Al Lord made a profit when college tuition surged. He pays for it.


Al Lord, the former CEO of student loan giant Sallie Mae, complains about college education: The cost of college is damn high.

He says that his grandchildren’s tuition fees in recent years have terrified him because of the tuition bills that fall on his desk every semester. For those who know (or, in some cases, scold) Mr. Lord, this is a real twist. He led Sally Mae through a period of wild success and near collapse, as the company introduced new methods that led to a significant increase in student loan debt since the early 2000s.

The bite of high tuition fees hit him a few years ago when his grandson enrolled at the University of Miami, which currently charges $ 75,230 a year in tuition, room and board. This is far from the $ 175 a semester Mr. Lord remembers to pay for his tuition at Pennsylvania State in the 1960s. He also financed the tuition of three other grandchildren to attend Villanova University, Miami University and Davidson College. Bills approached $ 200,000 per person.

“It’s criminal,” he said of how much school fees are now charged. He won sympathy for low-income families. “God, how glad I am that we saved for my grandchildren. If the average income is $ 40,000, $ 50,000 or $ 60,000, I just don’t know how you do it. “

Few had the same understanding of college tuition costs as Mr. Lord, now 75. He said that for decades he watched in bewilderment as colleges consistently raised prices faster than inflation. The parents complained; investors and analysts predicted that schools would eventually be forced to drop out. They never did it. “They educate them because they can, and the government is helping to do that,” said Mr Lord.

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