Friday, January 27, 2012

I was surprised by the lack of comments on this

Dean Dad:

President Obama has put higher education “on notice” that if we keep raising tuition, we’ll get our public funding cut.
To which I say, huh?
We’ve had our public funding cut already. Since 2008, an uninterrupted series of cuts has been the direct cause of severe tuition increases for public higher ed. If you want to stop the tuition increases, the first thing to do is to require the states to restore and then maintain realistic funding levels. (When referring to a point in time, the usual term is a “maintenance of effort” requirement. Otherwise, it can be set as a “grant in aid.”) When the states have cut back, colleges have turned to the Feds through the indirect means of raising tuition, much of which is funded by Federal financial aid.
I think we really need to make a distinction between public and private education here.  Public schools, like in California, have had huge funding cuts that led to large percentage increases in tuition.  But, in absolute terms, the increases are small compared to the amount of tuition charged at private schools (like Stanford, which is in the same state).

In public education the finding cuts are causally connected to cost increases.  But I am not sure the University of California is really the problem in terms of unsustainable educational costs.  True, universities are expensive and I have been amazed at the cost increases.  But serious cuts in state support needs to be part of the overall picture to really understand what is going on.  Education (especially affordable education) is a public good and should be treated as such.

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