If our young people are our future, education is the engine that propels them and the future they carry with them. In that context, why is education not seriously accepted as the most important investment the Federal and state gov'ts should make? Sure, we hear that premise as rhetoric all the time. But rhetoric and a nickel can't even buy a cup of coffee these days.
IMHO, every institution of higher education in the country s/b a community college on steroids. State and Fed funded to the level that tuitions can be contained within four digits. But, with privatization comes profit-as-God. *sigh*
Side note: When I went off to the Massachusetts College of Art in the Fall of '67, my first year tuition — as an out-of-state student — was $600, less the $200 scholarship I had won from Cherry Hill HS West in NJ. The following year, having re-established MA residency, my nut was $200! A much different story today.
Well having taught at 3 community colleges (Georgia Perimeter College- Dunwoody, GA; UT Tyler, and Tyler Junior College) over the last 18 years - I too am amazed at the costs. Both my sons got Sallie Mae loans and WE are paying them off (ouch). Luckily they had majors where jobs were plentiful.
One cost increase is books... the publishers commonly charge $150-200 per text... multiply by 5 subjects you can spend $1000 for books and supplies. What's worse is they refresh them every 3-4 years bumping the prices higher & higher, while the contents change <5% !! I always allow students to use the previous edition to save $. Course there's a price for that - no access to the Publisher's website because the original owner used that up (code good for 1-2 semesters). Most of the time that's not a big deal.
I do not believe it's Professor's salary. Many of the smaller colleges make their payrolls off the back of part-timers... many small colleges, almost 50% of the faculty and get paid 1/4 to 1/3 what an FT faculty does... let me give you an example... at GPC I made $2200 per 3 hr course or lab (they paid equal- many incl TJC do NOT)... so If I taught 8 lectures and labs over the 12 months (incl summer session); I'd make abut $17,000. To be an FTE, you need to teach 9 sections (4 one semester, 5 the other). Their salaries were about $45,000 = 2.6 X higher for the SAME work... at TJC - they pay even less $1800 / lecture section/ semester... beginning salaries are about $50,000 for science professors... that's 3.5X more !! For subjects like English and History it's worse !! for English they pay between $35-40K... a starting school teacher in Tyler ISD makes $42,000 !! WTF would take the lower salary... I guess someone that doesn't want to deal with public school students...
Believe it or not one big MONEY PIT is sports (esp. football) ! [ basketball and baseball might be different - depends on the school]. These schools sink millions into many worthless programs... oh worthwhile for the athletes, but for the academic students a BIG drain. If you're UT Austin or A&M you make a profit...but the other 98% of schools LOSE $ !. At UT Tyler, they recently voted whether to have a football team... it would cost the students $50 more / semester in student fees + they'd be taking $ from other funds and reserves... it got voted DOWN ! Smart kids ! I was stunned to hear how many schools lose money on their sports programs.
However there ARE ways to cut costs... go to community colleges for the first year or 2 then transfer to a 4 yr state school... probably save you $5000-$10,000 depending which schools you choose. Unless on scholarship, avoid private colleges - they cost 2-3 X more... sometimes that's unavoidable depending on your major. I advised my micro pre-nursing students to go to Emory University IF I believed they were capable of that intense grind, they could get accepted (tough), and they could swing it with scholarships etc. That Nursing degree cost them double what surrounding Nursing schools would. So Why? Their potential income over their careers would likely pay for and return them 2-3 X more salary. They teach their students to be leaders... so that could greatly increase one's potential income over a 25-30 yr career. Many also go on to get a Masters (Nurse Practitioner) because their training makes it a very easy step (3 more semesters). Average nurses salary is $68,000 nationwide - NP is $95,000 !! They can command a high salary on graduation- probably around $120,000 which in <5 years will pay for the difference in costs.
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