Wednesday, July 18, 2007

God damn the tuition, man

Ah yes, the double bind- if you want to move out of the working class into the professional class in America, you need to have a college education; but, if you're working class, you probably can't afford to get a college education. Apparently, with tuition rates skyrocketing (to pay for yet more worthless admins, no doubt) some working class college students are facing the question: do I eat or pay tuition? Lovely, eh? I guess state governments think it's more important to pay for surveillance cameras than higher education. I wonder if those hungry students enjoy sitting in overpriced classes, listening to their profs with full tuition tell them about their strong 'Marxist beliefs'? Or if they enjoy having the hereditary professional class lecture them on the virtues of a meritocracy? Ah well. I guess if God didn't want them to be part of the permanent underclass, He would have made sure they were born to richer parents.


Holly said...

My first thought was, isn't that what stripping is for? Then I moved on to, curse the system, that wants to keep the common man down. Next, I came to, the universities can't *possibly* want to keep people out, that doesn't make any sense at all. After that, it's a business problem, someone is profiting off this, there's no other reason to cut funding. The lower classes can't go on believing themselves to be middle class without a good education. So... where's all the money going?

Oh, right. Student loans.

Student Loan Firms Practices Draw Scrutiny ... because, really, why WOULD the accountant need her own private jet?

Rufus said...

Another thing is that most states treat their state universities as a good place to stick people who need work. Hence, many of them have a ratio of profs to staff that works out to 2/3, or even 1/3. In other words, they tend to be very top-heavy.

Instead of cutting down these positions, they try to add vaguely-defined 'value' to the college experience. We have fully-staffed offices at Mall University that do almost nothing, but which the public has no awareness of. Students hate them, but nobody can figure out how to get rid of them.

Then, of course, administrators make good salaries, professors have full tuition, and the ideal seems to be to teach as little as possible, and college sports are a ridiculous black hole that sucks a fortune but which give little back. After a certain point, you wind up with an enterprise instead of a university. Universities don't want to keep people out, but I'm not convinced that they care if they do.

And, absolutely, student loan companies love it when tuition goes up, for obvious reasons. But I will say that tuition will drop when universities start tightening their belts.

I'm actually working out the details on how to offer my courses for free at a different location. I'm going to try to offer the course at Mall U, for the usual tuition, and at a bookstore in Toronto for free, but they will have to buy the books themselves.

Holly said...

When did tuition ever go down? Anywhere?

I dig the way it's done here, where public schooling concluded with what is essentially either a trade (ie, job), a certification in a technical field (ie, job or apprenticeship), or a bachelor's equivalent, and then the optional schooling picks up after that. Although the option post-secondary school isn't free any more, it's still entirely affordable for all but the least motivated. And, frankly, if you're so unmotivated, academia is probably not for you anyway. But undergrad level isn't considered academia here.