Talk:Higher education bubble in the United States

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Economic Insight[edit]

It's an amazing economic insight to compare a university degree to a sub-prime mortgage; in particular, for someone with in excess of $100,000 in student debt and who's chronically unemployed.

However, the writers of economics textbooks have a serious conflict of interset here.

expensive and debt-causing not the same as bubble[edit]

This edit and this edit talk about the problems of high debt accrued by students. The first one has a questionable source, but does talk somewhat directly about a "bubble". The second one has a better source, but doesn't seem to talk about a bubble. Talking about education getting expensive and students accumulating a lot of debt is not the same thing as talking about a bubble, however. It's possible for education to be "too expensive" by many criteria without there being a bubble. I'm going to revert the second edit above, even though the source is good, because it doesn't directly address the question, but feel free to argue the point. CRETOG8(t/c) 23:18, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, I'm going to revert myself to put that last bit back in. I don't think it makes sense, but I don't think most of this article makes sense, so I suppose it fits. (It really appears that "bubble" in this article just means "it's expensive and we don't like it".) CRETOG8(t/c) 23:22, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you are right, Cretog8 -- and since a 'bubble bursting' is a vague term that could be defined as the 2nd (and more reliable) source describes, I agree that the current state of affairs is good at this point, and I see no issue or problem. -- So, seeing no dissent, consensus is reached at this juncture. (talk) 06:01, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

PS: We discussed it further and beat a dead horse to death here: (talk) 19:10, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the term "bubble" is appropriate here because it implies a cost artificially inflated by loans and grants. If the market has an artificially high demand (in dollar terms) the cost will increase. As mentioned, this is similar to the housing bubble in that people really couldn't afford to pay the increasing costs of housing without an artificial influx of money in the form of loans that couldn't be repaid. At some point, the bill comes in and when people can't pay, they default. This creates a cascade effect leading to a dramatic correction in the market. When Higher Ed institutions supply an elaborate infrastructure to meet this artificial demand, they will be left with expensive support staff salaries, technology, programs and buildings after the demand corrects itself. Oline73 (talk) 16:52, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with your analysis, Oline73 (talk): a Bubble is a Bubble, no matter where you might find it. However, I am not adding this in as yet, since I, myself, don't feel like looking for citations to articles (opinion or news) from reputable sources that would agree with us here. Probably if I tried a little harder, I could (and may in the future) find sources that document this claim, and then insert this edit somewhere here. I agree, Oline73 (talk) but such a claim must always be documented by having its source cited. (talk) 22:57, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


Is it appropriately encyclopedic to include policy recommendations? -- Charlie (Colorado) (talk) 15:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Insofar as 'policy' recommendations sometimes come from those in either government or experts in a particular field, both of which are noteworthy, I would say yes, so fret not, if the item is relevant to discussion. (talk) 12:45, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree, it is not at all appropriate to make policy recommendations - when I looked there was a huge section of "recommendations" and "alternative explanations", all from this Mark Kantrowitz fellow (whom, the article suspiciously cites, is a "recognized expert"). I am a relatively rare editor, but this was egregious enough that I took the initiative to delete it. Spetey (talk) 22:16, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

To begin with, I am not Mr. Kantrowitz, nor do I have connection with him, so no 'conflict of interest' exists in my dissent, Spetey. Furthermore, not all of the information on this page comes from Kantrowitz, so your use of the term 'all,' even though possibly technically correct for the very small 'Additional Factors' subsection, is not correct for all that you deleted: Many other informations come from varied other sources, so you threw out the baby with the bathwater. Lastly, the baby AND the bathwater are valid: Mr. Kantrowitz, particularly, is appropriate to cite here, as he is 'the' leading expert in Higher Education Finances -- Google his name to verify, or follow the links herein: His name in higher Education is synonymous with Einstein or Dr. Stephen Hawking in regard to Physics: Revert. (talk) 00:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I feel it inappropriate to include policy recommendations. The section on "alternative explanations" cites only Mr. Kantrowitz and a near-majority of the "recommendations" cite Mr. Kantrowitz. I am the third person chiming in with this opinion with only one dissenter. Moreover this dissenter said not only that a man without a Ph.D. was an expert on higher education, but that his expertise was comparable to Einstein or Hawking. Finally, the article cited completely disregards increasing costs of administration, hiding them under instruction and research. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Misstatement of what a bubble is[edit]

Bubbles do not require that the price goes up while the value goes down. If the value goes up by 1% but the price goes up by 110% you are almost in as bad a bubble situation as if the value had dropped by 1%. According to the definition in the article, the former case would not be a bubble while the latter case would be. A better definition would be a persistent divergence between the value of a good or service and its price.

Another thing to ponder is that bubble formation may not be evenly distributed throughout higher education. Is a computer science degree from MIT as expensive as a Women's Studies degree from the same institution? There are no significant price differences based on degree choice. Can anybody with a straight face assert that the two degrees are equally valuable with one being in a bubble and one without. Glenn Reynolds, who has been beating the "higher education bubble" warning drums as long as anybody does bring up this difference in worth as important in considering the higher education bubble. TMLutas (talk) 05:41, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

I am unregistered, so as to avoid all the drama associated with Wikipedia's arguments and politics, and thus my voice is not as loud as is theirs, but insofar as your point seems to make sense, I am good with your ideas, and should you make an edit to this effect to clarify, as long as you cite some source that supports that definition, I am good with it. I am sure you can find someone to define a bubble as you describe, if you look enough. (talk) 21:01, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
The only challenge I can conceive is to claim that a higher education bubble is somehow not a subspecies of an economic bubble. I'll wait for a bit to see if there's any challenge on those or other grounds befor I edit. TMLutas (talk) 02:08, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
One other thing: A bubble bursts suddenly, but what if the water got hot slowly like a frog in a pot, where the frog didn't notice the heat because it was so gradual and then he boiled? That is what some are calling it. I heard Mark Kantrowitz say this in an interview, but I don't have the cite, so you can just mention it as an analogy at this point if you'd like. But, yes, a good definition of a bubble would not mandate that either price or value go up or down, but like you say, a divergence, but I would b hesitant to put it in the article without some citation to some 'talking head' saying that. Even as others have told me in the past, I will tell you: Even if it's the truth, it still needs a citation. But, personally, I would not revert you if you put it in as an 'alternative theory' that was uncited. Hey, a lot of theories abound. But again this is not my website, so I don't get to set the rules. (talk) 13:15, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Mr. Kantrowitz, PhD, does indeed have a PhD -- observe: which states, and I quote, "Mark Kantrowitz is Publisher of the FinAid and Edvisors web sites owned by Monster Worldwide and author of the bestseller Secrets to Winning a Scholarship. He is also President of MK Consulting Inc., a consulting firm focused on computer science, artificial intellignece, and statistical and policy analysis. He is ABD on a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He has Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and philosophy from MIT and a Master of Science degree in computer science from CMU. Mark is also an alumnus of the Research Science Institute program established by Admiral H. G. Rickover. He has previously been employed at Just Research, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Bitstream Inc. and the Planning Research Corporation." He simply did not complete his dissertation, but he indeed has his PhD. More to the point, he is the nation;s foremost expert on the matter of Higher Education and how it relates to finances. (talk) 22:16, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but that is either misleading or ignorant. If this individual is ABD then he doesn't have a PhD. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, this is unambiguous (the only exceptions of which I know are posthumous doctorates awarded to individuals who were close to completing their dissertation).
Further, nothing that you have written establishes this person as " the nation;s [sic] foremost expert on the matter of Higher Education and how it relates to finances." Neither the education nor the experiences you have described relate to higher education or financial policy.
So let's return to (what should be) the original issue: Why would we base such a large amount of an encyclopedia article on the writing of one individual (who doesn't even seem to be an expert on this topic)? ElKevbo (talk) 23:34, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
@ El Kevbo: Note, if you would, this google search of the last name Kantrowitz, as it relates to higher ed.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=3f36ec44d8ae71d8&biw=1024&bih=600 Many people have this last name, but only Mark Kantrowitz comes up as your primary search result. Now, let's see if he is indeed primary:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=3f36ec44d8ae71d8&biw=1024&bih=600 is a search on "higher education" "mark kantrowitz" and About 37,600 results (0.05 seconds). He is a national expert. Sorry for the misspelling earlier. LOL173.227.136.98 (talk) 17:20, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
A google search does not an expert make. Google changes its search results depending on what computer you search from and who if anyone is logged in while typing. In any case, the expertise of Mr. Kantrowitz appears to be in the subspecialty of Financial Aid. This is to say that he works on the cost of college for _individuals_ rather than the system-wide costs which this article addresses. So once more (I didn't log in while making the comment in the "recommendations" talk) Mr. Kantrowitz has no expertise germane to this article, and this article should not be an advertisement for his website. Skeesix (talk) 15:16, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
If that fellow's not an expert, who is? Also, I am aware of no mention of adverts for his website. If he posts research relevant to that on his website, it's not an advert, especially as it would appear his website is not making him money. After all, ANY link you might post is an "advert" for that website, but since I am aware of no person more expert in this field (and that would include me: Kantrowitz is leaps and bounds smarter than me, and i consider myself smart), then unless you have a better "expert," I'd leave him in this entry. :) (talk) 16:24, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
In reply, here is some info on Mr. Kantrowitz: has this to say about him:

Mark Kantrowitz is the Publisher of, the leading source for unbiased and clear financial aid information, Publisher for Edvisors, the most popular and complete scholarship resource available, and is the President of MK Consulting Inc.

As a recognized financial aid expert for more than two decades, Mark has been called to testify before congress about financial aid on several occasions and is regularly interviewed by news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, MSN, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, USA Today, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Money Magazine, SmartMoney, Kiplingers, US News & World Report, and Newsweek. Additionally he is consulted by financial aid administrators, professional associations, and federal agencies nationwide and is on the editorial board of Regulatory Advisor, a publication of the Council on Law in Higher Education.

Mark’s work in financial aid has been recognized by many awards including a Meritorious Achievement Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a Special Award from the College Board, the President’s Award from the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students and the Jefferson Medal from the American Institute for Public Service.

Stetson Law has this to say:

If you are unfamiliar with Mark Kantrowitz, he is a financial aid expert and publisher of and and also the author of “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship” so he knows his way around the world of financial aid, to say the least.

In the New York Times he has published 5 parts worth of questions and answers regarding financial aid to give college students the best advice and help answer what seems like impossible questions when it comes to loan and budgeting advice.

See also: and: which says, in succinct part:

Mark Kantrowitz is a nationally recognized expert on student financial aid and paying for college. He is the founder and publisher of, the leading source for clear and unbiased financial aid information, advice and tools; and publisher of

Further links may be had if you scroll down at: (talk) 13:46, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Oops - I forgot to add: As another editor apparently has pointed out, while many (perhaps most) of the suggestions or 'recommendations' for solutions to the higher ed crisis do come from Mr. Kantrowitz, they are actually not all from him, and come from a wide variety of experts and advocates, and are so cited, and, in some cases, one recommendation will be cited to multiple sources to "really strongly" verify it. So, while nothing has been said of this last edit, reverting the vandalism that apparently removed Kantrowitz' analyses, I am posting these comments as a preemptive strike against any remarks on this matter calling into question this man's professional credentials. (talk) 13:51, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

The critical link between bankruptcy and price[edit]

A systemically critical element that contributes directly to higher education costs is the removal of bankruptcy protections, and other consumer protections to a lesser degree.

In the absence of bankruptcy protections, it has been shown that the large lenders (who own collection companies in addition to their primary lending business), guarantors, and even the federal government make money on defaults, and in fact make more on defaults than loans that remain in good stead. This is a clear and obvious factor propels college prices higher, chiefly through the erosion of meaningful government oversight, which tends to encourage the repeated raising of the federal lending limits. I describe this phenomenon in fairly good detail at

I've also written a number of articles on the subject, and also a book with Beacon Press (2009).

In any event, returning bankruptcy protections are absolutely essential to lower prices. This is simplest, most direct, and most effective way to immediately correct the motivations of the lending system to work towards loans not defaulting, as opposed to the current "perverted" (Ted Kennedy's description) fiscal incentive to view defaults as preferable outcomes.

With Bankruptcy returned, the Department of Education will have a real fiscal incentive to compel the universities to provide high quality educations, at low cost. Only in this environment will the various other remedies suggested in this article have a chance of being successful.

Please consider including the return of bankruptcy protections as a primary suggestion for the solution of this problem.

Thank you,

Alan Collinge, — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:02, 14 October 2012 (UTC) And what about people who are responsible and actually pay their loans? They will be hit with higher interest rates. I think you just have buyers remorse are just waiting to have your chance to show the world that you are a bunch of deadbeats by defaulting your loans in bankruptcy. I say, pay up. I have over $50k in loans and I knew what I was getting into when I signed to promissory note. If you didn't, you have only your own ignorance and stupidity to blame. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Holy Hell, Mr. Collinge: Your link, while logically sound, is as long as (pardon my language) HELL, k?
That said, you make a cogent point: The ability to file bankruptcy (if it were returned to student loans) would put an abrupt (and surprising) halt to the exceedingly large influx of loan monies, and thus tuition inflation would drop. (In fact, tuition, itself, would drop very rapidly to reflect the market pressures of less money.) If I remember my history right, you have a published article that is on a respectable (read: Wikipedia 'reliable') source, namely the renowned Forbes magazine, which more succinctly explains this, and I imaging that, as an unbiased 3rd party arbiter, I will look into citing that source in the article, since you would not be in a position to do so, based on real or perceived conflict of interest issues. (Besides, I think I can edit it better than you, so I will, and fall upon the graces of the Wikipedia Community if I screw up, for them to sort it out, as they are the experts.)
Oh, 2 more things: #1, apparently you are cited on the article page here, albeit a different page. #2, many others who are cited in this article, in turn, cite you (as do others not listed here), so I would recommend you see which pages are 'high profile' (by virtue of being cited in the article page or elsewhere) and put additional information (and/or a link to an outside page) there, k? (talk) 15:59, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
OK, done. See
Look, but do not touch. (talk) 16:18, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Inflationary effects lacking in Loan Forgiveness discussion requested by Flyte35 and ElKevbo[edit]

Please come over to: to discuss the recent edit war, as it is regarding the same type of edit as was done just now. (talk) 08:20, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Note: I am consolidating discussion of 2 different Wikipedia pages to the talk page of one of them (for simplicity), simply because they involve the same issue; there was an edit was between myself and 1 editor over on the College Tuition in the United States page, and then over on the Higher Ed bubble page, myself and 2 other editors edit-warred. As the 3 editors in question (those 2 above and also Jim1138 will probably frequent this talk page too (in addition to the College_tuition_in_the_United_States page in question), I'm acting in good faith and notifying you of the consolidated discussion -even though it will drastically increase the odds that the 3 of you can 'gang up' on me. Note: I did not have to notify you of the other edit war, but I did -even knowing I may get ganged up on by 3 registered editors. Please know that when you remove a truthful, on-topic edit that is *properly sourced*, then it pushes other editors like myself to not want to become registered. So, your actions here are counterproductive, but I will assume good faith: the link in question is right above. (talk) 08:35, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

High Interest Rates[edit]

Homeowners can refinance their mortgages, but students and graduates can never change their interest rates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Economic Disparity[edit]

I was hoping for a mention of the polling bias on wages, those that can afford College out of pocket being more likely to make more anyway thus diminishing the actual value of a College education. In much the same way as homeownership or Ferrari ownership could seem to increase future wages. The more tuition increases the more those with low earning potential will be excluded.

I want to be sure my bases are covered, though. Does anyone know where I should look to source this correctly? Chrononem  13:07, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

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Dr. Osipian's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Osipian has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:

This is all about the US. It has to be global, because Wiki is a global source of info.

In the US, Student loans, debt, gainful employment and such have to be linked to the False Claims Act. See: Osipian, Ararat. (2012). Grey Areas in the Higher Education Sector: Legality versus Corruptibility. Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, 1(1), pp. 140-190.

We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Dr. Osipian has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:

  • Reference : Osipian, Ararat, 2007. "Higher education corruption in the world media: Prevalence, patterns, and forms," MPRA Paper 8475, University Library of Munich, Germany.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 21:30, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

the higher education bubble is most objectively described as a concept not a "political claim"[edit]

The summary of this article is way too subjective and politically charged. It should be discussing the details and structure of a possible educational bubble. Not military spending vs educational spending. Boilingorangejuice (talk) 00:46, 31 May 2016 (UTC)