Skip to main content

View Diary: Costs of Higher Education and Costs of Ignorance (42 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Billing for Individual Experiences (0+ / 0-)

    Jerry J - In your comment you seem to suggest that colleges and universities should bill each student for just those programs or experiences they take advantage of.  Students who take an internship pay for the internship office.  Students who go on study abroad pay for the study abroad office.

    Actually, that's kind of how it works at many public institutions.  Students take credit-bearing internships and pay tuition for the privilege of working in a business as part of their education.  (That's another scandalous situation, but one that I won't bring up here.)

    Most public institutions that have study abroad offices charge an administrative fee for students who go on study abroad.  Even if they go to a program that is not hosted by their own university (in other words - they are going somewhere on their own), the students pay a fee that pays for their office.

    So you see, there's an awful lot of billing that goes on beyond the comprehensive fees of tuition and room and board already in place.

    It's so much a part of the spirit of higher ed that one of my friends who works at a state university explained to me that when he wants to get a service from another unit on his own campus he has to pay that unit from his budget.  His example had to do with the graphics office that prepares brochures.  So the free market philosophy has definitely penetrated the ivory tower.

    With regard to the question of staff costs, I can't say for sure because I don't have the information about the costs of health insurance in the private sector vs. the public sector, but I believe, based on what I'm told, that they are analogous.  The one thing I think might be an advantage is that for those people who work at a big public university that has a dental school or a school of optometry, they may have a benefit of some free work if they go to the school and allow the students to work on them.  I had a friend who worked for a university that had a vet school and she took her dog there.  To see the students, not the professors.

    So I think the key question is different from the one you're posing.  I think we have to ask if education is a public good, if it is an investment in our future, and if so, how we will fund it.

    I travel the interstate every day to commute to work.  I sure am glad that they built in the 1950s.  At great cost.  I used to commute over a bridge that was built in the 1930s. I'm pretty sure that some people gave their lives building it (literally, fell off the bridge during construction).  I don't mean to ask for that kind of literal sacrifice, but I do think we as a society should think about what we are willing to sacrifice now in order to have a better future for our children and grandchildren.

    You're right that the for-profit sector would likely crumble without the loans.  But we could as a society decide that loans are for non-profit educational institutions if we valued that in our country.  But then we'd have to be ready in the institutions of higher education to see more learners and support them. And as much as I have been a fan of higher education in this diary and the comments, I do not think that the system is ready to meet the needs of the diverse learners who are currently going to the for-profit sector.  Some of those learners aren't ready to study, but many of them are.  They just don't have the time in their lives to be traditional students.  But they are no less deserving in our support because they too have a role to play in our future.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site