When is an educational bargain not a bargain?
We don’t know the answer to that question, but we do know that the students at San Francisco State University aren’t getting a lot of bang for their tuition bucks. You can read the story in “SFSU students compete for open class spots,” a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Although students pay only $6,442 a year in tuition at SFSU, their struggles must be similar to what students endured at the University of Moscow in the months before the fall of communism. (Actually, those Muscovite students might have had it better.) At SFSU, students have to enter lotteries to claim the few remaining open seats for classes that they need for graduation. If they don’t “win” an open seat, what are they supposed to do?
And even if they do snag an open seat, they can expect to sit on the floor in the aisles of overcrowded lecture halls. Things are bad. Fifteen percent fewer instructors are teaching at the school, compared to 15 years ago. Three hundred courses have been eliminated. The heating systems barely work in some buildings, forcing students to bundle up and wear coats and gloves to class on some days. (Frisco can get cold.)
It all makes you think that curling up with a nice warm laptop in the comfort of your own home is looking better and better these days. More students who take their college courses online are discovering just that.
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