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University Proposes Tuition Based On Major

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the varying-cost-of-education dept.

Education 532

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has proposed "differential tuition," a tuition structure that varies based on your major. An engineering major for example, would now pay considerably more than an English major. Liberal Arts majors would presumably get their education for free. From the article: "Charging different tuition rates for different courses of study is a growing trend among public research universities across the country. According to research by Glen Nelson, senior vice president of finance and administration for the Arizona Board of Regents, only five institutions used the practice for undergraduate students before 1988. As of this year, 57 percent of 162 public research institutions did so, including the University of Iowa and Iowa State University."

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Discouraging Science and Technical studies (5, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963574)

We're a country that's lagging behind on STEM (science, technical, engineering & math) education and experiencing somewhat of a shortage of people from the technical fields to fill jobs in our country because our educational system is a joke. What's the best way to go about remedying this? Why, yes, it's clearly to penalize people who want to study STEM majors by making them pay more for their education than for someone who wants a degree in comparative literature.

If you want to charge STEM majors more money for their degree, then fine, but don't go crying when you start attracting less talent to your school and your research grants start to dry up. In the short run, you'll raise a few bucks. In the long run, you're killing your most productive and profitable departments so you can have a tiny shortfall today.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (5, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963624)

I agree. They should charge more for majors that aren't likely to end up in getting a job in a related field after college. That would make Latin majors pretty much the most expensive.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963696)

I agree. They should charge more for majors that aren't likely to end up in getting a job in a related field after college. That would make Latin majors pretty much the most expensive.

Hey now, I see your point, but there are plenty of hippies to bash before going after the prestigious latin majors.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (3, Insightful)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963784)

I agree as well. As someone who teaches in academia on occasion, the university should reverse their thinking. It should be significantly cheaper to get a degree in a field where their is demand - the STEM degrees - and should cost significantly more for all other degrees. Coffee shops like Starbucks may have fewer History majors to choose from in hiring, but I think they would be able to adapt.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963888)

What about charging more for the degrees that are less likely to bring in research dollars? Engineering, Microbiology, and Computer Science will have a lot more research dollars than English, History, and Geography. All are valid areas of study, but why charge more an area that brings in the bucks and less for areas that are a cost sink instead of the other way around.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (2)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964048)

Texas Tech's CS Department already does something similar to this for their graduate students. The difference is that they do it with the type of degree sought(Thesis, Project, Report, Exam) and early registration dates. If you are working on a degree type that has a higher chance of bringing money or prestige(Thesis and to a smaller extent Project) you get to register sooner. Otherwise, you register at the end and may end up taking a year or so longer just because you couldn't get the courses you needed. I understood their reasoning my 1st semester as a grad student. Encourage students to do things that would raise the profile of the school.

Same should apply here. Lower the tuition for degrees that bring the school money outside of tuition & fees. Encourage students to do things that will raise the profile of the school and as such attract more students.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964132)

Universities are businesses. They'll charge were the money is; because, that's where the money is.

The reason you don't ask your local pan-handler for a loan is because it's not likely to happen, even if loans would improve the pan-handler's revenue stream.

The only way a university can justify charging certain majors more is to punitively charge above the current rate. Call it an Educational Morality Tax, or a "We want to mould the workplace demographics tax". If you think that Universities are not institutions of learning, but rather job training centres, then you won't have an issue with it. However, if you want to learn Spanish, take courses not intending to obtain a degree, or just focus your efforts on a Degree with a flooded market, why should you have to pay more based on the availability of others with your knowledge? For goodness sake it could make English the most expensive degree in the U.S.A.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964086)

I agree. They should charge more for majors that aren't likely to end up in getting a job in a related field after college. That would make Latin majors pretty much the most expensive.

Really? Why not charge more for majors that are more expensive to teach? It really takes more money to run labs than it does to xerox some out-of-print books ;-)

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (2)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963658)

Don't worry about the colleges. They'll just lobby Congress to make more grants and loans available, to "make college affordable" for another five minutes or so before they raise tuition again. :)

Think of the undergraduates!

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (5, Insightful)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963886)

Want to fix it? Make student loans subject to bankruptcy laws. That would reduce the number/amount of loans granted, and make colleges price-sensitive. As it is, the lenders have little incentive to consider whether a given loan is likely to pay off (since they either get to collect on it despite bankruptcy or get a federal payoff), so there's no incentive to limit lending to what can reasonably be paid back.

Schools are in an arms race. (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964070)

Private lenders are being pushed out of the market by the treasury. Making loans subject to bankruptcy won't work because students could just rack up two hundred K in tuition, go bankrupt, and get a job. Colleges are price sensitive but only slightly. There is no incentive to limit lending, yes, because the government effectively allows students to borrow infinite money on student credit. Bankruptcy won't do the trick, though, and there are collective action problems preventing any good colleges from keeping prices down.

Keeping prices down means not improving programs as much as you peer schools, which will cost you good students and good faculty, ultimately degrading the quality of education you can give even more than the mere comparative degradation that occurs if everyone else is improving their programs and you aren't. Everyone recognizes there is a problem, but none of the schools feel they can do anything about it--at least none of the good ones. It's effectively a multilateral arms race.

Note that this is for the portion of cost rising above inflation--you also have the cost of inflation to cover, at least nominally.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (2)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963728)

They must have some pretty strict rules to stop people from taking classes outside their major, as well. Otherwise I would go there with the cheapest possible major declared, and then just take the classes that I need for a more expensive major, only to change majors to my REAL intended major at the last second. I think this also implies that tuition costs on even the cheap majors are unlikely to drop, while expensive majors will only rise, otherwise everyone will just take their general requirements classes under the cheaper majors, and the school won't be making as much money.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (4, Informative)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963808)

The tuition is based on credit hours. So if you took an engineering class you would pay the engineering class rates.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964130)

> tuition is based on credit hours

Well, maybe at your common public institution.

At my snooty private institution we paid an exorbitant flat rate in order to sit around and discuss the astronomically higher value of our degrees.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964116)

They only real way to implement is to charge an increased amount for classes. So your 400 level course would be very pricey, where as 100 level classes would be cheap/free.

Why penalize others for someone elses desire? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963832)

Sorry but I can flip this coin as well, your willing to penalize those with other majors with higher costs to support science and technical majors? Some of which have very disparate costs. Hell, if you separate out the costs and such you might end up having more people complete college as it would be affordable for those doing "soft" degrees.

If the cost of an education is a discouragement to these "STEM" degrees then I would suggest investigating other schools who have lower costs or realigning one's desires with reality. If that discourages some then so be it. Why so cavalier? Because some people get into majors they won't finish. Perhaps seeing the upfront costs difference will do two things, discourage those who should not be there and encourage those who are incurring the costs to work harder to get the most from it. Plus it can be used as leverage by these students to demand more from the schools for charging more. Simply by the fact their education is costing more they should feel the school is obligated to ensure it is worth it.

Re:Why penalize others for someone elses desire? (2)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964094)

I didn't say penalize non-STEM majors with higher costs to support science and technical majors. I said keep it as is so it doesn't discourage people from studying STEM majors.

As for your second assertion that STEM students can shop around - this is true, however, this is a state university, which is generally more affordable to people who live in the state. In-state students must now choose between a more expensive state university degree or going to a private school with higher tuition rates or going to a school out-of-state. This prices poor students interested in STEM out of the market.

Plus it can be used as leverage by these students to demand more from the schools for charging more.

This isn't leverage. Students have been complaining about not getting much for the price of their tuition for decades now since school tuition started massively outpacing the rate of inflation. Universities have rarely, if ever, acquiesced to their demands. If anything, universities just wind up cutting more and more services while charging more and more in tuition.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963876)

We aren't lagging behind on STEM for lack of people in the field. We're lagging for lack of funding.

Re:Pay professors the same way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963894)

Charge more for engineering majors, but give the engineering professors more pay and don't pay the English professors squat...

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1, Insightful)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963912)

Before damning this idea, let's look at the other side. STEM majors will make much more money during their career than a liberal arts major likely will. That way, spending a little more on an education is a better return on investment. This also allows students (hopefully) to see a direct return on their investment in the quality of their education. If you are expected to pay more for your major, hopefully, this will be reflected in the facilities and instructors offered. On the flip side, it could also bring in more people who were turned off by high prices for majors that will not result in high paying jobs. I'm currently working on funding for a masters in architecture, a job that pays less than, say, engineering, and costs just as much tuition wise. Allowing variable rates lets them maximize their profit while allowing students the opportunity to pursue whatever major they choose.

This is, however, highly dependent on the rates chosen and how the money is ultimately spent. As always, if your product costs more than it's worth, then you'll end up losing buyers.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963964)

In what way is our educational system a "joke"? I learned a lot in high school and it set me up for college. I was a science/math geek and built a radiotelescope for a sci fair project. A kid in the class ahead of me built an operating electron microscope. I went into engineering and got my masters. No I don't think STEM students should pay more but I also think we have a great educational system IF the parents and students will take advantage of it.

The only common factor in all of your life failures is you.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (3, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964000)

If you want to charge STEM majors more money for their degree, then fine, but don't go crying when you start attracting less talent to your school and your research grants start to dry up.

Right, because charging more money for the education clearly attracts less talent to Ivy League schools. If you think this through it's not such a bad deal for STEM. It means the Engineering department actually brings more money into the school, and thus has far more budgetary pull then the other departments. Thus they can hire better professors, buy better equipment, and therefore attract student talent as well. If you're going into Engineering it makes since that the cost of your education would be more then another major that is going to be far less marketable and end up producing far less money for you.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964040)

In general, at any Uni with a large endowment, desirable students have no problem paying for tuition. You can be desirable either because you have talent, or because your parents have money. If you have the talent, and no money, any University will pay your full tuition. It helps if you've discovered a new theorem, or a medical breakthrough.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964056)

We're a country that's lagging behind on STEM (science, technical, engineering & math) education and experiencing somewhat of a shortage of people from the technical fields to fill jobs in our country because our educational system is a joke.

Shortage of people to fill jobs?!?

There is a shortage of jobs to support people!

Has been for years, likely will be for years.

People are going to go from college straight to the unemployment line.

Re:Discouraging Science and Technical studies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964104)

Oh bullshit that's we have to many engineers and scientist I have to leave the country to get work as a ME because we have 200 guys going for the same position.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963590)

To be fair, the facilities required for engineering education are substantially more expensive to build and operate than those of the liberal arts. That said, they also bring in significantly more grant money, so...

Re:Well (1)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963828)

I think you are failing to consider the substantial factors of housing, faculty, general facilities, and overhead/administrative costs when saying "substantially more expensive". The labs and equipment STEM majors use are expensive, but are only a fraction of the total cost, and have a long life span.

Re:Well (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963990)

Because of this it makes perfect sense for the universities to scale. Engineering costs them more, so they charge more. Heck, if you want to bring in a Liberal Arts grad as a professor, go to McDonald's and offer him twice what he's making.

However this approach has obvious detriments to our country as a whole. So, let the universities scale but offer subsidies or scholarships specifically catered to the grads we actually need to keep the country running.

Why not free? (1)

foma84 (2079302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963592)

Shouldn't they all be free or have just a symbolic fee in the public university?

Re:Why not free? (0)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963682)

You do realize that if public universities didn't charge tuition then the cost of education would come out of the taxpayers pockets. As somebody who has no college-age children I can tell you I don't want higher taxes so that I can subsidize the education of somebody whose parents had 10 kids.

Re:Why not free? (3, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963760)

If you don't have children you aren't producing workers to pay your SSI and Medicare. Shame on you, Freeloader! Better to educate people and maximize their economic productive power to keep our economy going.

Re:Why not free? (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963824)

You are a short sighted idiot.

A better educated populace and workforce is a benefit to you personally even if you don't have an college age kids.

Re:Why not free? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963926)

I love the ad hominem attack that you start with - very pro.

How does providing free education make for a "better educated populace and workforce"? Would people all of a sudden be smarter and professors more talented?

Re:Why not free? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963842)

As someone in the same boat I totally disagree. I would much rather spend money on something that improves our society and economy. Education will mean those 10 offspring will not have another 10 offspring each.

Re:Why not free? (1, Interesting)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963954)

Sending somebody to college doesn't instantly make them smarter or more logical. As somebody who went to a state university I can assure you that many, many people come in smarter than they leave.

Re:Why not free? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964004)

" would come out of the taxpayers pockets. "
Of course, and I'm for it. And I am middle class taxpayer with 2 kids. I would be perfectly fine to be dinged another 1000 a year to provide free education up to 4 years of college. Or, you now, close the corporate tax loopholes and use that money. Which seem fair because Corporation get the biggest advantage of an educated society.
I would also be fore a education tax of 20 cents a gallon on gas, 10 cents on soda pop, and .25% per KwH on electricity.
I would also legalize marijuana and tax its.
Yes, education is CRITICAL to society. More critical then military, border patrol, and many other things.

An educated society is healthier, safer, and more productive.

"somebody whose parents had 10 kids."
way to jump to the extremely rare extreme.
I would argue that a family that has 10 kids NEEDS there kids to go to college and educate themselves so THEY won't also have 10 kids.

Assuming you mean Ten, and not Two~

Re:Why not free? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964106)

Except it wouldn't be $1000 a year or 20 cents a gallon. It would be closer to $10K a year and $2 per gallon. It seems petty and small when you underestimate the impact.

And yes - corporations are raping society through tax breaks right now and there are MANY ways the money could be used wisely but that is a whole different discussion.

The question I ask is - does free college actually have any impact on the total education level of society? Are there that many people who aren't going to college strictly because of cost - even with scholarships, government subsidized student loans, etc.

Re:Why not free? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964016)

except that you already do. It's a matter of how much.

I'm in ontario (canada). The actual cost of tuition, about 20k/year, which is what we charge foreign students. Domestic students. 6-7k. The US will have different numbers but in effect it's the same thing. Educating competent people ultimately is good for everyone, because you're actually investing in the future, growing the tax base, and growing the economy, and not everyone competent, even from one child families could afford full tuition rates + living expenses to go to an appropriate school. Appropriate as in one that offers a degree programme you're interested in (I don't know about the US but there are 17 universities in ontario, only about half offer engineering, and comp sci as full degrees, only a couple offer certain native studies etc. Most of them offer business, but aren't very good at it).

Sadly, one of the great challenges for the future is how governments and pension plans around the world are going to pay benefits and services for more and more retirees, with less and less workers, while at the same time clean up the environmental mess caused by more and more people. This is going to become especially apparent if governments have to bail out pension plans which can't keep paying benefits they are contractually obliged to pay. Saying, in effect 'your parents were dumb enough to have 10 kids so you should only earn minimum wage' will significantly trap them in poverty, poorly utilize talent and ultimately be bad for everyone, including you, because your taxes and pension contributions will go up, and the services go down.

Re:Why not free? (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964112)

Public universities *aren't* supposed to charge tuition. It's constant budget cuts that have forced them to do so. This year, the University of California finally resolved to stop calling their tuition "fees" (which got them around the "we don't charge tuition" thing). It's now just "tuition" and the current cuts to the system have reduced state support to less than 50% the cost of tuition.

Note that "tuition" isn't the only cost.

Books and Supplies ~$1,550
Room and Board ~$9,500
Personal ~$1,700
Transportation ~$2,000
Systemwide Fees (Tuition) ~$11,000
Campus Fees ~$1,800

That's for the upcoming academic year.

Here's 2000-2001:
Books and Supplies - $1,162
Room and Board - $6,345
Personal - $1,542
Transportation - $978
Healthcare Allowance (later included in fees) - $415
"Fees" - $4,057

Re:Why not free? (2)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963710)

Shouldn't they all be free or have just a symbolic fee in the public university?

Because it costs money to provide the education, even with state support.

Re:Why not free? (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963854)

Can I make a deal with the state? You don't help me through college and I don't have to pay any extra taxes for my increased salary afterwards.

How about that?

Descrimination... (5, Insightful)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963628)

The most unfortunate thing is that poorer people will start to study, not what they are good at/like, but what they can afford...

Re:Descrimination... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963762)

This is already the case. I was working 2 jobs and going to school full time to pay for the tuition plus the $1500 in books I had to buy for a bio-informatics degree. Doesn't help that all these books required us to rip pages out of them to turn in as assignments, so they were useless to sell back, and you couldn't get any used. Oh did I mention all my professors just *happened* to write the books?

I finially switched to a neuro-psych degree because I could afford it, and graduate faster. Oh, and the head of my old program telling me he would make sure I never graduated because I questioned the way he wrote a program, after he asked how we would have done it differently no loss.

The decline in STEM in the U.S. I beleive is not from availble interest, or talent; it is from bad policies and 'good 'ol boy' professors who should've retired 30 years ago.

Re:Descrimination... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963944)

I don't think "poor" includes a university education. You're thinking about lower middle class who consider themselves poor, but aren't. Real poor people are usually working instead of going to high school.

Re:Descrimination... (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964080)

which is better then studying nothing.
I would rather someone with an engineering bent at least got a lib arts degree. for no other reason then to be able to get into a position where then can add engineering as a second major.

Such a great idea (1, Insightful)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963646)

Yes, let's charge more of the harder degrees (like engineering, and maybe even law, medical and finance), so we end up with a bunch of liberal arts major and other degrees which won't be socially useful.

Soon we'll charge fat people more to ride the bus because they use up more gas. Wonderful.

Re:Such a great idea (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963716)

Actually - it makes sense to charge fat people more to ride the bus. That would encourage them to walk more and lose weight, wouldn't it?

Re:Such a great idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963840)

Yes, because the difference between loosing weight and being fat is the bus fare.

Re:Such a great idea (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964024)

Not saying it's the difference. I was pointing out that it isn't as illogical as he made it seem. For the morbid obese it wouldn't work but for people looking to lose 20 lbs it might be enough incentive to walk those 15 blocks to work instead of hopping on the bus.

Re:Such a great idea (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963780)

Soon we'll charge fat people more to ride the bus because they use up more gas. Wonderful.

That's a bad example, because it at least has some relation to reality. Moving more mass requires more fuel.
Charging more for majors that usually pay more doesn't have any kind of relationship to the cost of actually providing the education.

Re:Such a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963860)

Wait. Thought your point on it being wrong to charge more for people to study STEM majors is correct, and the concept backwards...I cant disagree more about fat people being charged more to ride the bus.

Fat people should pay more for airline tickets, health insurance, car insurance, pay more into medicare and medicaid as well as many other penalties. Then maybe more people would take to losing weight either because they dont have money for food or out of desire to save more.

Re:Such a great idea (1)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963892)

I know! People who post worthwhile comments will have to pay $1.00 per post while trolls and uniformed blatherers can post for free!

Re:Such a great idea (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964146)

Where do we get these uniforms from so that we can get free posts?

Re:Such a great idea (2)

debrisslider (442639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963982)

Hey, to study scientific fields, you need labs and facilities costing tens of millions of dollars, upgraded every few years. At my school (UC Santa Cruz, Literature major) we read 300 year old books outside when the professor thought the day was nice enough. Why should I pay the same $40,000 to subsidize the hugely expensive and resource-intensive programs for engineers who are gonna make ten times what I make in my life? I doubt anyone is going to switch from one of the harder majors to a 'soft' liberal arts program for basically any amount of money - I have comp sci/eng friends who paid off their student loans within a *year* because of their $60,000 out-the-door starting salary. I'm a postal subcontractor making $10 an hour 4 hours a day, and none of my friends from the major have ever made more than $40,000, and we graduated almost a decade ago. Boo fucking hoo some B.A.s have to pay a couple thousand more per year for their state-of-the-art facilities while their friends in the liberal arts use the same leftover classrooms, stages, studios, rehearsal rooms, and theaters that were there 40 years ago.

Re:Such a great idea (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964102)

They do charge fat people more to ride airplanes, not so much because they use more fuel, but because they take two seats. If you can't squeeze into a regular airplane seat you either have to pay for two, or pay more to ride on a type of plane that has bigger seats.

MBA programs already do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963650)

At my university, an MBA is about 100USD more per credit hour than any other major at the school.

And so they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963836)

At my university, an MBA is about 100USD more per credit hour than any other major at the school.

That's because MBA students are often already successful people who are just doing it so they can get an even higher-paying job.

Re:MBA programs already do this (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963920)

Thats because they are trying to do the right thing an encourage folks not to get an MBA. The world already has too many people with that form of brain damage.

Re:MBA programs already do this (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964144)

MBAs are graduate degrees. Clearly graduate classes cost more than undergraduate classes.

Better than nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963662)

I agree simply because aside from college tuition being exorbitant enough, a liberal arts degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, so at least getting such a useless degree won't put the student in as much debt.

However, I'm even more partial to reworking the entire system altogether such that those going to college doesn't mean debt for anyone. It's getting quite ridiculous.

The Opposite (0)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963666)

I would think it would be the opposite. That the gender studies and the dance majors should be paying the way for the STEM majors.

After all, only one group will contribute to the economy after graduation.

Re:The Opposite (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963848)

That the gender studies and the dance majors should be paying the way for the STEM majors. After all, only one group will contribute to the economy after graduation.

So the people who won't make any money should pay for the people who will? I mean, value judgements on the merit of the respective fields aside, that just sounds economically implausible. STEM majors can make money after graduation, and can thus afford to pay student loans. And good professors are probably more expensive, since the university has to compete for them with the likes of Google. If the students can afford to pay more, they probably will.

What a joke (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963890)

I would think it would be the opposite. That the gender studies and the dance majors should be paying the way for the STEM majors. After all, only one group will contribute to the economy after graduation.

I'd hate to live in a world run by you.

Can you imagine how boring society would be if nobody studied arts or humanities?

Picture street after street of dull gray buildings, no theater or art or even interesting architecture, etc., then tell me you want to live in that world.

Re:What a joke (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964084)

Yes, because people never paint, do theater, write, etc. without having spend tens of thousands of dollars on a four year degree in it first.

Re:The Opposite (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963916)

Absolutely.

If STEM majors are likely to make more money after graduation, aren't they also likely to give back more to their alma mater? Aren't they also more likely to participate in activities bringing grants and income to the school while still in school, such as research?

I don't want to come off like a nutcase 'Obama is Hitler and turning us into socialists,' but isn't this the textbook definition of communism? "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," compounded with gross misunderstanding of ability and need?

I'm All For It (0)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963670)

And make the football and basketball majors have a tuition of $400,000/term. Kill those scholarships, and let them get paid. Easy.

Re:I'm All For It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963742)

Sports make more money for university than they use.

Priceing by degree (1)

eprparadocs (992983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963684)

Perhaps if they are going to charge based on degree they can give me a guarantee that I can find a job! If the "product" doesn't work I ought to be able to get a refund after all!!!!

Great keep the poor people poor (0)

yantra_shilpi (1686252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963692)

Aren't these institutions being funded by tax payers. If so, why is it that they are differentiating what education you can have based on what you can and cannot pay? More reasons for people NOT to take STEM classes and majors. By reducing access to critical thinking subjects and classes this just creates one more hurdle for the poorer students to overcome their socio-economic status. Not acceptable especially in a public university. At least now even if you are poor but you are brilliant you could find a way to come up through scholarships and education. Now that becomes harder and harder... If a brilliant math student who is also poor can earn a living by doing an english major as opposed to an engineering major which might take longer. What will he/she choose? When it comes down to eating and learning... we always choose eating. Sucks to be poor nowadays I guess...

samzenpus win (1, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963706)

Liberal Arts majors would presumably get their education for free.

I understand this was satire, but the unfortunate reality is that I can see an army of English and Art majors lobbying this battle for the win. Its getting closer to moving out of American time, for the tide of idiocracy is becoming to strong.

Re:samzenpus win (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963746)

But perhaps those English majors can help me spell my adjectives correctly.

already done in other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963714)

yeah this is already done all over the world, I've finished computer engineering in Romania a few years ago and my wife finished medicine - her course was about 50% more expensive than mine and triple what a human arts major would pay (all in a public university). I'm in Ireland now and I see the same thing in their public universities.

Too bad I couldn't have done this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963720)

Liberal Arts major for the first 3 years, and in the last year switch over to comp sci... I could have saved some bucks!

Makes sense (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963740)

Engineering is still better than Liberal Arts for finding good jobs so this isn't really a horrible idea. You get what you pay for.

Because we all follow our majors, or course... (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963748)

That's some pretty disconnected administration there. My focus was law and philosophy, but ended up having a passion for education and am currently working in TDM.

I have a friend who majored in aeronautical engineering and he's teaching in Queens. And another friend who majored in sociology and is current in nursing school. And yet another who majored in psychology and works in an academic department wrangling university faculty.

Too many assumptions by people too far removed from reality...

Sceine and engineering (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963796)

should be the cheapest. Seriously, we need science and engineering majors more then we need liberal arts majors.

Which doesn't mean liberal arts isn't worth anything, it's just that as a country, we needs engineers and scientists.

There are cost differences here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963806)

English majors require books. Engineers require labs filled with expensive equipment.

Given the difference in costs it is not unreasonable to expect a difference in price. The current structure subsidizes engineering using the tuition of arts-types.

Sounds reasonable (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963816)

And I hope the difference in tuition fees will be pegged to some kind of index which I could baptise the "Income Potential Index" (IPI).

You see, a graduate of English will earn potentially less than a graduate in law. Just an example and a fact.

Don't hike the tuition fees. Ask for a % of salary (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963844)

Engineering and medical education takes more equipment and resources. Lab costs, technicians to run the machines, have to compete with the industry to get qualified teachers etc. So it makes sense to charge more for these disciplines. But these tend to pay more salaries to the graduates and they have an easier time getting a job. So they should be able to pay more. But it would be a better idea to charge the same tuition fees to all grads and ask for a percentage of salary earned in the first two years as additional fees. It would be a radical idea to reduce the tuition fees to bare minimum for all grads and ask for a salary sharing arrangment.

Re:Don't hike the tuition fees. Ask for a % of sal (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964026)

Engineering and medical education takes more equipment and resources. Lab costs, technicians to run the machines, have to compete with the industry to get qualified teachers etc. So it makes sense to charge more for these disciplines.

They also bring in large research grants, so it makes sense to offset those costs with the grants. I doubt the English Department gets large sums of money from the DoD or private industry.

The Univ. of Mich. has been doing this for years (4, Insightful)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963850)

When I was an undergrad studying computer science at the University of Michigan, they wanted me to pay the higher engineering tuition level, even though my CS degree was in the college of Literature, Science, and Arts.

Therefore, I didn't declare my major until halfway through my second-to-last semester. Why pay the higher level tuition for all the LS&A courses they required me to take as well? Engineering level tuition for French, Creative Writing, and my Race & Ethnicity Requirement? I don't think so.

Re:The Univ. of Mich. has been doing this for year (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964100)

When I was an undergrad studying computer science at the University of Michigan, they wanted me to pay the higher engineering tuition level, even though my CS degree was in the college of Literature, Science, and Arts.

Therefore, I didn't declare my major until halfway through my second-to-last semester. Why pay the higher level tuition for all the LS&A courses they required me to take as well? Engineering level tuition for French, Creative Writing, and my Race & Ethnicity Requirement? I don't think so.

This will simply accelerate the outsourcing of engineering to other countries as well as hiring of grads from offshore universities from countries that want to promote engineering, etc.

Clearly something is broken in American and isn't getting fixed.

Backwards... (2)

riley (36484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963856)

Shouldn't we be valuing each profession in terms of its value to the whole, and discounting based on necessity. For example, we need more nurses, so nursing should be considerably less expensive than a folklore major, which contributes less to the whole.

This is not to start a flame war with folklorists, just stating that our society requires more nurses than folklorists to function. The cost benefit analysis should support producing more of what we need, rather than more of what we don't.

University of Illinois at Chicago (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963866)

We here at UIC have tuition differential long time ago. Extra $1K per semester for Engineering is not new. The tuition waiver for graduate students does not cover differentials, and it has been a hot button issue for the grad labor union for a while.

English major here, actually using my degree (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963878)

You'd be amazed what a great background a technical writing degree is for IT. If it's got an instruction manual, I can run it. If it doesn't have an instruction manual and I figure out how to run it, I can write an instruction manual for others to use it. This is a valuable skill and I've become a vital part of my office because it's not something the rest of the techies know how to do, let alone enjoy.

Engineering fees (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963880)

They're already doing it.

Re:Engineering fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964050)

I went to school for a degree in "Digital Media" and we had to pay $100 per credit hour on top of tuition to cover lab computers and software (Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc).

It didn't go over well when put in place but it did provide funding for much needed improvements. Other departments followed suit and implemented similar fees as well.

Been the case at UofM for a while (1)

Xerotope (777662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963946)

This was the case when I was an Engineering student at the University of Michigan in '03 and continues to be the case now.

http://ro.umich.edu/tuition/full.php#Lower_Eng [umich.edu]

Your first two years as Engineering student will cost you about $100/$400 (out-of-state/in-state) more per semester versus general undergraduate. Those numbers shoot up to $1000/$1500 more your second two years (when courses are typically more lab intensive).

Inverse Relationship (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963950)

It's been my experience that those who go into the scientific majors are far more interested in the course subjects, whereas those going for the "catch all" degrees of Liberal Arts and Management are just in it for a degree so they can place better in the job market.

As such, it would seem that there would be an inverse tuition based on this: Show the university that you *really* want that boring degree by paying more for it. Hopefully this would get more people interested in a scientific degree, which they would hop out of when they discovered that it's too hard for them. But for some, they'll find that they actually enjoy science and engineering.

So what if... (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963976)

I decide to major in the lowest tuition cost field but decide to take a whole bunch of STEM class, along with those required by my major, as electives? Will schools then ghettoize majors, saying you can't take so much of the higher cost classes, or charge for them? Why not make all majors free, in exchange for a fixed percentage of you roost graduation income for a set number of years?

Cheap Majors. (1)

Sal Zeta (929250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963998)

Being a bachelor of Literature and Communication ( or whatever academic award you should consider my Italian degree comparable to), I don't know if I should consider such idea offensive, ridiculous, or both.

It would make an already objectively more difficult degree such as Engineering even more distressing, and would dilute the already small relevance given to Liberal Arts degrees by giving them the reputation of being "cheap majors" (guess what, they become as much expensive and difficult as any other major studies if you actually care about what you are studying, instead of using it as an easy way out of getting a degree.)

Cost of majors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964002)

The second-least expensive major should be mathematics. For mathematics, all one needs is paper, a pencil, and a wastebasket.

The least-expensive major should be philosophy. For philosophy, one doesn't need the wastebasket.

Reverse it (0)

Purpleslog (1645951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964010)

Charge high for worthless Liberal arts degrees. To benefit society, STEM-type degrees should be mostly free to those that can do it.

Labs are charged extra (1)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964060)

Since most sciences require a lab, the universities are already getting extra money. At least they were when I was in college.

Where have I seen this before? (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964068)

It's the same mentality as progressive taxation schemes, and with much the same result likely. You get less of what you penalize, and more of what you subsidize.

This is only half the story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964078)

FYI, UNL student here. Due to a budget crisis, the chancellor has already cut numerous programs - the Masters program in Classics and the entire undergraduate Industrial and Management Systems Engineering program to name a few.

And also, I think it's obvious that Engineering professors make a hell of a lot more money than English professors, so why not scale the tuition to account for the increased cost?

Besides, it'll decrease the debt risk of the 90% of English majors who graduate to work full-time in a coffee shop while writing terrible poetry on the side.

This is news? (1)

Asten (674521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964098)

So, uh, a university joins 57% of other peer universities in doing something, and it's news?

Why shouldn't they? (1, Interesting)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964118)

A university exists to make money for itself. (I know they are not-for-profit, but that's just a tax thing.) If it can charge more for one product than another, guess what? It doesn't exist to provide for the greater economic beniefit of society (or even to educate society, really). If you want for universities to exist for society, they should all be government run, and presumably free for every one. That would have the most positive impact on our society and economy.

Guild / union aprenticeship model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964138)

Then write a contract for a free education and take 20% (pre tax) of students future income IN THE FIELD OF STUDY of the Degree Issued and cast aside tuition, GPAs, loans compleatly. Usefull employable wanted graduates would be exting programs within 4 years and retraining for obsolete skillsets would be free for the entire population.

This is what the guild/trade unions say they do with aprenticeships for hundread of years.

What do I know... I have a Phyisics and Astronomy Degree..... Everything was my field of study.

They should call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35964140)

... "Value Based Tuition". You pay into it what you can be expected to get out of it.

Seriously, "Differential Tuition" sounds like one of those euphemisms like "Vertically Challenged".

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