Unusual Strategies to Cut College Tuition

Barry Lenson

Strategies to Cut College Tuition

Strategies to Cut College Tuition  We recently covered president Obama’s speech at The University of Michigan – the one in which he proposed the idea of only permitting colleges to increase tuition if they proved that they were meeting certain benchmarks.

“If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down,” the president said. “We should push colleges to do better. We should hold them accountable if they don't."

As soon as the echoes of the president’s last words had died away, people started to voice objections to his idea...

  • David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, told the New York Times, “The answer is not going to come from more federal controls on colleges or states, or by telling families to judge the value of an education by the amount young graduates earn in the first few years after they graduate.”
  • Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education in Washington, is quoted by blogger Daniel de Vise as having said that Obama’s approach “does smack of price controls.”

Okay, if colleges can’t be counted on to do the right thing and provide value to match any tuition increases, we have some alternative ideas to propose ...

  • Give students paper routes in the neighborhoods surrounding their campuses, and turn their earnings over to their colleges to help defray tuition costs.
  • Give students sandwich boards to wear and let them earn advertising revenue for their colleges.
  • Allow students to be the subjects of medical and psychological experiments. They would give any money they earned back to their colleges.
  • Require students to spend an hour a day on electricity-generating exercise bicycles that would supply power to their campuses.
  • Start rickshaw taxi services so students could lug people around and earn money for their colleges.
  • Make college students work as janitors and give their earnings to their colleges. (Oops, somebody else proposed a similar idea recently on the campaign trail.)

Okay, we are obviously joking when we make the above suggestions, which victimize students and make them pay money unfairly. But wait. How is that different from what is already taking place in American higher education?

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