A task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott has an idea that the state will be putting to a vote soon: Giving a tuition discount to students majoring in STEM fields. Part of a college overhaul in the state, the law would freeze tuition for "high-demand" majors (engineering, physics, and similar fields), while letting poetry majors' cut sail away like so many diplomas in the wind. The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann has some good thoughts on why this might be a bad idea. They're practical ones, too, for the folks who don't have a bleeding heart for aspiring sculptors. [The Atlantic]
What I don't understand is why college tuition's have gone up so much, so quickly. Costs are not up just what they charge students. Funny that!
The real difficulty is in monitoring such a system - say I change majors from science to drama after my two primary core years are up, do I now owe back-tuition?
If it is a price per course policy, science electives will be packed and watered down by people trying to get their hours on the cheap. Furthermore, sci majors have no reason to expand on other interests - all sci classes, all the time.
You would do better to leave college as it is and highly discount advanced degrees in those fields you wish to promote.
Charging more for poetry, art, or drama won't work anyways - they are so seldom employed that the higher cost in loans not being paid back will cause even your science majors to have to pay more over time.
I agree with Oak that monitoring is a serious problem with this system.
Personally, rather than change tuition, if the private sector were doing student loans and there was no government involvement, I think we'd end up with a similar overall solution, but one which would monitor itself in many ways.
So let's say the government gets out of student loans, so you go to a student loan vendor, and sign up. If you're going to be a mechanical engineering major completing school in 4 years with an anticipated starting income of $70,000 a year, your offered interest rate might be 2%. If you're a poetry major completing school in 6 years with an anticipated income of $35,000 a year, your offered interest rate might be 14%.
Oddly enough, I can see a situation where students that had to pay higher tuitions simply went to another school... robbing the state of tuition money that they needed to offset the reduced fees charged to the STEM curriculum students. How exactly would they make up the difference, if not by raising taxes and/or cutting other programs/curriculums? I can see something like this spiraling out of control, causing a partial collapse of the very educational system that they're trying to overhaul.
I have lived in Florida all my life... Keep in mind that this is the same person who ran his election campaign on creating jobs in Florida, then in his first week as Governor, he single-handedly killed the high speed rail plans between Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Effectively ridding the state of 28,000 + jobs for a project that was already voted on and funded by the people. This is also the same person that was almost convicted of being criminally irresponsible during his tenure as CEO of a health care organization. So take his "plans" with a grain of salt, this has been a recurring theme for his time in office, unfortunately.
I could not have said it better . . . . I wonder if this has anything to do with off-setting his plans to declare war on teachers . . . (a little bit of good, and a whole lot of bad)
For state universities subsidized by taxpayers, this sounds like a great idea. Our country needs more engineers and scientists, and we don't need more liberal arts majors. This would be an especially profitable thing for the state of Florida if these science and engineering grads continued to work in the state after graduation. These types of jobs pay large salaries, have high demand, and bring in lots of income to the state. Unlike the jobs for social science or liberal arts majors.
Oh this opens a whole big can of whoop-ass if you imply science study is more important than say Art History, Women Studies, or Gender Studies.
Good luck with the protests!