The reviews on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s student loan proposal are coming in.

Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald gives it a thumbs down (via Instapundit).

It’s swell then that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in her first piece of legislation, just proposed a bill to lower interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans from 3.4 percent to 0.75 percent. They’re scheduled to double to a 6.8 percent rate in July, further “hammering,” as Warren puts it, the perpetually “hammered” middle class. Anti-bank crusader Warren argues that those wily banks already can get loans at less than 1 percent. Why not students, too?

And that’s a swell question as well.

What’s not swell is grim reality. Warren’s discount rate would only apply to new borrowers. For one year. More depressing: Even if Warren’s bill passes — and conservatives dismiss it as a gimmick — it’s a teeny drop in the ocean of student debt many kids and their parents will face. Parents often take on their college kid’s debt, which means they’ll never, ever retire.

Most depressing: This college-cost mess just gets worse and worse. Our do-nothing Congress has done nothing. Meanwhile colleges keep competing for those few kids who can pay. In 10 years, I’ve visited about 25 colleges. Every year they look less like learning institutions and more like spas with snazzy gyms and a la carte restaurants (forget cafeterias) open till midnight and beyond.

The fitness center at once dumpy Providence College, for example, now looks like something in an Olympic Village. The push for “buy local” and “food sustainability” means Tufts University has served “sustainable” wild Alaskan salmon and 100 percent cage-free “local” eggs. Even UMass Amherst — ever-more competitive since it’s considered a bargain at $25,000 a year — is not immune. There, “cafes” stay open till midnight featuring panini bars and Gold Rush tomato fennel soup.

Cinder block dorms and Drake’s Cakes from vending machines? Not anymore.

Experts also blame bloated administrative staffs and skyrocketing professor salaries for why college costs are up 1,000 percent in 30 years. The admittedly rarefied Harvard Law School, which hires famous lawyers to teach, paid Warren $350,000 a year. So yes, it’s swell that Warren’s concerned about interest rates for those who won’t make $350,000 in 10 years.

But the real problem is the “hammered” middle class, good interest rate or bad, can’t afford college, period. And college now is the surest prerequisite for affording the rest of your life.

So if Elizabeth Warren wants to cast herself as a warrior for that “hammered” middle class, then she needs to go at the people who are really hammering them.

And that’s her old pals back in academia.