Bernie Sanders bemoans the current high cost of college tuition, but if he wants to start pointing the finger at culprits he’ll have to start with his wife.A lesser-known fact about Bernie is that his wife, Jane Sanders, was once the president of Burlington College, a small private liberal arts college in Vermont.
Bernie’s wife has some experience with university finance, and she certainly wasn’t operating from the Bernie playbook.
During Jane O’Meara Sanders’ tenure as head of Burlington College in Vermont, the tuition bill grew by more than 50 percent. But her financial legacy was more than just rising tuition: Ultimately, the school became embroiled in a financial fiasco that appears to have played a role in her departure.Tuition cost $14,170 in March 2004, when Ms. Sanders was hired by Burlington, according to data collected by U.S. News & World Report. When she resigned, amid some controversy, in September 2011, it had risen to $22,410.
The defense has been that all colleges have seen tuition increase over that period, but that doesn’t explain the entirety of the rise. On average nationwide, private school tuition at four-year schools only rose 18% during that same time period.
So naturally, “neither the Sanders campaign nor Ms. Sanders responded to emailed queries about the tuition hikes or her tenure at Burlington College.”While Jane’s husband wants to make college free, he doesn’t really want to make it free, he wants the government to pay for it.
What’s the incentive for colleges to contain costs with the Federal government footing the bill? I can’t think of any. When college becomes “free,” expect prices to go in the direction of Burlington College.[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]