Want to make college more affordable? Stop handing out student loans.

This editorial was first published by USA Today on October 27, 2023.

My decision to leave the financial world and return to Hope College as its 14th president was motivated, in part, by a question that continues to haunt me: Will the United States persist as a land of opportunity for all, or will it turn into a land of privilege for a select few? 

If you haven’t noticed, back-to-school season looked different this year. Fewer undergraduates are attending classes on American college campuses this fall than in the previous decade.

For generations, the route to a better life most often passed through higher education. The promise was that the investment in a college degree would have a profound payoff in salary, opportunity and overall life trajectory. College was the ticket to the American dream.

Yet, undergraduate enrollment at four-year colleges has declined about 2% annually since 2010. And the sticker price of college tuition is more than 20 times higher today than it was in 1969. 

Read the rest of my editorial at USAToday.com.