President Peggy R. Williams spoke tonight about the rising costs of higher education on the pilot radio and television broadcast of “Higher Ed in the Round.” Williams was joined by host David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, and Carl Haynes, president of Tompkins Cortland Community College.
During the hour-long program – aired on public radio stations WEOS-FM and WSKG-FM, and by channel 16 in the Ithaca area – they took questions from listeners and discussed general issues in higher education. But much of the discussion focused on the increasing costs of attending a college or university.
Williams said the college is doing its best to limit the increase in costs, but can’t control the rise in costs because of outside factors like insurance and utilities.
“We believe at Ithaca College we are creating a high-quality undergraduate, residential experience and that is not inexpensive,” she said.
All three presidents spoke about the change in federal policy during the past few years that shifted the financial burden of higher education from the taxpayers to the students by switching the primary source of financial aid from grants to loans.
Haynes said he recognized that the change has had a large social impact.
“Students graduating will have a debt that approaches my whole mortgage, which is a challenge,” he said.
Williams said that parents should be aware of the actions of their elected officials.
“[When they] shifted from grants to loans … our elected officials … said that’s how you should pay to go to college,” she said.
Williams said that she disagreed with the changes from the start.
“We have walked away from our collective ability to make higher education accessible to as many as possible.”
“Higher Ed in the Round” will be broadcast monthly and feature Skorton with different guests discussing higher education issues.
For more information, visit http://www.cornell.edu/president/higher-ed-round.cfm.