Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Free Tuition for Math, Science, and Engineering?

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the sign-me-up dept.

Education 766

Gibbs-Duhem writes "Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus wants free college tuition for US math, science, and engineering majors conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years. From the article: 'The goal, he said in an interview last week, is to better prepare children for school and get more of them into college to make the United States more globally competitive, particularly with countries like China and India. "I think the challenge is fierce, and I think we have a real obligation to go the extra mile and redo things a bit differently, so we leave this place in better shape than we found it," Baucus said.' Do you think this would help with the US's lackluster performance in these fields?"

cancel ×

766 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I think it's good (4, Interesting)

orkysoft (93727) | about 7 years ago | (#20313155)

It allows poor people to get a university degree, which is really expensive in America, and so build a better future for themselves and their children.

Also, it should be good for the country as a whole, having more scientists and engineers. Those extra beakers and hammers are really valuable!

Re:I think it's good (1, Interesting)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#20313199)

I'm not convinced that there are that many jobs available in science (thus not much need for more graduates). Engineering is probably different though.

Re:I think it's good (4, Insightful)

ystar (898731) | about 7 years ago | (#20313241)

I'm not convinced that there are that many jobs available in science
Advances in science and engineering both create jobs. A couple of coots putting together a transistor in Bell Labs apparently spawned off the international industry that pays CmdrTaco's salary.

Re:I think it's good (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 7 years ago | (#20313279)

It allows poor people to get a university degree, which is really expensive in America
Well, you could say the same of the first federal financial aid packages: they helped poor people get a university degree. But then, universities raised their prices, and now it's in a bit of a vicious cycle: universities get more federal aid, universities raise prices, universities build expensive projects generally of marginal use to attract more students (things like sports complexes and other facilities mostly incidental to actual education)...

As such, I'm a little skeptical of the scheme, but without knowing more of the implementation details I'm afraid I can't critique it in depth...

Re:I think it's good (3, Interesting)

orkysoft (93727) | about 7 years ago | (#20313387)

I haven't had time to think it through that well either, and now that you mention it, there is a plan in The Netherlands to make school books free for high school children. My cynical reaction to that is that the school book publishers will raise their prices, and only a few people in the government will notice it while the publishers laugh all the way to the bank.

But then again, I also believe the plan to make people pay per kilometer of car use is a scam at best (some IT company pushing a ridiculously expensive project that will keep them busy for years), an Orwellian system at worst (it involves tracking every car on the road). It can be, and is in fact being, done much simpler by having a tax on gasoline. That automatically punishes the gas guzzlers more than the fuel-efficient cars, as well. I can't understand how the politicians who are pushing this project haven't thought of that as well. I can't remember any of them arguing why more fuel taxes aren't a much cheaper way of metering car use.

Re:I think it's good (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 7 years ago | (#20313475)

I also believe the plan to make people pay per kilometer of car use is a scam at best (some IT company pushing a ridiculously expensive project that will keep them busy for years), an Orwellian system at worst (it involves tracking every car on the road). It can be, and is in fact being, done much simpler by having a tax on gasoline.

Here's an even easier way, at least in how it could be done in the U.S. We periodically have to report the mileage on the car to the state. This is checked during emissions inspections (once every two years), and reported to the state. It doesn't involve tracking us at all. Background: The miles are important as some states charge a property tax on vehicles based on value, and higher mileage vehicles are worth less. It also helps keep people from rolling back the odometer, something that used to be a problem at times.

Re:I think it's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313305)

I am fully for this, so long as the required work period post degree is seven years. It is not as though those taking advantage of these free four-year degree programs won't be earning money those years. They will actually be very far ahead and, so, potentially will the United States (for once in a long while, unless you look at being ahead in things you don't want to be ahead in).

Good, its great! (1)

mevets (322601) | about 7 years ago | (#20313413)

maybe we stretch it to 6 years indebture, and give them a cell phone and a laptop too....

Re:I think it's good (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | about 7 years ago | (#20313477)

It allows poor people to get a university degree

I'm somewhat skeptical. Solving poverty would seem better (or at least increasing the safety-net). You need well-funded primary schools for poor people to get the education they need to continue. This isn't happening in the US (not in poor neighborhoods). And environment is everything. If the parents aren't educated, then the children aren't likely to be educated either. Everybody I knew who excelled at Algebra, etc all came from middle and upper class families who had an education. Free tuition is just reactionary politics. Let's face it you don't learn everything from school... if your parents can't help you and motivate you to figure out those daunting trig problems, then you'd better hope you have above average teachers who are skilled at motivation and at education. Let's face it, this aint happening in the housing projects.

Re:I think it's good (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#20313511)

err, so how the fuck do you propose we start? todays children are tomrrows parents, educate one generation to help break the cycle. Education is HOW you solve poverty for crying out loud. show me one country full of highly educated people that are in poverty. Your stupid ass proposal of just putting up a saftey net results in a welfare state and a downward spiral.

Montana? (-1, Redundant)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 7 years ago | (#20313157)

Montana???? Montana????

Re:Montana? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313239)

I haven't run the numbers myself, but my intuition is that Montana is very high in per capita graduates, especially in the sciences.

Re:Montana? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313243)

Lovely state, mostly.

Re:Montana? (1, Redundant)

uujjj (752925) | about 7 years ago | (#20313267)

2 dem senators and a dem governor (who BTW speaks fluent arabic)

Re:Montana? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 7 years ago | (#20313447)

Mod on crack. This can't be redundant as it
is Informative and had not been posted above.

Re:Montana? (2, Funny)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | about 7 years ago | (#20313281)

I don't see where it says it's limited to residents of Montana. I like Montana - the western portion of it, anyway - but I know what you mean. I don't know why we couldn't have let the Indians keep it. Every time I've driven through it, it seems like we're not using it.

Re:Montana? (2, Informative)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313405)

Every time I've driven through it, it seems like we're not using it.

Well, we've (ab)used parts of it, anyway. [wikipedia.org] I think that "using" the rest more would sort of limit the charm, unfortunately.

-b.

Can it be retroactive? (3, Insightful)

Durandal64 (658649) | about 7 years ago | (#20313159)

As long as it's retroactive for graduates in the past 5 years who now work in the field, fine by me. :)

But seriously, forgiving the debt of recent graduates who are now working in engineering fields will pump a shit-load of money into the economy.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (1)

Tango42 (662363) | about 7 years ago | (#20313229)

As would giving anyone else that amount of money. And raising taxes to pay for it would remove an equal amount from the economy.

Retroactive incentives couldn't work without some form of time travel...

Re:Can it be retroactive? (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313275)

And raising taxes to pay for it would remove an equal amount from the economy.

So don't raise taxes. Cut other programs (like the war in Iraq) that are sucking money to no good end.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | about 7 years ago | (#20313379)

Think about how much the war in Iraq is adding to the economy.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313421)

Think about how much the war in Iraq is adding to the economy.

There are plenty of places with fine economies (Switzerland for one) that maintain a policy of neutrality.

-b.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313439)

By virtue of every citizen being armed to the teeth by law.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313479)

By virtue of every citizen being armed to the teeth by law.

I consider that an advantage, not a problem. Nothing wrong with mandatory military training (geared defensively not offensively) either, IMHO.

Re:Can it be retroactive? (1)

igny (716218) | about 7 years ago | (#20313503)

There are plenty of places with fine economies (Switzerland for one) that maintain a policy of neutrality.

Neutral countries make money on wars too.

Yes, it would work. (0, Troll)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313163)

Look how well it's done with the US Government giving free educations to the Indians and Chinese; imagine if we gave it to Americans!

~Rebecca

Re:Yes, it would work. (4, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | about 7 years ago | (#20313213)

Look how well it's done with the US Government giving free educations to the Indians and Chinese; imagine if we gave it to Americans!
They should teach you English, too.

Aside from that, don't forget that giving free college education to foreigners is great, considering that you get to choose how long you keep them, and where you let them work.
You save twelve years of fundamental education, and with just four, you get an engineer who will work where you want him to work, and for as long as you wish.

The same thing is done by European countries, they import graduates for example from Latin America, give them a free or a cheap Phd, and they get a cheap doctor in whetever they need, for 3 o 4 years of education. Of course, that money comes back in patent royalties, and expensive technology exports even to the same countries that provided the people.

Re:Yes, it would work. (2, Insightful)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313335)

They should teach you English, too.
I apologize that my attempt at a sarcastic first post did not meet your perfecting standards for internet forums. Clearly, I should prepare as though writing for a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Aside from that, don't forget that giving free college education to foreigners is great, considering that you get to choose how long you keep them, and where you let them work.
Actually, I disagree. If we keep them, they take a job from an American. If we send them home, they compete with us from abroad, and make money for India/China instead of for the US. In either case, Americans lose.

You save twelve years of fundamental education, and with just four, you get an engineer who will work where you want him to work, and for as long as you wish.
Since the fundamental education is a sunk cost, why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by stopping there and giving the education to someone who is going to hurt us in either case (see above); instead of giving it to an American, who will also perform the same work, for what is likely a longer period of time?

An Indian or Chinese will often fulfill their obligation, while sending money back to their home country. When completed, they will usually leave on their own, as their US Salary is a King's Fortune there. An American, likely will not be emigrating to India to enjoy the money they've made here. Since you're rather pedantic, let me point out that I said "usually" and "likely" meaning "The number of Indians/Chinese who take their money and run greatly exceeds the number of US students who get free educations here and move to India or China." and not "It will never happen, ever, so a single instance or a small minority percentage is a valid counter-argument."

~Rebecca

Re:Yes, it would work. (0, Troll)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313457)

Before all you mods rush to mod this guy up, and mod me as a troll; take a look at his email address. (.uy)

Let's let Americans decide if it's a good idea for Americans to pay for American Education, or Foreign Education.

Cheers,
~Rebecca

+1 for the parent (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313549)

Although, a case might be made that this is their country too, since they've already sucked away a large chunk of our STEM professional jobs, or work from home overseas.

Re:Yes, it would work. (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#20313231)

Look how well it's done with the US Government giving free educations to the Indians and Chinese; imagine if we gave it to Americans!

What exactly are you referring to?

Re:Yes, it would work. (1)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313415)

What exactly are you referring to?
We spent most of the 80s and 90s giving tremendous amounts of money to Indian and Chinese exchange students (at the high school level) and student visa students (at the college level). None of the students on those visas were paying for their education, nor were their home governments sending them here. We imported them, and paid for the entire cost, including subjects other than just Math, Science, and Engineering. Largely part of political plays to show what nice tolerant people we were, and "increase diversity" in schools.

Now, where have all the jobs been going in the last 10 years?

~Rebecca

Re:Yes, it would work. (1)

shri (17709) | about 7 years ago | (#20313535)

On a conceptual level, you're agreeing that providing cheap / free education works.

So, why not extend that to the US citizens?

At the end of the day, there is a lot more at play than just lowering the cost of education. A fair bit of cultural issues also do come into play. Concepts of family as a unit and obligations to them for one... but discussing that would open up a whole new can of worms.

Re:Yes, it would work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313259)

Non US citizens aren't entitled to federal undergrad grants and they, in fact, pay more due to out of state tuition ( a lot more for community college, and around double or more for state ). Foreign graduate students are selected based upon merit only (they receive grants due to research and accomplishment, irrespective of nationality), and they often end up staying in the US due to their high credentials.

But you go ahead and keep your head in the xenophobic sand, even if foreign students paid a lot more to attend an American university (not even including the relocation cost and the fact their money is worth a lot less in the US).

Re:Yes, it would work. (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | about 7 years ago | (#20313307)

If by "Indians" you mean "Native Americans," I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that it's not a free ride. I wouldn't still be paying off credit card debt, if it were.

Re:Yes, it would work. (1)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313369)

If by "Indians" you mean "Native Americans," I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that it's not a free ride. I wouldn't still be paying off credit card debt, if it were.
It's a good thing then, by "Indians" I mean "Citizens of the Republic of India".

~Rebecca

Re:Yes, it would work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313423)

If she had meant Native Americans I'm sure she would have written 'Injuns' and followed that up with a whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop sound while hopping from foot to foot with two fingers raised over her head.

Great Idea (3, Interesting)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | about 7 years ago | (#20313171)

free college tuition for US math, science, and engineering majors conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years.
Mandatory four-year teaching might cause some problems (flooding the teaching profession with irreverent or apathetic just-want-to-graduate students), but this is a great start to a great idea. As a current student struggling with something akin to $50k yearly tuition, I'd take this deal in a heartbeat. I think four years of teaching is a small price to pay for my own four years of education -- and I'd be giving back what the academic community had given me.

Re:Great Idea (1)

Jack Pallance (998237) | about 7 years ago | (#20313197)

Most Colleges and Universities do well to get a graduation rate of 10%. This plan could be tied to student loans that would be forgiven once the students have graduated and finished their teaching.

Re:Great Idea (2, Informative)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | about 7 years ago | (#20313263)

You aren't required to teach. You can teach or work in the field, for a minimum of 4 years.

Re:Great Idea (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | about 7 years ago | (#20313323)

free college tuition for US math, science, and engineering majors conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years.


I agree with the free tuition for teaching, but for not working. Of course, I take no responsibility for the poor qualiity of uninterested teachers that we will be turning out.

Re:Great Idea (1)

ystar (898731) | about 7 years ago | (#20313361)

Presumably you aren't required to participate, either, and you can pay your own bill. Myself facing ~$43k per year, and considering that I would like to spend some time in TFA or just volunteering, this is just having my cake and eating it too. I know a looooot of students who love science for science's sake, and grew up reading folks like Sagan and watching Bill Nye, so teaching looks fun to a lot of them (even knowing it's one of the toughest jobs out there).

Re:Great Idea (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 7 years ago | (#20313403)

You aren't required to teach. You can teach or work in the field, for a minimum of 4 years.

There are people who slog through 4 years of an Engineering degree and then *don't* work as an Engineer !?

/Why ?

Re:Great Idea (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313525)

There are people who slog through 4 years of an Engineering degree and then *don't* work as an Engineer !?

Hard time finding a job after college, lost interest, wanted to go out and start a business rather than working for a "recognized" engineering firm. Any number of reasons plus one.

-b.

Re:Great Idea (2, Informative)

2ms (232331) | about 7 years ago | (#20313273)

It didn't say mandatory teaching. It said 4 years of mandatory teaching or working in the field.

Clever (2, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | about 7 years ago | (#20313395)

It said 4 years of mandatory teaching or working in the field.
Clever! So you won't get disguised liberal arts majors getting a free education and then going to work at McDonalds.

Re:Great Idea (1)

dwater (72834) | about 7 years ago | (#20313543)

..but does that mean the "math, science, and engineering" field, or the 'education' field (ie could be some IT guy at a university somewhere). ...or perhaps it is more literal, and means doing cow impersonations. That'll help the US - that's just what it needs - more (artificially enhanced) beef.

Teaching requires a second degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313349)

Public or university teaching requires that you either get a Masters in Education or a PhD in your field.
So, teaching right out of undergrad is a non-starter, unless you teach at private schools.

Re:Teaching requires a second degree (2, Informative)

Compholio (770966) | about 7 years ago | (#20313437)

Public or university teaching requires that you either get a Masters in Education or a PhD in your field. So, teaching right out of undergrad is a non-starter, unless you teach at private schools.
In the United States this is not true at the university level (K-12 you need a "teaching certificate"). I go to a public institution and many of the instructors are from industry, and have nothing past a masters and no degree in education (or even a teaching certificate). On the other hand, the physics department won't allow you to teach unless you have a PhD or you have been a teaching assistant for a REALLY long time - but that's just their policy.

Re:Teaching requires a second degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313481)

BS, Community colleges and tech schools are full of bachelors degree instructors with experience in their fields. Some of mine were only a year or two out of college.

Re:Teaching requires a second degree (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313507)

So, teaching right out of undergrad is a non-starter, unless you teach at private schools.

Some states have rules where you can start without a teaching certificate as a probationary teacher and earn one by taking night courses. Besides, laws can be changed -- I'd rather have children taught by a person who's competent in the field he's teaching rather than someone with a bullcrap generic "edumacation" degree.

-b.

This won't happen. (4, Insightful)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313177)

Because anything that makes the least bit of sense never does, in America.

Cynicism aside, this is a much needed proposal for the future of America. We are being left behind in so many markets due to increased global competition, but we are also lagging far behind in quality accessible education (meanwhile, tuition rates continue to rise).

I wish Senator Baucus the best of luck with this. He deserves our support.

Re:This won't happen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313297)

Exactly. This proposal will be quickly killed by some group claiming one or more of the following:

1) Such initiatives aren't needed because "the market" automatically adapts
2) This will cause state spending to be diverted from [insert pet entitlement program here]
3) This program is racist because [insert pet minority here] are [insert pet disadvantage here]

Re:This won't happen. (0, Troll)

Nephilium (684559) | about 7 years ago | (#20313433)

So then...

You'll be paying for the classes for the people?

Oh... wait... you want to use everyone else's money to do it...

If you think it's a good idea, get together with friends and fellow travelers to put together grant programs, and get your hand out of my gods damned pockets!

Nephilium

Silly libertarian (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about 7 years ago | (#20313489)

You won't have to pay a gods damned dime.

A) Redirect all subsidies paid to student loan lenders into the gratis tuition program.
B) Bring our fucking troops home, save $billions of dollars a day, which would then be used to educate instead of Maim and kill.

So ... (1)

Hsensei (1055922) | about 7 years ago | (#20313179)

Does this mean if I move there, can I finish my degree for free?

Re:So ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313353)

Move where? Montana?

Maybe you should look up what a US senator does, because you obviously didn't take US history or politics in high school or college.

Of course it will help (5, Informative)

jcorno (889560) | about 7 years ago | (#20313181)

Cutting tuition will always improve the talent pool, because it removes an arbitrary obstacle. That's why the University of Georgia System has improved so dramatically in the last 10 years. The HOPE Scholarship made college so cheap that anybody can go, so the schools can all be a lot more selective.

More selective != better (1)

erice (13380) | about 7 years ago | (#20313441)

Being more selective doesn't mean the school is any better. It means that the students are better. Bragging about how selective you are is really just an appeal to popularity. "All these smart people must be coming here for a reason. Rather than do my own homework, I will assume that these people have done theres and that it must be a really good school". Crappy reasoning for an institution that is supposed to train people to think.

Free (2, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | about 7 years ago | (#20313185)

"Tuition at no direct expense to the recipient."

Re:Free (3, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | about 7 years ago | (#20313287)

I bet that when you turned 18, your dad presented you with a bill for all the expenses made during your upbringing, and kicked you out of the house in your knickers, too, right?

Helping eachother is the human superpower. Having big teeth and claws is the tiger superpower. You don't see many tigers around these days, do you?

Re:Free (1)

Nephilium (684559) | about 7 years ago | (#20313463)

There is no charity that comes out of the barrel of a gun, only out of people willingly giving money/time/expertise.

Nephilium

Re:Free (1)

paulthomas (685756) | about 7 years ago | (#20313553)

I have no illusion that my upbringing was without cost. I fail to see the relevance of your reply to my clarifying remark on the basic economic truth that TANSTAAFL.

But have they considered (5, Funny)

wamerocity (1106155) | about 7 years ago | (#20313203)

the benefit to society if that extended that to people get business degrees and law degrees? I don't think our country has a large enough per-capita rate of lawyers or salesman, so we could really benefit by offering them free tuition too. Oh and also history majors, because that is a useful major too. :D

Increasing the amount of graduates.. (2, Insightful)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | about 7 years ago | (#20313221)

In a given field, will not increase the amount of jobs in a given field. Actually it probably will, a little bit, as it'll probably be combined with severe reduction in work visas given for those fields. But not enough. Especially not enough for the expected glut of talent that will take advantage of such an offer.

So what you'll end up with is a bunch of people with math, science and engineering degrees asking "Do you want fries with that?", which actually isn't bad. At least they're educated.

Loan Forgiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313245)

Some states (like TN) already do such programs for prospective teachers. They're usually listed under "loan forgiveness" programs.

Who pays? (1)

moracity (925736) | about 7 years ago | (#20313251)

Do we plant the money tree now or later? There is no such thing as free. SOMEONE is paying that tuition, and it sure as hell won't be me. I've got my own kid and retirement to worry about. I didn't get to go to college because my divorced parents wouldn't help and they made too much money combined for me to get any type of assistance. Plus I had no where to live after high school and had to work full time. I tried going on my own later in my 20's, but it was just too difficult to work full time paying bills and go to school. Now I'm in IT and I make as much or more than co-workers with heavy student loan debt. Luckily, I married up - to a woman with a graduate degree, so I can be a stay-at-home dad if the sector tanks again.

Re:Who pays? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313411)

This is the typical attitude in this friggin' country. First comes me, me, me, and me again. Everybody for himself. It's all about who pays what and how much does what cost.

Widen your horizon. Open your eyes. Free or at least affordable quality education is a good long-term investment for everybody. It is an important part of the common good. But as long as you just worry about your own pocket book it will never happen.

Is the plan short-sighted? (1)

saveth (416302) | about 7 years ago | (#20313271)

While I'm sure the senator has good intentions, I don't think this idea is scalable. If Montana has an extra chunk of change to spend on their own education, I'm sure they'll spend it on education, and that's wonderful. But, where is he going to find $25bn to completely fund certain college tuitions?

And, how will this be implemented? Socializing the education system tends to decrease the overall quality of teaching because lower salaries and less grant money cause more people to work in industry rather than in education. So, how does a program like this keep the quality of education high while still providing for the financial needs of students? More to the point, if a student eligible for this program is accepted to, say, Carnegie Mellon and also to some school nobody knows, will the government only be willing to fund the education if the student moves to Podunk because it's cheaper to live and learn there than in Pittsburgh?

ok (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#20313277)

If this went through you'd see a huge surge of unemployed or underemployed engineers. How many engineers have had to move into sales or marketing positions because that's all that's available? What exactly will more engineers do?

Re:ok (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 years ago | (#20313315)

if you'd couple this idea with clamping down on outsourcing and H1 visas that'd do the trick. right now plenty of megacorporations take advantage of the security and safety and market of the U.S. but they aren't paying the bulk of the taxes, the small guy is. time to take the fat cats to school

Re:ok (1)

nahpets77 (866127) | about 7 years ago | (#20313537)

they aren't paying the bulk of the taxes, the small guy is.

Your post reminded me of a PBS Frontline episode called Tax me if you can [pbs.org] , which was quite interesting. As you said, corporations aren't paying their fare share of taxes, and the middle class is left paying the difference.

Re:ok (1)

watomb (920150) | about 7 years ago | (#20313425)

First idiots with MBA make twice as much in 4 years than most engineers. Pay for the average engineer tops out after just 8 years. That's even with a masters degree so maybe that's why they need this plan. Students aren't stuppid why should they waste a career/lifetime for a dead end job. Sure one out of a hundred engineers make it to the big time but the vast majority retire making only 30% more than a new grad. So don't study engineering/CS because your are just cattle for the real players. The real players just hate paying people. You can't ever have enough

As long as I don't have to join the teachers union (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313291)

Otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. The NEA is a big part of the educational problem to begin with.

Not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313293)

There are free eduactions in america. I joined the USMC back in 1995 I got 80,000 for college. So the "poor" like me can get a degree if they truely want one. Oh and dont play that "you can die" card. There are plenty of non-infantry jobs in the US military that are no more risky than underage drinking and driving most college students experince on a monthly basis

Is this retroactive? (1)

Ghoser777 (113623) | about 7 years ago | (#20313299)

I've already got my math degree and have taught for four year... and I've got some loans that need paying off. Does it matter that I live in Illinois, not Montana?

No free lunches (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 7 years ago | (#20313309)

No, it's a bad idea. All this plan would do is suck a bunch of people into those majors who want the free lunch but don't have the motivation to really pursue the subjects. Much like what happens every few years when Computer Science goes from bust to boom and all sorts of people take it because they think they will make a shitload of money in the field. They make lousy IT people and switch careers as soon as the industry cycles back to bust again.

And the 'Free money!' (of course TANSTAAFL) mentality would totally distort the education establishment even more than the transition of Athletics from a sideline into a major cash cow did.

Forgot to propose a better idea (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 7 years ago | (#20313513)

Replying to myself..... When slagging someone else's idea I try to propose a better one and posted before doing so.

If the problem is a lack of labor with certain skills, simply seed more scholarships. Best if done in a industry/government partnership since industry is best positioned to know what sorts of skills they are hankering to hire more of. But if you they ain't willing to pony up a part of the money they aren't REALLY interested in solving the problem they just want a handout from the taxpayer and we already have enough welfare of both the individual and corporate sort.

I'd say totally merit based but if some sort of means test was the price to get the Dems on board I could live with it. Score X on the portion of whatever standardized test everyone agreed on and you get a substantial (but except for very rare cases NOT a full free ride. rare being a very poor person taking a highly desired major at an unexpensive school) part of the first year's college paid. Make B+ or better and get the next year, etc.

Rig things where supply and demand set the size of the scholarship based on industry need (their willingness to kick money toward majors), political goals (government willingness to do likewise), etc.

We already have ways to get 'free money for college' in the general case after all. First off is military service. So the only reason for a new program is to encourage people to take particular majors over others.

If we really need more teachers it would be far cheaper in the long run to simply pay more for teachers of subjects suffering from a shortage and allow the market to sort it out. Because once a big shiny new federal government program starts it NEVER ends, decades after whatever problem it was 'urgently' trying to solve has solved itself on it's own or it has become clear to all rational people that the program isn't helping and in fact actually making the problem worse. Nothing matters, the program continues and gets ever increasing budgets.

How do you define "working in the field" (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313311)

Does starting your own company to invent and design immediately after college count? Who decides what counts and what doesn't. There are only so many teaching jobs -- it would suck to have the rest of engineering grads under the program be indentured to large companies (which will probably be the only ones who are "certified" for this.)

-b.

Consequences of Unemployment (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 7 years ago | (#20313317)

So if you participate in this program and then lose your job, or become disabled, and are unable to work in the field for 4 years, not only do you have the regular problems of unemployment but you also have the sudden obligation to re-pay all that tuition? From the student's point of view, it seems like quite a gamble that the job market will be favorable 4 years down the road.

Re:Consequences of Unemployment (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313367)

So if you participate in this program and then lose your job, or become disabled, and are unable to work in the field for 4 years, not only do you have the regular problems of unemployment but you also have the sudden obligation to re-pay all that tuition?

What about offering "national service" type jobs (not necessarily teaching) to all those who graduate with a good GPA. We have plenty of infrastructure, for example, that needs to be redesigned and repaired. Then again, the unions will probably squeal :)

-b.

I don't think so (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#20313327)

If there is any sort of cap, the "free" tuition will just go to the people who would have paid anyways. If you assume that people who are engineering students are so because they like the field, they are probably the best qualified to be in the field. So if these scholarships are at all merit-based, chances are the same kids would get them. If they are not merit based, then you'll get poorly-qualified people signing up just to take advantage, crowding out the few who are qualified but are too poor.

So either the scholarships need to be available to anyone who meets the simple criteria of graduating and working in the field, or they probably won't have the intended effect of increasing the quantity and maintaining or improving the quality of engineering graduates. They'll just end up being a hand-out to the people who don't need handouts.

Honestly, I think the USA's best bet is brain-drain. We need to tear-down a lot of the post 9/11 every-foreign-student-is-a-potential-terrorist rules, and kill H1B, replacing it with a fast-track to citizen-ship visa (I say go so far as to make citizen-ship a requirement after 3 years on this theoretical visa) so that we attract and then keep all the smart people from the rest of the world.

Free tuition for Political Science (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | about 7 years ago | (#20313331)

In this day and age of Political Correctness, and reactionary populous politics where most Americans get their political education from comedy-based talk shows, I think free tuition in Political Science (and the social sciences in general), will go a long way into educating people about the world around them. Learning, for example, to make better weapons is one thing. Learning how not to use them is another.

Re:Free tuition for Political Science (1)

UserGoogol (623581) | about 7 years ago | (#20313547)

Probably, but that would have to be approached in a different way. With a major in math, science, or engineering the government could just send them off to fuck around at some lab to satisfy their requirement, but who the hell wants to hire a political science major? :)

It "might" help... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 years ago | (#20313341)

However, at least engineering disciplines are already highly paid and have excellent benefits at almost any business. While it may help many new people into the door as the entrance bar is sometimes out of reach to many without the financial means to pay for college, it will not fix the problem that the students entering into the college level have a, how can I put this, "lack of good fundamentals" in these areas, and thus need many classes just to reach the level they should already possess before reaching college. As I said, this will help many people and families who are struggling to financially to go through four years of college. But we are just starting to see some of the problems of the current school systems, and this problem started many years ago, and will take many more years to correct. We are dealing with students how have had potentially 12 years of "pass the problem up", or flat out failure of the system and of the students themselves. It would take years to correct the problems for many of these people, and some may not even be able to be corrected due to other life issues. For the people the system has failed, it fails tremendously, with life affecting results. Simply offering free tuition to Math, Science, and Engineering majors will not help the people who do not know how to deal with fractions, or percentages, when you need them to be able to understand Fourier Transforms and Differential Calculus.

Or not... (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | about 7 years ago | (#20313343)

More likely, what this will do is make more students choose these majors simply for financial reasons. Do we really want students who have absolutely no interest in these fields that would be successful in others:

  • draining from these fields by being merely competent (which they will likely turn out to be)
  • draining from other fields by not being what they otherwise would have been, and
  • draining from the already-broke US government by being a financial burden with little to no benefit?

Now, personally, I'd enjoy this seeing as how I'm a CompE student, but it just doesn't seem to me like it's been thought through very well.

Also, it seems similar to the case a while back where a university wanted to charge students more if they were majoring in Science/Engineering, based on the argument that it cost the university more to teach them. However, IIRC, a major argument against it was that choosing a major shouldn't be influenced by finances, but rather by genuine interest in the subject.

This is already going on.... (1)

dunezone (899268) | about 7 years ago | (#20313347)

My sister received free tuition for agreeing to teach "special education" for five years after college in Illinois. Now her tuition is free but her room and board is not.

like grad school (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 7 years ago | (#20313375)

This is along the lines of graduate school, where science and engineering students recieve more funding (generally).

Who pays in this case? The federal government, through grants. Someone always pays.

Does this lead to more people getting graduate degrees in science? Definitely, although financial reasons are also a big part of many people leaving grad school without the degree they went in for.

Does this lead to more jobs in science? Yeah, kind-of. More federal funding for science grad students encourages Universities to hire more grad student managers (faculty), but this doesn't create nearly as many jobs as it does qualified applicants.

And how is he going to ENFORCE it? (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 years ago | (#20313393)

conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years.

And how will he enforce the rule? By making the non-complying graduates pay back — no other way, really, as there is no slavery here.

Which means, people, who find better jobs than teaching, will just pay off (as they do now) with the losers sticking to become teachers. Could find better use for that money...

Re:And how is he going to ENFORCE it? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#20313459)

And how will he enforce the rule? By making the non-complying graduates pay back -- no other way, really, as there is no slavery here.

And what about people who are genuinely unable to find engineering jobs after college (there are only so many teaching jobs!). I think this would have to be combined with some sort of national service or placement program to make things fair. Otherwise, the burden of paying will fall upon those least able to pay.

-b.

Double it for law = engineering (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 7 years ago | (#20313397)

Any law student that changes major to engineering gets twice the tuition.

Another economic fallacy. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313419)

There seems to be a fallacy that people believe where pumping out more college graduates somehow equals to more jobs being created and also helps create a better economy. This is just not true.

You have countries like Canada and Egypt where the government spends a lot of money on education but have a higher unemployment rate than the U.S.

The notion that pumping more money into a system ( especially when the government is involved) will fix any problem is just bad economics

Here is a paper that argues that what we need is to let the free market work, to get the government out of the education biz and NOT subsidize more college graduates.

The paper is called "The overselling of higher education"

http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/pope_articles/the _overselling_of_higher_education_report.pdf [johnlocke.org]

I suggest all /.'s take a read.

Wont the creationists be happy :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313435)

They have spent soooo much time getting Darwin out of some of the school systems in the .us,

Wont they all be upset at the offer of more tuition in science based subjects. ??

If young minds go through school, learning that the world is flat, and gravity / evolution are unproven theories, the extra tuition will be needed just to get them up to par with China/India students who didnt learn that people and dinosaurs co-existed only several thousand years ago ;).

Students almost pay for themselves (1)

Prien715 (251944) | about 7 years ago | (#20313453)

There's a lot of speculation that this may cause the applicant pool to increase, and schools forced to become more selective. Interestingly though, after the first four years, there's going to be a large pool of teachers able to teach the new freshman (or at least a large pool of TAs for the large lecture hall classes so students can get individualized instruction). Thinking about it this way, the only cost the students accrue (net) to the system is their room and board, plus the time of the professors who teach higher level classes. Granted, the higher level classes are more expensive, but many of them are under-filled anyway as so many students are culled during freshman/sophomore year (at least, in engineering I've noticed).

Legislative Branch, do you know about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313471)

Christ people, he's from Montana, but federal senators don't make individual STATE laws. HE'S A US SENATOR. Stop asking about Montana. It's funny how an article about education comes up, and half of you seem to have failed a required high school course.

Math and Science teachers maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313491)

To take math, science and engineering students from their career path right out of school is a realy dumb idea. For students who go straight to work in their chosen field, it takes many years before their education jells into usable skill sets.
For example, I have an electrical engineer working for me who hsa four years of experience. Based on the quality of his work (which is good for four years out) he will need at least four more years before he has enough experience to function without someone looking over his shoulder. Furthermore, he has already started to forget many of the things he learned in school because he hasn't used them. We can't afford to divert our core math, science and engineering students from the entry level math, science and engineering jobs they need to complete their education.
On the other hand, this idea is a good one if we apply it to math and science teachers.
I have a second cousin who graduated from high school, first in her class. She took physics and calculus in high school. She is going to be a history teacher, not math. She would be a good canidate for this type of educational incentive.

Fees are the killer, not tuition (1)

superid (46543) | about 7 years ago | (#20313495)

I DNRTFA but I can tell you that free tuition isn't necessarily the obstacle. I'm an EE, and tuition at my alma mater is $1,417 per semester. Of course it will help if they waive that but that won't touch the $8,600 in fees (annual).

As I see it (1)

Arceliar (895609) | about 7 years ago | (#20313505)

So, we'll have more very well educated idiots who go on to manage a Denny's?

As long as I'm included in the science majors that get free tuition, I say go for it. I do so enjoy having my grades shot through the roof after professors curve to the mean level of stupidity to prevent nearly the whole class from failing. After all, if too many of the students fail their classes it starts to make the professors' teaching styles (ha!) look bad.

Plus, you know, better to spend money on education than weapons which go missing in the war effort. But given that I'm a student I realize my view is probably quite bias.

Service Academy? (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | about 7 years ago | (#20313517)

That sounds an awful lot like the service academies (West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, etc) which offer a top-notch education for free in return for 6 years as an officer in you respective branch.

red herring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20313533)

Kids aren't forgoing engineering degrees because they're poor. They're avoiding engineering because they know the score:
  • Engineers (geeks in general) are treated like crap
  • Engineering jobs, just like other jobs, are being offshored and outsourced left and right. (And why spend a pile of money on a degree if you can't find a job after college? In 2007 America, a college degree is a bad investment.)
  • Foreign engineers in the US on H1B visas drive down wages

Education is the red herring the globalization crowd trots out when globalization is criticized. After another round of offshoring and outsourcing, the newly-unemployed are told that they "just need some training/a degree/to take some classes".

"Their people will be paid a third, a quarter of what our people are paid. And it's unreasonable to think you can educate our people so well that they can produce four times as much in the United States." [thenation.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>