Many decades ago I predicted university education costs would soar because government loans were inflating the price of school. Like medicine, the individual cost was not a big problem because most of it was covered in some way. Universal health insurance either drives the price up or cuts down services - or both.
As experts are noticing at last, college have no incentive to cut costs when the difference will be made up in readily available student loans.
The Lutheran seminaries have followed the same path, leading to incredible costs for useless degrees. If an art history degree is useless, what value is an MDiv from a synod that delights in getting rid on young pastors? The wives put their husbands through seminary (another subsidy for the synods) and usually work outside the home in the parish. The synods put less and less money into their own schools while sprucing them up.
Every college has to look like a country club and every Lutheran seminary has to have bigger dorm rooms, a deluxe chapel, and big offices for the professors. How did they exist before? - we wonder.
Colleges, universities, and for-profit higher education corporations are closing down. In ELCA, Chicago, Berkeley, Southern, and Luther have had their crises. All four have partnerships with other schools. The seminaries merge with their colleges to reduce costs and sell off extra property. Overlooking the ocean with a handful of students? The dollar signs dance in their eyes. Sell! Sell!
Berkeley and Southern have already rejoiced in their new collegial relationships. Luther fired their president for running the largest seminary into a sea of red ink. My old seminary in Canada sent a letter asking for money to bail them out of their pension shortage.
The ELS and CLC (sic) must ask themselves why they have an entire school set up to teach one or two graduates per year for sects that are shrinking faster than Hillary's nomination chances.
Likewise, WELS must wonder how much longer they have to prop up Martin Luther College, where the students are known chiefly for drinking, cross-dressing, coming out of the closet, and spending their extra money on gambling.
In the years to come, many expensive but lesser known schools will close, because parents are not going to spend $50,000 a year (gross, far cheaper with loans and some grants) for an unknown school. There are hundreds of them, bereft of their old ethnic alumni support, short on endowment funds, long on fixed costs, racing to be as spiffy as Olde Squeffingham College down the road.
Scholarships are aimed at enticing first-year students, making it far more expensive to stay for all four years. Money is also apportioned to appeal to the affluent. Poor people do not load up the annual fund appeal with gifts.
Similarly, Martin Luther College is not far from Bethany Lutheran College and One Room Seminary. If Schone drives out students from MLC, they drop into BLC. If they want the urban experience, they have Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee and Concordia University in Mequon (far more scenic).
We will see a collapse of overbuilt colleges and universities that expanded for the Boomer generation. The Boomers packed into those schools and came back for more education, but the same schools used loans to build up the physical while bankrupting their students, who are still stuck with the loans.
|Beware of offending students who text throughout the class.|
The school sees them as walking bags of money.