Sandy Baum


This article examines the intergenerational implications of recent changes in college loan programs, specifically the PLUS Program and income contingent repayment plans. The author explores the idea of who should pay for college from the vantage point of economic theory and argues that a combination of economic approaches can best explain how college is financed today. Are there strong arguments for publicly enforced transfers from one generation to the next? Would a system of individual responsibility for financing higher education be optimal? Are there convincing economic arguments for significant parental participation in paying for college?