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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the dance-majors-for-jill-stein-2016 dept.

Education 457

Hugh Pickens writes "Jordan Weissmann writes that a task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to charge lower tuition for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers including science, technology, engineering, and math. The hope is that by keeping certain degrees cheaper than others, Florida can encourage students into fields where it needs more talent. For some, it might seem inherently unfair to send dance majors deeper into debt just to keep tuition low for engineers, who are already poised to earn more once they graduate, but task force chair Dale Brill says tax dollars are scarce, and the public deserves the best possible return from its investment in education and that means spending more generously on the students who are most likely to help grow Florida's economy once they graduate. Brill also argues that too few young people consider their career prospects carefully when picking a major. 'We're trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,' Brill says. 'Most students couldn't tell you what they pay in tuition. In economics, pricing is all we have to determine and work out supply and demand. So, when the consumer is completely separated from the cost of a product, then the cost rises.'" Remember when everyone was supposed to become an aerospace engineer and then the industry collapsed in the early 90s?

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Just happy to see a Republican supporting science (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41907159)

[looking around nervously] Hush! No one tell him that the college biology departments are still teaching evolution.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (5, Interesting)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | about 2 years ago | (#41907229)

You'd be surprised how many Republican-leaning voters are not social conservatives at all...I'd say 1/3rd of the total...hence the mediocre showing for deeply religious candidates :D

That being said, I paid my blood and my first born, thank you very much, and I don't support the next generation getting the free ride, particularly for students who are the most likely to have no trouble paying their loans back! This is silly popularism striking again.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (5, Insightful)

Dasuraga (1147871) | about 2 years ago | (#41907347)

There's a difference between a free ride and a less expensive ride. Most people don't have the luxury of having their parents helping to pay, and just saying " take a loan " is what caused prices to rise as much as they have : Schools know the gov't is giving out the loans, so they raise prices without fear. Pretty much handing money over to the schools. It's hard for prices to stabilize if the consumers are given infinite buying power.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907639)

And this is another way the middle-class gets fucked -- I've seen it happen again and again. Poor students get help because their parents make less than a magic number of income. Richer kids don't have to worry about money cuz parents rich. But the middle-class students who are college material but unable to secure scholarships are either stuck getting loans or becoming a significant burden on their parents(who aren't doing as well as you'd think, especially in this economy of layoffs).

And yeah, perhaps a student could work a full-time shit-job while putting themselves through school and graduate late and scraping by with rote memorization and a lackluster GPA instead of really learning, burned out, and missing out on what should have been one of the fondest personal and professional experience of their lives.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (4, Insightful)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#41907865)

If you think being poor and getting help is better than being middle-class and having loans, then you have never been poor before.

You also seem to have very little idea about how the financial aid system works. The poorer you are, the more help you get. There's no "magic number" of income below which you get a bunch of grants and above which you get none.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41907887)

And yeah, perhaps a student could work a full-time shit-job while putting themselves through school and graduate late and scraping by with rote memorization and a lackluster GPA instead of really learning, burned out, and missing out on what should have been one of the fondest personal and professional experience of their lives.

Well, I guess you have to decide what's best for you. Four or five years of fun and a pile of debt, or a more stable future which is somewhat less fun and maybe took a bit longer.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

Millennium (2451) | about 2 years ago | (#41907959)

And yeah, perhaps a student could work a full-time shit-job while putting themselves through school... missing out on what should have been one of the fondest personal and professional experience of their lives.

Why should college necessarily be a "fond personal experience"? You're there to learn, are you not?

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (5, Informative)

captbob2002 (411323) | about 2 years ago | (#41907847)

The primary reason tuition keeps going up at the STATE university I work at is that fact that the state cuts its support for higher education every damn budget cycle. Add the ever dropping state subsidy to everything else that keeps going up, like heath care coverage for employees, physical plant maintenance...but is sure ain't going onto the salaries of anyone below vice-president level.

Nope, the availability of supposed " infinite buying power." has little to do with the cost of tuition.

It is a shame that those highly paid administrators outsourced so many core functions so now we are over a barrel when Blackboard, IBM, or Oracle jack their rates through the roof at renewal time.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#41907947)

I would buy that except that tuition has been rising faster than inflation in higher education since the late 60s/early 70s. In addition, most colleges and universities have continued to increase the number of administrative positions relative to the number of students even as budgets get tight.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907407)

Here 'they' stands for those with the money and power both private and public as the case may be.

'They' are going to devalue your education one way or another - this is because they don't want to pay you what you're worth or give you the respect you deserve. They would rather pay 10 of you to sit on your thumbs and push paper to bring 'their' ill concieved ideas to fruition than put you in charge and pay you enough to care. The problem is, there aren't enough of you to do that. Since each of the ten of you they wish to employ would not really be critical, they want to be able to pay the lowly wage to each of you that your producivity warrants in such a situation.

So either 'they' are going to H1B your value away, or 'they' will pay to educate locals. At least with the second way of doing things, your kids don't have to pay as much of their blood and their first born, and you support the local education industry.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41907969)

Your labor will be devalued anyway. There will be plenty of people with your level of education throughout the world. Even if your country implements protectionist measures, it's still easier to export goods from those other countries than from yours and your labor still drops in value.

And there's inflation. I doubt aside from exceptionally skilled or lucky employees that most peoples' wages and benefits will keep up with inflation. That's the usual trick by which such things are done.

This is only going to go back to rising wages in the developed world when that massive pool of labor starts to dry up.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (3, Insightful)

thoth (7907) | about 2 years ago | (#41907517)

I don't support the next generation getting the free ride, particularly for students who are the most likely to have no trouble paying their loans back! This is silly popularism striking again.

The only solution I see that satisfies this belief, is a two-fold change:

1) Gov't backs loans up to different amounts based on the undergrad degree or area of study. Just pulling some numbers out of the air, say you major in liberal arts, max student loan is $40K. major in STEM, max student loan in $60K. major in something that feeds into business/law/medicine, max student loan is $80K. Grad degrees will work similarly.

People will moan and groan, but the bottom line is corporations already set the value of various degrees - it's called the average starting salaries they pay. If students on permanently on-hook for their loans (can't be shed in bankruptcy proceedings, etc.) then the natural response is to limit the loan amount based on the field of study.

2) Universities will also moan and groan, but fundamentally they aren't pricing their products fairly. Not throwing liberal arts under the bus, but every college I've heard of charges the same per credit hour, no matter what the class. Yes there are different fees for private vs public, in-state vs out-of-state, but a 3 credit history class costs the same as a 3 credit science class. Ergo, a natural change, reflecting the actual value on the degree (which is again as stated in #1, what corporations actually pay for holders of those degrees), is to charge different amount for courses. Pulling numbers out of the air again, liberal arts classes will cost $500 per credit hour, stem classes cost $800 per credit hour, whatever it works out to.

As for your attitude towards the next generation - honestly ask if your attitude scales up to serve the entire nation.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (5, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 2 years ago | (#41907829)

A lot of engineering schools have a surcharge for engineering courses to cover higher costs.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

phlinn (819946) | about 2 years ago | (#41908039)

I'd rather see no government loan backing at all. Loans would only end up going to people that banks actually thought would be willing an able to pay back the loan. If the government is involved at all, I'd rather see pure scholarships, under the hope that they end up paying it back by joining a higher income tax bracket. The current bankruptcy law may prevent people from getting medical degress, declaring bankruptcy, and then seeking a job, but I question how much of a problem that would ever actually be.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41907537)

WHAAAA.. WHAAAA I paid a lot so everyone else should WHAAAA.

You should have needed to pay that much, and neither should any generation.
You're argument overlooks all the people who couldn't become engineers and scientist due to cost.
The future will be built on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Everything will be based on that, it's critical for global competition.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#41907907)

Why no party fission? Doesn't each side of the fundamentalism issue think their party would be better off without the other side?

Is it just a matter of each one thinking the other should have to give up the trademark, because they don't want to have to establish their own brand (which is very expensive)?

I wonder if Republicans could be persuaded to back election reform (e.g. approval voting) at their state and local levels, so that elections could support multiple parties. If they would be willing to work toward that, they could split up without feeling like they're giving easy victory to, say, Democrats.

I bet there are some people on the left who would support the same reforms.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907297)

Great idea. Wrong implementation. There are many pitfalls with making science degrees cheaper, like for example what happens when you switch majors?

The best implementation for this is to leave tuition prices alone and reward students who graduate with a degree in a preferred field and who then go on to work in that field with loan forgiveness. So for instance, if you get a CS degree from the University of Central Florida (like I did in '91), every year you work in the CS field you would fill out a form and the government would pay off a certain dollar amount of your student loans, up to a prescribed maximum. Say for instance they pay off $2500 a year in loans for 10 years.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41907497)

like for example what happens when you switch majors?

Good point. I bet everyone will be a science major for their first few semesters of gen ed stuff. Not a freshman to be seen in other majors. Of course, there will also be a lot of people suddenly switching majors after their first 2-3 semesters of cheap tuition...

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#41907745)

So then gen-ed stuff should be at a lower cost... often times it is, and available thru community colleges (or renamed former community colleges).

$300 for ENC1101 at Santa Fe, vs. $600 at UF ...

Hrm...

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907619)

Great idea. Wrong implementation. There are many pitfalls with making science degrees cheaper, like for example what happens when you switch majors?

The best implementation for this is to leave tuition prices alone and reward students who graduate with a degree in a preferred field and who then go on to work in that field with loan forgiveness. So for instance, if you get a CS degree from the University of Central Florida (like I did in '91), every year you work in the CS field you would fill out a form and the government would pay off a certain dollar amount of your student loans, up to a prescribed maximum. Say for instance they pay off $2500 a year in loans for 10 years.

But then, thanks to this implementation, after a few years there are more than enough CS graduates. Our CS degree bearing employee meanwhile got bored with CS and would like to switch to another profession for which he happens to be sufficiently qualified, and which happens to be in need of good people just at that time. So everyone would profit from him changing: He for getting a job he'd enjoy more, the company he'd change to for getting a competent employee, and some of the now-abundant CS majors would get a job. A clear win-win-win situation - except for one thing: Since he'd no longer be working in CS, he'd no longer get the money from the government. Which might keep him in his current job, cancelling all the advantages. And even if the government eventually reacts to the new situation e.g. by continuing payments when switching to that other profession, it takes some time.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

SQL Error (16383) | about 2 years ago | (#41907641)

Great idea. Wrong implementation. There are many pitfalls with making science degrees cheaper, like for example what happens when you switch majors?

After you have a couple of semesters of credits in science and math? Mission accomplished.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#41907741)

I agree that the implementation is poor, but your proposal might not help much either. Imagine a student two years in who discovers he can't hack the chemistry major, but knows he can do well in business administration. If he was taking his loans out counting on the payback, he's stuck and doesn't want to risk changing majors, even though that would be the best outcome for everyone.

I think it's better to do nothing and let the market decide. Few people going into a dance program can realistically expect a six figure gig waiting for them as they leave, so demand naturally won't be attracting profit-driven people into that field. If Disney suddenly needs ten thousand dancers, however, they can pay for them.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41907349)

Also supporting picking winners (or at least winning industries). A foolish consistency is, after all, the hobgoblin of small minds...

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41907385)

I agree. What we should do instead is make college educations affordable for all.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#41907643)

Do you want to lower costs, or do you want your tax dollars going to tuition for interpretive dance majors?

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41907967)

There's radio ads here in California targeted at families making $75K a year or more to help their kids get onto colleges of their choice by... doing something. Not sure what. It almost sounds like PR consulting for kids so they have the right array of trendy things in high school. That actually bothers me more than tuition. With such an emphasis on extracurricular activities many universities seem to be hell bent on filtering out certain personality types when they have no damned business giving a flying fuck what I do with my own time. It's one of the few things that makes me glad *not* to be young and dealing with that bullshit.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41907555)

This isn't pick wining industry, it makes the foundation for ALL industries easier to get into.

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41907463)

Hint: science majors are overwhelmingly white and Asian. It's not a secret why such a man would support this. What have science majors ever done for the African-American community?

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (1)

Dmritard96 (1268918) | about 2 years ago | (#41907545)

Modern medicine?

Re:Just happy to see a Republican supporting scien (4, Informative)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 2 years ago | (#41907593)

Good question!

Well, let's see... what have science majors (ie. science) done for black people? Hmmm... there's medicine (vaccinations, ER, GPs, surgery, pallative, rehabilitative, etc), agriculture (cheaper food, better selection, more nutritious produce), public infrastructure (transport, power, utilities), high tech industry supported by secondary industry supported by service industries, then there's the internet (publically accessible via libraries if not in homes), access to education (via the internet), access to a more diverse job market (via education).

Oh wait, I see now - because science and technology is developed by science majors, that means that nobody but science majors can enjoy the benefits. No... wait... actually, that's complete bullshit. Black people have benefited as much as the rest of us.

Tuition should be lower /period/ (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907199)

I know this is a huge shock, but if you made higher education more reasonably priced, maybe we would have more reasonably priced services in fields where you have to pay 10+ years of schooling.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907295)

I absolutely disagree. The inevitable result of low tuition is lowering the bar, vastly more students who don't take it seriously, and a drastic educational quality reduction for everyone, diluting all degrees.

It's not about funding either - it's about student culture and attitudes. I would only support lower tuition if they failed 60% of students in the first year and didn't give them a chance to come back unless they pay triple.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (4, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41907379)

Oversimplification. You can have low tuition, limited acceptance and high entry requirements, and the quality of new students will rise, because tuition will no longer be the reason why a poor but talented student doesn't take a slot, which then becomes available for a lower quality but wealthier student. Or you can have high tuition, low entry requirements, and the quality of students will rise, because it will be determined by how much they can pay, not by their ability.

Actually, I'm having trouble thinking of a scenario where taking tuition away as an obstacle to getting an education reduces the quality of education. You have some 'splaining to do, Anonymous Coward.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#41907449)

"I absolutely disagree. The inevitable result of low tuition is lowering the bar, vastly more students who don't take it seriously, and a drastic educational quality reduction for everyone, diluting all degrees."

So your hypothesis is students today are far more serious than students from 40 years ago? Well, it's bold, I'll grant you that.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907453)

Is education that bad outside New England?
Students are some of the most motivated people around here.

Education costs way too much, even for engineers the repayment really cancels out those higher wages.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41907823)

Tuition is only part of the picture. There's the cost of four (or more) years of time.

It's all irrelevant, though. People are all just morons, and there is no hope.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (3, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41908019)

I totally disagree with you. In Germany, where I am from, we have no such thing as a tuition fee (beside Bavaria and Lower-Saxony). Politics introduced a symbolic fee of € 1000 a year a couple of years ago. It's only effect was, that poor people did not try to get into university. In the last 5 years almost all states dropped these fees again. The overall time students required to finish their studies did not change over that tuition fee experiment time only the number of students where diminished.

Some studies showed that by collection tuition fees, the number of students doing part-time studies rose and so their overall time to complete doubled. However, these results are not that significant, as part-time studies are a relatively new concept supported by universities.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say. Tuition fees do not have any effect on the seriousness of the way how people take their studies. A tuition free education allows you to select that topic you are interested in, which will most likely result in a high motivated student. While when your decision is, "lets do something where I can definitely pay back my dept" then this may result in a different selection of topics. Topics you are not that good. How will you ever by excellent at it, if it is not the thing you want to do?

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 2 years ago | (#41907737)

Everything should be lower priced! Amirite?

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (5, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41907891)

Tuition should be zero. It works in Germany.

Re:Tuition should be lower /period/ (1)

Bramlet Abercrombie (1435537) | about 2 years ago | (#41908073)

This. ^ No more loans, just run the colleges with tax money. It works everywhere it has been tried.

I googled the Brill... (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41907237)

...and this was the first URL that showed up [dalebrill.com] .

I do not know enough about this, but still found this curious.

Re:I googled the Brill... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907919)

I googled "I fucked your dad in the arse", and all sorts of weird stuff showed up.

Also "google" is not a fucking verb you poncing rabbit rapist.

Grants? Scholarships? (4, Insightful)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41907249)

Changing the cost of tuition is going to lead to some really nasty battles in the school and political systems. Easy solution: make the grants available for STEM students. My out of pocket tuition was zero because I had scholarships and grants and worked hard.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 years ago | (#41907339)

Grants would only apply to state residents. This solution would apply regardless of the home state of the student. Thus this solution can draw in STEM students from other states which is a boon for Florida since if you have the business environment to support those graduates then you can keep them in state rather than losing them to another.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (2)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41907457)

This solution would be totally unfair to people who are studying to be teachers, nurses, social workers, news reporters and a whole host of other essential non-STEM careers. I know the world isn't fair, but if this goes into effect, there will be a shitstorm. You cannot have "selective pricing" of tuition in a public institution for specific fields, especially if it is perceived that they are white-male-dominated fields. Also, what happens if someone changes their major?

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41907587)

"ou cannot have "selective pricing" of tuition in a public institution for specific fields
That already happens. How many STEM course are 4 to 6 credits? how many class in those other fields you list?

STEM is ALREADY more expensive then other fields.
All the other fields you list can be achieved with s STEM based degree.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (1)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41907721)

General tuition for state institutions where I live means that you can take between 12 and 19 hours per semester for the same cost. Over that is an extra $200 or so per hour. Which meant that I took six 3-hour liberal arts courses per semester (18 hours). I could have, however, taken three science courses per semester (with labs) for the same amount of hours (six) or a combination thereof. Single-hour courses (requisite phys ed, volunteer work, etc.) is even covered within general tuition. You only pay "extra" in STEM degrees IF you elect to take more classes than the recommended courseload to graduate early. Maybe it's different in Florida. Also, if you RTFA, which I did AFTER that specific post, it's not just STEM degrees, it's anything that the advisory board decides is an "area which has jobs to provide" so basically, they get to decide. Bet it's their kids/grandkids degree fields that get lowered first.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#41908007)

This solution would be totally unfair to people who are studying to be teachers, nurses, social workers, news reporters and a whole host of other essential non-STEM careers.

That's pretty much the idea. If scientists contribute more to the overall economy than news reporters, then if you produce more scientists, the overall economy will be higher.

Is it fair that only smart people get admitted to public colleges? There are many people who will never be admitted to a public college, because they simply aren't capable of succeeding. I haven't see the resulting storming of the universities by the dropouts who have been excluded.

However, I doubt the governor's approach is the best approach to the problem. The economy doesn't grow because it has 10 more scientists. It grows when they're employed by industries who use their abilities. As it's industry that will grow as a result of getting more scientists, then put the incentives in those industries. Tax breaks for employer-run tuition grant programs would get the horse pulling the cart, and traveling in the right direction.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907707)

Grants would only apply to state residents.

Is there a federal law that a state cannot give a grant to a non-resident studying at that state? (BTW, wouldn't they be residents for the time of study anyway?)

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (1)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41907869)

Establishing residency takes a year in most states. If you have relatives in a state you want to attend school in, you use their address after taking a year off after high school to save money for school/dick off wherever you feel like.

Re:Grants? Scholarships? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 years ago | (#41907885)

If they change residency, then yes they would. However a grant could never apply to a new college student coming from a state which is the most crucial point for getting the talent in the first place.

Engineers are engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907263)

If you trained as a mechanical engineer, and then did a AE masters - you'd have no problem finding any number of alternative things to do.

The problem is of course, math is hard, and kids are brainwashed. Math is actually very easy. Unfortunately you need to work at it. Every day.

The real debate should be about offering cheap standardized exams and agreeing how that can be done to legitimize mass online education techniques. School can be essentially free now. The model needs to change.

Liberal arts were meant for those already elite to learn how to become better rulers for the proles.

Indebted Dance Majors (1)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41907275)

should be glad. Strong STEM education is the foundation for a robust economy, which gives people the extra money to go see their dance performances. Would they rather be debtless and unemployed?

Wrong economics? (2)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 years ago | (#41907291)

Shouldn't schools charge more for degrees that cost more? Science requires expensive labs.

Now if institutions, both public and private, want to subsidize those costs, that would seem to be a more economics-based approach.

Re:Wrong economics? (1)

kevkingofthesea (2668309) | about 2 years ago | (#41907377)

Science requires expensive labs.

.

That's why I paid lab fees. And had to pay to replace anything I broke.

Re:Wrong economics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907435)

Typically science and engineering departments bring in substantial research grants, of which the university takes a fixed percentage cut (up to 50% or so) as overhead. Where I went to school, I had some engineering professors joking about how many faculty positions in the English department they were funding.

Re:Wrong economics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907465)

What I call "wrong economics" is to take only one of cost and benefit (cost, in your case) to measure profit (sorry if the terms I use are not technically correct). The "profit" for the society would be the difference between how much it costs to let a student study (e.g. pay for the required labs), and how much will it benefit the society once graduated (e.g. finding the cure for cancer or producing the next revolutionary technological product).

Re:Wrong economics? (3, Informative)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41907481)

What you are describing is unbridled free market economics, not economics. It's a common misconception that unbridled free market economics is the only kind there is, but this is not actually the case. What is being described in TFA is an incentive-based economic system, where government decides which industries are most likely to need new workers in ten years, and provides incentives for students to learn the skills they need to get jobs in those industries.

I hate to say it, but I think that a better plan would be to continue with the current system, where we don't ask the government to predict the future, and instead let students decide what to do, but make sure that whatever decision they make doesn't lock them into a career, as we currently do, by maximizing their post-college debt. The best thing to do, IOW, is to minimize the cost of making a mistake. If you get a degree in biochem, and later realize that there are far too many people with those degrees, you ought to be able to spend another couple of years in school, building on your first degree, to get a second one that's more useful.

The way it works right now, unless you have substantial financial resources, if you blow it and choose the wrong career track, you wind up waiting tables to pay off your giant student loans.

who says? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907331)

Who says dancers make less money? Mosdancers I come across make lots of money.

Just in small denominations.

Re:who says? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41907683)

Those are all college students, or at least that's what they tell me.

Problem is offshoring and inshoring of US jobs (5, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#41907353)

If you want Americans to study STEM, you need to provide jobs for them. Why get a degree in engineering just to train to your H1B replacement, or to have you job offshored.

Re:Problem is offshoring and inshoring of US jobs (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41907535)

Wish I had a million mod points for you, sir.

Re:Problem is offshoring and inshoring of US jobs (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41907779)

Slashdot: a million mod points for stating the bloody obvious.

Please, stop all anti-H1B nonsense! (4, Insightful)

dejanc (1528235) | about 2 years ago | (#41907603)

If you want Americans to study STEM, you need to provide jobs for them. Why get a degree in engineering just to train to your H1B replacement, or to have you job offshored.

As somebody who was once an H1B (or the way I like to think of myself: a human being making his living), I noticed how recently there is a lot of anti-immigration sentiment on Slashdot. Referring to somebody by their immigration status is just not nice. It seems H1B is the new buzzword here spoken with attitude described for "Okies" in The Grapes of Wrath.

College educated people who come to USA to work really don't deserve that kind of attitude. They go there either because they like America enough or because they can't make decent living elsewhere and both causes are respectable.

I respect that you may think immigrant engineers are lowering your hourly rate and robbing you of the job you were entitled to, but please keep in mind that it's a sign of proper upbringing to value all people equally regardless of where they were born.

You just had your elections and neither one of two major presidential candidates talked in support of labor rights and collective bargaining. If these issues are not important enough for Americans, then it would be nice to refrain from bashing "H1Bs" whenever they get a chance.

It's not about political correctness, it's about politeness and respect of other human beings who want the same thing as you do: to work and be respected for who they are, regardless of where they were born. I wish all slashdotters to never be in a situation where they have to choose between their work being valued appropriately (i.e. working in a foreign country) or not being referred to by their visa code.

P.S. I apologize for using your post for this rant.

Re:Please, stop all anti-H1B nonsense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907765)

but please keep in mind that it's a sign of proper upbringing to value all people equally regardless of where they were born.

Says who? Who determined that's a sign?

Re:Please, stop all anti-H1B nonsense! (2)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about 2 years ago | (#41908025)

College educated people who come to USA to work really don't deserve that kind of attitude. They go there either because they like America enough or because they can't make decent living elsewhere and both causes are respectable.

The former reason is fine, but the latter, not so much. White relocating due to economic necessity is understandable, often people from other cultures do not seem to want to assimiliate to any degree. Note that I do not expect people to give up their heritage, but far too many times you see small enclaves of people who do not deem it necessary to interact with the locals. When in Rome..

I respect that you may think immigrant engineers are lowering your hourly rate and robbing you of the job you were entitled to, but please keep in mind that it's a sign of proper upbringing to value all people equally regardless of where they were born.

Proper upbrining? This sounds suspiciously pommie to me.. hmm... what's "proper"? (Yes, sorry, the pommie comment was in jest).

It's not about political correctness, it's about politeness and respect of other human beings who want the same thing as you do: to work and be respected for who they are, regardless of where they were born.

No, it is about political correctness. I don't have to respect you or ilke you, I have to tolerate you. If you earn my respect then we'll talk.

Don't tell me what I should think; if you try that in mixed company here in the states in person you may get your ass handed to you post-haste.

Now, onto the H1-B thing: I do believe it is used to drive down wages. For this reason, I think a new type of probationary visa that runs for a year should be used, and if the worker (in a LEGITIMATELY understaffed field) performs well, they should be offered citizenship, full stop. They either then accept US citizenship, or leave.

Re:Problem is offshoring and inshoring of US jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907739)

Yeah, Because there are so many career options for humanities majors.

Look at the unemployment rates one year after graduation for students who have an engineering degree vs those who had an English degree.

The numbers don't lie, we do provide jobs for STEM graduates. But Im willing to admit that we may need more jobs for biology degree holders (or fewer biology majors).

Advice to new and current students. If your studying biology, consider a switch to chemistry (or double major). Your career options will improve.

Re:Problem is offshoring and inshoring of US jobs (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41907841)

You might be right about that. However, have you ever considered off-shoring yourself. Yes, I know, in the long run that will not help the US, as you would leave the country, which would cause a brain drain, which results in even worse economics. However, on a personal perspective it still might be a good idea. For example, due to the present crisis in Spain a lot of Spanish people move to Germany, as this is (at the moment and only for the moment) a thriving economy compared to its neighbors. Maybe you have to learn a new language?

Florida economic degree? (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41907371)

Did he just say they were trying to introduce "market dynamics" by artificially tinkering with tuitions?

Re:Florida economic degree? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907835)

Yes, that follows with Rick Scott's idea of market dynamics. He's been a crook since long before he got into politics.

Re:Florida economic degree? (2)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#41907927)

Yes. Perhaps you didn't understand his point that the cost is the same for the liberal arts student as it is for the engineer. The engineer is likely in more demand than the liberal arts student. His argument is that they should pay less because in theory there should be more people going after those degrees. When everyone pays the same tuition some students think "I might as well take all these recreational studies classes, they are a blast!" And don't pursue in demand degrees. While I don't necessarily agree with what he is saying, I think his point is clear. The only influence the market has on majors is anticipated pay upon graduating and getting a job. While that works for some people, it does not work on all. I think this is just going to lower the quality of STEM students, however. Either way, my ears started bleeding when I was listening to the Senator-elect from Massachusetts talk about bailing out all the liberal arts students with more student loans than they can afford. Maybe this way some of those people will take a few classes and learn a little bit of math and economics?

Stupid Idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907381)

Since libs have created at least 2 generations of lazy kids sliding by with useless liberal arts degrees thinking they can make any money. How about a school advisor ACTUALLY advises them STUDY, WORK, TRY, FUCKING TRY to get a useful education and make money.

Once again, the liberal way of life, pay people to do something they should already be doing. Mock those who have actual ideas and ideals for their kids. Sure as hell won't see my kids wanting to paint, or take women studies (save dating). Geesh.

Re:Stupid Idea (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#41907487)

By that logic you are going to find the most well-educated, hardest-working scientists in states that have been dominated by conservatives. I guess that would explain why Alabama is such a scientific powerhouse.

Re:Stupid Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907515)

By that logic you are going to find the most well-educated, hardest-working scientists in states that have been dominated by conservatives. I guess that would explain why Alabama is such a scientific powerhouse.

Whelp now you've done it, out come the statistical cherry pickers for Huntsville.

Re:Stupid Idea (3, Funny)

glueball (232492) | about 2 years ago | (#41907681)

You've never been to Huntsville.

Re:Stupid Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908001)

Not fair, it benefits from a Federal money machine program called NASA. If the NASA labs weren't their then it would be just like the rest of Alabama.

Wrong way to go about it (2)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41907403)

There should be no government funding in education that's how the prices would fall, once every Jim, Tom and Sally can no longer afford going to college for a sociology major, because no bank would give them a loan to go for such a useless degree. All of a sudden without government guaranteed loans there are only people going to college that can afford it and tuitions fall in price.

As tuitions fall in price, people once again can afford college by working summer jobs as they have done for decades before government screwed it up. OTOH the banks could provide credit to people who would qualify without government guarantees. This would mean that the student would have to pay at least a portion of tuition out of pocket (like a mortgage downpayment), would have to show that he is going to be able to repay the loan with interest (by explaining why the major he is taking will allow him to do so) and banks would be interested in knowing about the progress (reassessing whether the investment is still worth it) by looking at grades and such.

The tuitions for all education would fall (especially for all the humanitarian major, because who is going to pay out of pocket or go for a non-government loan to take sociology?)

Remember, people like Carnegie, (who started working at the age of 13 for 1.25 per week and became pretty much the wealthiest human in history of this planet, with an equivalent of over 300 billion USD) huge number of people who made it big and really big didn't have higher education or even secondary education in many cases.

It's not about education anyway, your college degree will not make you Carnegie, that's not how it is done.

You are totally wrong about this (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 2 years ago | (#41907771)

A paper and pencil study, like education, math or sociology costs about € 3000 per year, while engineering and sciences with a lot of lab work go up to € 10000 or more. At least in Germany that is. If you stop having sociology, this would have no effect on the cost of all the other topics available at a university. However, you would not be able to study computer science and sociology together, because there wouldn't be any good sociology teacher left. Thanks god, we (in the upper mentioned country) do not have tuition fees for students, And even though a lot of people studying economics and other arts, we still have only 3% unemployment for academics, while the over all unemployment rate is 6.5%.

Here people select a topic, because they are interested in (beside the economics people, according to recent surveys they decide because they think there is money in it) this results in people who are good at that what they do, as they are motivated. A real good thing would be to add a year before they choose a topic, where they could look into different topics and make a better judgment on picking a topic.

Honestly, I believe if you stop financing the universities through taxes you will loose in the long run. A lesser educated society is definitely not the answer to all the upcoming problems we have.

Re:Wrong way to go about it (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41908071)

Why yes, let's model our economy and education system after that from the gilded age.

Not Quite on the Same Page with Brill (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41907411)

'We're trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,' Brill says.

Really? Well, in high school I took AP Calculus, AP Music Theory and AP Computer Science. My freshman year in college, I took 20-24 credits each semester to continue on the paths to majoring in those fields. In fact, I took two more semesters of music theory. But then came the time when many of my general requirements were completed and I needed to specialize in one of these majors. I loved them all with a passion but realized I didn't have the time or money to do all three. So, being from an below poverty line family, I simply went to each college at the university and asked to see their most recent data on job placement after college. And they actually retain quite a bit of data on this. Computer Science was the clear winner. On top of that, as I looked at the positions, computer science had the most diverse placement in the workforce (another thing I valued at the time).

Could it be that the flooding of the market with computer science majors reduces the pay to nothing by the time I graduate? Sure. But to say there's no information on this sort of erroneous.

'In economics, pricing is all we have to determine and work out supply and demand.

Er, that's not entirely true, I think sometimes supply is governed by capacity and resources. Look at Harley Davidson and Rickenbacker guitars. They have a wait list to buy the damn things yet the companies can only produce so many each year.

So, when the consumer is completely separated from the cost of a product, then the cost rises.'

I think you're confusing "is less productive than" with "costs society more." The former must be left to be our freedom of choice while the latter is a problem that needs to be addressed (as he is trying to do). I can twist this supply versus demand logic around too: Computer Science majors make more than English majors therefore computer science degrees should cost more since they are getting more for the same money than an English major. Price the product based on what it provides the consumer! Ultimately, you're selling credit hours which (aside from lab fees and the like) often cost the university about the same amount of money which they then charge the students.

While this may be an endeavor in the right spirit of producing STEM degrees, it is fruitless and restrictive of your populace's freedom and must be ignored.

Wrong students. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907413)

The problem is that in courses like math and science (and pretty much everything else), the useful graduates are those who are into the stuff. Measures like this are just cranking up the number of people with a degree in math and science, but not the numbers of mathematicians and scientists.

Of course, this is good for employment numbers since employers now need to sift through more chaff until finding actually usable workers.

Aerospace (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907445)

Remember when everyone was supposed to become an aerospace engineer and then the industry collapsed in the early 90s?

No, but I remember being an employed aerospace engineer in the late 90s and seeing all the comp-sci and IT folks desperate for jobs during the dotcom collapse. [captcha = trimming]

Sci Majors Aren't Always Best Sci Employees (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907519)

I agree with this move in general. If we think this will help people get jobs then great... HOWEVER,
The best developer in my department of my fortune 100 company is a Theatre major. I'm a Philosophy Major and have seen several business and science majors let go over the years to similar analyst positions to mine. Obviously it would be a bit of a stretch if I was to try to become a mechanical engineer, but arts degrees are very cognitively taxing and make you fantastic learners of ANYTHING. I've been learning programming for a couple years and am more capable than several comp sci majors I know.
However most managers I've talked to literally laugh at me when I claim that I can do anything technical/mathematical. This mentality needs to change.

Re:Sci Majors Aren't Always Best Sci Employees (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41908005)

Ether you have a point or you aren't skilled enough to tell who is good.

Programming for a couple of years and more skilled then a couple of CSs. That I can believe. But you are obviously picking the air thieves to compare yourself to. The fact your employer has (in 2012) such air thieves on staff speaks volumes.

I've known a few very skilled programmers with no formal computer training. They are not the rule though. CS majors are in general a very mixed bag. Too many in it just for the money. Compare to engineering majors if your employer has any (if they don't, that also speaks volumes).

STEM degrees help poor people have a better life (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 2 years ago | (#41907525)

STEM degrees, as well as law and medical doctorals help people from low-income backgrounds and families have rich and successful lives.

I've seen and worked with many people who came from humble beginnings growing up and putting themselves through college for that engineering degree or medical degree has surely helped them have the rich life they now have.

By rich I don't mean just money, but stability, low stress, etc. - it sure makes life easier.

I'm also one of them. Partially put my self through school with the help of student loans and small pell grants while I worked part-time. My parents didn't make enough to pay for school. Now I'm in a secure job, going back to school to get my masters (paid by employer), live in a decent neighborhood, drive a new car and overall am happy with my accomplishments.

But that's just my 2 cents.

Giving more kids the chance to make it out in the real world by getting a skill-degree is worth trying.

Historically, people pursuing art degrees, obscure sociology degrees and the like usually were from affluent families and were likely to inherent a bustling company left by their parents.

what about cutting the # of filler / required clas (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41907539)

what about cutting the # of filler / required class for all Major's to cut costs???

I think lot's stuff can be slimmed down to 2-3 years. As well added more trades / tech school based planes to the schooling.

IT / Tech can use less classroom time (at least in the up front) part and more apprenticeships and on going classes (not tied down to the college time table)

Re:what about cutting the # of filler / required c (1)

captbob2002 (411323) | about 2 years ago | (#41907973)

You want vocational ed., go to a tech school. You want a college degree, you go to college. Part of having a bachelor's degree is a body of knowledge that you were supposed to have learned regardless of your major...if you were paying attention.

hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#41907543)

I think this would work great if the STEM shortage wasn't a complete myth. Go chat with people with bachelors in STEM subjects as they're putting foam in your latte and get their perspective. Or with STEM post-docs on year 10 of making 30k a year.

don't need more (1)

Wansu (846) | about 2 years ago | (#41907617)

We aren't using the technical people we have. Why subsidize the production of more? It just gives employers more candidates to reject.

Subsidies Raise Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907635)

The problem is that when someone decides to foot part of the bill, the industry will charge more. In this case, the education industry charges what the student will pay plus what the government will pay. As grants and scholarships go up, so does tuition. The same thing happens in the insurance industry. They are for profit industries so they charge what the market will bear.

Lower cost for students in certain disciplines is fine, but be careful how you do it. Sometimes trying to lower costs ends up costing more money for everyone in the long run than if we would have left it alone in the first place.

Corporate Welfare (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 2 years ago | (#41907663)

If Florida employers are demanding these degrees, they can pay more for holders of those degrees. Instead, this proposal allows employers to justify lower pay for holders of those subsidized degrees.

Yet another "free market" proposal from a Tea Party politician.

Economics! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907665)

The economic incentive for a STEM major is STEM jobs. Full stop.

If those jobs aren't being filled, the jobs are paying too low of a rate for the market. This is a straight up manipulation of the labor supply in order to lower prices.

Two reasons this is bad (3, Interesting)

funkylovemonkey (1866246) | about 2 years ago | (#41907719)

First of all, this isn't introducing "market forces," this is government trying to control the market. Government has proven that it is terrible at predicting the direction the market will be going in the future. It's one of the fundamental flaws of communism. Government is simply not nimble enough to respond to market forces that can easily change on a dime. Do you think that the people pushing this bill know that journalism degree holders between the age 22 and 26 have a lower unemployment rate then mechanical engineers in the same age group? It's 7.7% to 8.6%. But a law like this would attempt to steer students away from journalism and into the mechanical engineer profession without any idea of the data because a bill like this is all about encouraging the STEM fields. Whether they need it or not. The second thing is that government and elected officials, who would be making these decisions, are susceptible to "influence" by lobbying groups backed by companies who may not have the best interest of the upcoming student at heart. If you're a company that can convince schools to flood the market with engineers, for instance, then you are able to leverage lower wages for those engineers because their skill set becomes less unique in the marketplace. The net result being an influx of engineers who are more likely to be unemployed and who make less because companies can afford to pay them less.

Re:Two reasons this is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907889)

This is bad because the state cannot possibly afford it.

The education of STEM majors costs more than the education of liberal arts or business majors. When you devise a system that pushes students into those majors, then their educations become increasingly expensive. And because the state subsidizes (i.e., loses money) on each of those STEM students, the entire situation becomes a upward cost spiral. The state will be forced to contribute more and more money to the system each year.

Except.... they won't. They'll force the colleges to make do at their current funding levels (or, worse yet, at lower funding levels). The only possible outcome is that the quality of the education will suffer.

Tuition isn't the problem (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41907899)

There's no point in training people in STEM jobs when as a country we're actively killing the market for STEM in the US. Students from other countries come over here for best in world education, and then leave.

The reason behind all of this is that STEM jobs are outsourced and sent overseas. Worse yet is that companies can get tax breaks for doing so!

Picking winners? (1)

captbob2002 (411323) | about 2 years ago | (#41907917)

Wait, I thought the GOP didn't like it when the government picked winners and losers?

Re:Picking winners? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41908033)

They only hate it when it picks Democratic winners. Their fine making sure Republican's always win. (See Gerrymandering)

bad premise (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 2 years ago | (#41907929)

I see a lot of arguments about the means, but what about the goal? Where did Scott & Brill get the idea that higher education's primary goal is to feed GDP or reduce unemployment? Certainly increasing employment opportunities makes sense, but what happened to the idea that a better educated citizenry has all sorts of benefits beyond increased economic activity?

This is primarily intended to lower the cost of employing STEMs by increasing the supply. But lower salaries will not encourage more students to study STEM fields.

Just the one aerospace industry collapse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41907943)

> Remember when everyone was supposed to become an aerospace engineer and then the industry collapsed in the early 90s?

I read that and my first thought was: oh there's a typo, the collapse happened in the early 70s. But apparently it's collapsed more than once.

Bankruptcy (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 2 years ago | (#41908009)

Allowing student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy is a good first step. The end result will be that the possibility of bankruptcy will mean that loans will be less available for useless degrees and more available for useful ones.

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