Sort of halfway self-solving

Wolf’s latest item about credit includes some disheartening stats. Earlier it appeared that Americans were taking advantage of the Federal blood money to reduce their credit card debt. Now they’re doing the opposite.

Wolf also includes a simple chart of college debt. Unlike most graphs that go exponential under the demonic influence of the exponential government, this one just goes up smoothly in a straight line from 2005 to present. Wolf mentions that college enrollment has been going down, which is generally known.

Well, how much and when? Stats from the Fed Dept of Ed:

I have zero Excel skills, so my graphs are crappy. This runs from 1995 to present, and the peak is 2010. Since 2010 more people have been figuring out that college is a total waste. Not nearly enough yet, but an encouraging trend of sanity. But debt is going up linearly, which means the shrinking college population is borrowing more per capita.

How about tenure? This one is more complicated. Percent of all colleges with tenure went down beautifully from ’93 to 2010, then rebounded partway. Dept of Ed says this is related to growth of profit-making useful colleges in the first half. The Dept cracked down on useful training schools in 2010, so the rigidly theoretical universities became a larger part of the total again. Though the Dept website doesn’t say so, the enrollment graph might reflect the same change because it has the same switch in 2010. If the increase was mainly in the useful training schools, the total would decline as those schools were closed.

This graph is percent of all faculty with tenure. Here we finally see a steadily positive trend, as even the theoretical universities are trying to reduce costs by hiring adjuncts and part-timers.

Supply and demand will solve many problems if the government doesn’t step in to UNsolve the problem.

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