Your article "A lot less moola moola on campus" (Social Issues, Oct. 5) is informative and helpful. There's no question that funding education, both for the provider and the user, is, after retirement and health care, the most significant challenge facing Americans.
At Kenyon College, the Alumni Council has created a Funding Education Committee to look at these issues on a long-range basis, on the theory that there is very little that can be accomplished near term. With our focus on 2010 and beyond, we have calculated that for a child born this year, the cost of a four-year private-college education, i. e., tuition, room, board, books, and fees, beginning in 2010, will be more than $250,000. For public universities, given the trends noted in your article, the cost may be around $150,000.
We believe that one means to deal with these mind-boggling costs is for the government to provide incentives to enable parents and grandparents to save for education. One way: a Higher Education Accumulation Program. It would be an education-specific, tax-deferred account, similar to but separate from an IRA, in which parents or grandparents could deposit money every year to be used for postsecondary-school education at a trade school, community college, public university, or private college.We are convinced that absent public-policy changes and adoption of programs such as HEAP, the ability of our children and grandchildren to have access to the best education that America can offer is going to be severely curtailed, if not economically impossible.
Neal M. Mayer
Chairman, Funding Education
Kenyon College Alumni Council