards. And that doesn't cost any money. In a time when huge numbers of Kentucky high school graduates must take remedial courses to get up to speed in college, our problem is certainly not that we don't have enough student loan money. The Education Industrial Complex only understands how to pander and beg for more money without ever demonstrating value for that money. Governor Fletcher deserves praise for saving this money.