Recently the California State University announced that unless a referendum passes that will partly restore their funding levels, they cannot afford to admit more students. So they won't. They're going to freeze admissions.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Think about what that says. Populist rhetoric would have you believe that the reason the costs of education are rising because universities are gauging students. I often hear my students complain about the costs of their education (the university I work at has the lowest tuition in its peer group). They believe that these costs are simply a result of feckless professors and administration gauging the students because they can. But in a world where state support for public education is dropping fast, in large part because the same politicians who use and encourage this populist view are arguing that they have to punish the professors and administrators for the rising costs by cutting funding further.
In response public universities have tried to keep tuition costs down. But the result is now that every new student that comes in the door of the universities represents a loss. That is, it costs more to educate that student (especially in a Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) than their tuition covers. I've talked to lots of professors in various colleges, disciplines etc and they all tell the same story. Tuition doesn't even cover half of the costs of operating the program. The populists will tell you that is because professors costs more. But here's a secret. Tuition never covered costs - ever. Public education was always subsidized by tax money and private education was subsidized by charitable donations and endowments.
That the CSU system sees freezing enrollment as a viable budgetary strategy tells you that cuts to public education have gotten so bad that the universities can no longer afford to keep operating unless they get more money from the state or dramatically increase tuition to the point where most of their students couldn't afford to attend.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 7:38 AM