The cost of a college education continue to rise, so naturally a bunch of politicians (Democrats in this case), want to throw federal money at the problem. Inside Higher Ed has the story.

The basic idea is for the federal government to provide block grants to states “in an effort to help them keep college costs down.” To get the money, the states would have to keep their higher ed spending at least constant and keep tuition increases down to the rate of inflation. How much the states would get would depend on attendance and graduation rates.

Obviously, this doesn’t really keep costs down, but only spreads the costs around to federal taxpayers. It also creates the same kinds of incentives that states often create for K-12 funding — money depends not on educational results, but on the number of bodies. If this idea were to become law, we can expect more gimmicks to get weak students into college and to keep them there until graduation.

Several politicians, including governor Easley are quoted as saying that the Republican Congress hasn’t done enough to help students afford college. I’d like to know where in the Constitution Congress is given the power to make people’s educational choices affordable.