Part of the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning to announce on Monday a campaign to encourage people repaying student loans to stop doing so. The idea is that people will pledge to stop repaying their loans when 1 million people agree to do so. The hope is that such a volume of non-repayment would make it difficult to punish those who opt to stop paying. The repayments could continue, however, if certain conditions are met. Those conditions include making public higher education free to students. The campaign was described to *Inside Higher Ed* by Andrew Ross, a prominent humanities scholar at New York University, who has been involved with the efforts to start the drive.

via www.insidehighered.com

Let's have some fun with numbers. The BLS reports that in 2010, of all high school graduates in 2010, 68.1 percent were enrolled in college by October 2010. That's about 2.2 million students. I can't find a quick estimate of the numbers right now, but let's be conservative (stupid?) and make the math work easy by assuming the average cost of higher education for a student is $10,000 per year. Let's also be conservative (stupider?)and assume that the demand for higher education is perfectly inelastic so that dropping the tuition to $0 per student will result in no net increase in enrollments at institutes of higher education. One more conservative (stupid?) assumption, let's assume that on average college takes only 4 years to complete.

Given all of our conservative assumptions, we only need to find $40,000 x 2,200,000 people, or $8.8e^10, or for those not versed in scientific notation (sorry, that's how my 20 year old solar calculator spit the number out), $88 billion per year.

Assuming no additional students go to college, when tuition is free.

And all 2.2 million students graduate in 4 years.

And the cost of education is only $10,000 per year.

Suppose every parent who chooses to have a child saves $3 per day for that child's college education. At 5% interest, that parent would have over $32,000 saved by the time the kid graduates from high school.

Just sayin'.