Much is being made of Rick Santorums criticism of the ideological tilt of college educations. Here is one story. We are supposed to believe that indoctrination doesnt occur on campus and that it doesnt undermine traditional mores and thought especially when they are religiously based. Theres even more to be unhappy about on campus.

Steve Forbes has written, During the past 30 years overall inflation in the U.S. was 106%; health care costs went up 251%. College tuition and fees? They soared 439%. Graduates of the college class of 2010 had acquired an average $25,250 in debt, but there were many students who had much higher levels. That was a 5% increase over the prior year. There is no indication that increases in tuition costs and indebtedness will grow more slowly.

Conservatives have an opportunity to provide hope to those who have not yet entered college. Because they are not tied to these massive institutions politically, conservatives can begin to offer true alternatives to the bricks-and-mortar educational behemoth. Of greatest importance should be a push for online educational options that can greatly reduce the costs of most college courses in particular, generalized lecture classes. Non-college options may also be preferable in technical fields that require the use of sophisticated machinery and equipment.

All things being equal, education clearly benefits society. In the world of the early GI Bill and the following decades one could afford to romanticize about the college experience, but in times of prolonged sluggish economic growth and high unemployment parents and prospective students need to be more realistic. When a good private college or university routinely charges $50,000 year, a new educational model is needed. Hopefully, the presidential campaign will provide an opportunity for more discussion of this critical issue.