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A Capitalist Approach to the College Cost Crisis

As Democratic candidates continue to talk about big government programs as solutions to counter the cost of higher education, individuals and organizations are actually doing something to help students—with no government intervention. 

Today, the average student debt is over $37,000. For medical students, that number climbs to $196,000. To combat the avalanche of debt suffocating America’s younger generations, schools are seeing an influx in donations and funds from benefactors.

Cornell University’s medical school has just announced that they will be helping eliminate student debt for all students with financial aid. This step forward comes from a $160 million scholarship program, courtesy of the Starr Foundation and the former Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill. 

Similarly, New York University’s medical school also announced that private donors would cover the cost of tuition through a $450 million scholarship fund. Columbia medical school, through the former CEO of Merck, Roy Vagelos and his wife, now have $150 million for a fund.

But these medical programs aren’t the only ones to receive generous endowments. Michael Bloomberg has gifted $1.8 billion to the undergraduate financial aid program at John Hopkins. And Robert Smith, chief executive of Vista Equity Partners, paid off the college debt for all 2019 college graduates of Morehouse College.

While many universities are still in need of extra support for their students, the generosity from individuals and foundations are a step in the right direction. Through their acts of kindness, wealthy individuals and foundations are proving that the government does not need to take on student debt or make college “free” for attendees. Private donations are more accountable and set students up for success while eliminating government regulation and higher taxes for the middle class.

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