Maybe College Officials Need a Refresher Course in the Role of Higher Education
All state universities, colleges and community colleges are suffering from diminished state support while at the same time college education is becoming more and more critical for individuals and for nations. Educated people get better jobs faster, and educated societies do far better than less educated societies. A nation that worries endlessly about its national debt needs to worry even more about the educational opportunities it provides for its young people. The debt everyone should be worried about is the massive student debt college graduates are left with if and when they finish college.
But in California the state is so lacking in funds that one college has come up with a unique way to increase revenue, at the expense of students of course. At
Santa Monica College
Last month, the board approved a plan that would offer about 50 high-demand courses at $180 per credit hour, rather than the regular $36. Administrators have said that the higher tuition would just cover the costs for each course. Registration is scheduled to begin next month.
Now this is the way economics would solve the problem of demand exceeding supply, but state community colleges are not profit making private companies. Their mission is to serve the public by providing greater not less access to higher education. Fortunately some people involved with the school actually know this.
The chancellor, Jack Scott, had already made it clear that he was wary of the community college’s plan, saying it could violate state education codes. He has asked the state’s attorney general for an opinion, which he expects to receive in the next week.
“The question, of course, is that the price may well rule out low-income students, and does that go against our philosophy of being open to all? That is the heart of the issue,” Dr. Scott said in an interview. “I understand the problem they have, and I am the first to say we need more funding from the state, but this really opens the gates in an unusual way to something I am not sure we want to have.”
The justification for the policy from the college is this.
Bruce Smith, a spokesman for the college, said that its president, Chui L. Tsang, told Dr. Scott that he would consider the request, but that any decision would have to be approved by the board of trustees. . . .Dr. Tsang has said that he believes that the plan is legal and is the only way to try to meet the demand.
Uh no, the way this demand is met is by having more classes and more faculty. And if the President of the college does not understand that maybe he needs a different job in a different industry. And if
California does not understand this, maybe they need to go back to school. The Republicans who block funding and higher taxes to support education certainly need to do so.