29 January 2008

Thou Shalt Not be a Chump

Unreported news finally gets reported.
University leaders are projecting a 7.5 percent increase for 2008-09 in tuition plus the university fee, with a 5.5 percent hike expected for low- and middle-income Minnesotans. In the best-case scenario, undergraduate tuition together with the university fee and other required fees would rise to more than $10,200 this fall for most Minnesotans.

Adjusted for inflation, undergraduate tuition and fees at the U rose 10 percent during the 1970s, 42 percent in the 1980s, 37 percent in the 1990s - and 66 percent in the first seven years of this decade, making the U one of the most expensive flagship state universities in the country, according to data published by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Board of Washington state.
When the price of prescription drugs goes up, it's those greedy pharmaceutical companies at it again. When the price of regular unleaded goes up a dime it's those greedy oil companies at it again. When the fee you pay to use an ATM machine seems disagreeable, people fly off the handle and want to nationalize the banking industry.

But when the price of tuition at public, land-grant colleges goes up, at several times the rate of inflation, do we demonize the Educational Industrial Complex? Do we demand that college presidents be put in shackles and hauled to legislative hearings? Nope. All we do is turn to the teat of government and beg for more grants, scholarships, loans and other sleights of finacial hand that mask the source of the illness and only feed the insatiable appetite for public funds of modern colleges.

Next time My Pretty Pony is weeping to college affordability, listen to his idea of a soluiton and try applying it to any other industry, product or service.

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