Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Which schools to support 

As you probably can tell, we're having a harder time getting around to blogging; we're in the final week of classes and grading takes precedent over blogging. Nevertheless, the debate over differential tuition/price discrimination continues. Today's rant from a management professor:
The budgetary issues are being framed as though Minnesota does not have enough money to properly support SCSU or higher education for its poorer citizens. This is nonsense. If Minnesota truly wanted or needed to economize on higher education expenditures, then it would close higher cost-lower quality higher education institutions and shift students to lower cost-higher quality institutions such as SCSU. Minnesota would end up with fewer but higher quality state universities and more community colleges from which students could transfer. Thus increasing tuition at SCSU instead of closing higher cost state universities is simply an effort to force SCSU students to subsidize higher cost higher education at other institutions. This sounds a lot like a pork barrel in which the critical choices are conveniently hidden from the electorate.
Sounds good and the argument against cross-subsidies makes some sense, but the statement is factually challenged. This site has information on costs of providing programs; while it's easy to say the data are flawed (try it: "the ... day... tah ... arr ... flawd ..." see how easy that was?) they should be sufficient for comparisons within the system. Bemidji State does pretty poorly, others are within a couple hundred dollars per student, and by his logic we should get out of the general education/lower division coursework business at any rate. Some community and technical colleges are generating those credits for $1000 less.

But are they the same courses? Do we really want our students going for a B.A. degree to go to the community colleges for all their lower division coursework? We do not want people arguing that a course is a course is a course.