Originally published September 25 2015
America's universities focus on luxury recreation instead of education, churning out students who are blissfully ignorant
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) It's hard to be a full-time college student. In fact, it's so hard that many universities are spending millions of what are ultimately taxpayer dollars installing luxury amenities that those same taxpayers could never afford for themselves.
As reported by Breitbart News and Yahoo! Finance, major universities are spending huge sums installing mega-pools, simulated beaches and large water parks, even as they plan to raise tuition rates dramatically.
In a video titled "Colleges with Crazy Waterparks" that is set to festive, celebratory music, producers go through an A-list of universities and colleges with expensive water features:
- The University of Missouri: Here, curators decided to build a water park with a waterfall, a recreation center with a simulated beach, a lazy river feature and a "Playboy Mansion grotto replica" for a total cost of $39 million.
- Texas Tech University: Officials installed a large leisure pool, a 635-foot lazy river complete with paddle boats, a water slide and expansive "tanning terrace" for a total cost of 8.4 million.
- Pensacola Christian College (Florida): Curators built three large water slides and a $1 million, 600-gallons-per-minute "wave rider."
- Auburn University (Alabama): The school built a "recreation and wellness center" featuring a 45-person hot tub and a "wet climbing wall" in a 240,000-square-foot complex that cost $54 million.
It's all fun and games until the bill comes dueThe site CollegeRank went on to list the "30 Best College Leisure Pools" in the country, ironically justifying the phenomenon of pool-building as a way to offset the high costs of tuition:
An overwhelming majority of college students must pay most if not all, of their tuition out of pocket. Taking financial assistance out of the incentive equation means replacing it with another variable. The revised formula includes improved and expanded social activities, especially those connected to aquatics. A rapidly growing number of colleges and universities are allocating funds and/or land to accommodate the changing expectations of the current and upcoming generations of students.
College debt has exploded since 2003, now totaling more than $1.1 trillion. Why? You can thank yet another federal program whose creators don't understand basic economics and wouldn't care if they did because they are motivated by politics, not a love of education or humanity.
The program in question is the Federal Student Loan Program, which virtually guarantees that anyone who applies for federal money to go to an institution of higher education will be given those funds with few questions asked, such as the all-important "Will the student's desired degree actually help him or her find a better job after graduation?"
What has this program done for colleges and universities? It has given them a steady, rising flow of income generation and an incentive to charge higher and higher tuitions. After all, the federal money is guaranteed, so why not get as much of it as possible?
Drowning in debtThe schools now have a steady income with which to blow tens of millions of federal taxpayer-guaranteed funds on luxury amenities such aquatic parks, massive fitness centers and other buildings and extras that have nothing to do with providing a basic, high-quality education.
What has been the government's answer to this massive debt? They are offering a "debt relief" program, in which a large amount of a student's loan is "forgiven." However, that knee-jerk, politically motivated "solution" has consequences; in particular, it is having a huge negative effect on the bond market.
The so-called "student debt bubble" animates billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Not only does he see it bursting someday soon and taking many college campuses down with it, he doesn't think it's smart to offer loan forgiveness.
"Forgiving the debt is the worst thing you can do, because all it does is bail out the universities," he said recently, as quoted by Business Insider.
In the meantime, federal student loan programs and the universities on the receiving end that are building expensive amenities such as water parks are soon going to drown in debt and wash up empty-handed.
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