HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: RIPPING OFF THE KIDS FOR FUN AND PROFIT! (THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN)The cost of a higher education may be the most rapidly escalating component in the cost of living. To cite an example: The tuition fee charged to a full time freshman student at the University of Michigan: Sixty seven years ago in the autumn of 1955 full time in state resident tuition for the University of Michigan was $90.00 per semester. Today, (Autumn 2022) comparable tuition is $8,089 per semester, an increase of 8,888%.
At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index has increased from 26.90 to 296.276 an increase of 1,014%. The cost of a University of Michigan Education has increased by 8.76 times the rate of inflation over the past 67 years–an astounding and totally unconscionable price increase. Had University of Michigan tuition increased only at the rate of inflation, today’s tuition would be $913 per semester, a reasonable fee. Why?
American colleges and universities have perfected the art of determining the maximum amount they can extract from every student and parent. The tool is called the “Financial Aid Form”. The availability of student loans does nothing except to increase the amount that the college or university can extract from each student. In the early days of unregulated and sometimes seemingly unethical business practices some entrepreneurs were at times referred to as “greedy capitalist pigs”.
But even in those early days of rough and tumble enterprise there was hardly a single “greedy capitalist pig” who had a financial statement from every prospective customer indicating all that the customer had, all that his parents had, and all that each could borrow, enabling the “greedy capitalist pig” to charge a different price to each customer based on the customers “ability to pay”.
Our Universities are still using the same method of teaching that was used by European Universities 800 years ago. Students are required to live on or near campus and meet for class in lecture halls that can accommodate a limited number of students. It is time for American Colleges and Universities to come out of the Middle Ages and into the 21st Century. Universities can improve the quality of education by providinglecture tapes licensed from the world’s best instructor in every course. Students can report to testing centers for a mid-term and a finalexamination in each course. Students who pass their examinations and who meet the stipulated course requirements should receive theirdegrees–all without ever needing to set foot on a university campus.
No expensive admission procedures are required. Anyone who pays the $811 per semester tuition fee (inflation adjusted Autumn 1955 tuition) should be admitted. Every student may determine on his or her own if qualified for admission and prove it by passing the examinations. Universities do not need blocks of residence halls, lecture halls, an army of highly paid professors and admissions eligibility determination administrators. Educational quality can be improved and costs dramatically reduced. By learning at home each undergraduate student at the University of Michigan could save each year $15,354 (2020 University of Michigan “Undergraduate Housing 2020-2021" and at a tuition of $1,734 per year (inflation adjusted 1955 tuition) an additional $13,786 in tuition. Total savings $29,140 per year. STUDENTS NEED NOT BE SADDLED WITH A LIFETIME OF UNNECESSARY DEBT!
We propose adding the following provisions to State and US Laws:
1. “No covered educational institution may charge any student any fee greater than the fee it charged in the year 1955 adjusted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics increase in the Consumer Price Index since 1955.”
2. “If the educational institution was not in existence in 1955 it shall charge no tuition or fee greater that the fee it charged in its firstyear of existence adjusted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics increase in the Consumer Price Index since the first year of its existence.”
3. “A covered educational institution is any educational institution that is a public educational institution, that has ever received any public funds or grants, that has been granted tax-exempt status by the United States or by any state or local unit of government or that accepts any student on scholarship or financial aid from the U.S. Government, or any State or Local unit of government.”
4. If you are tired of being ripped off, fire your politicians!