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University Proposes Tuition Based On Major 532

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

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:37AM (#35963574) Journal

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

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

    • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:40AM (#35963624)

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

      • by rapturizer (733607) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:48AM (#35963784)
        I agree as well. As someone who teaches in academia on occasion, the university should reverse their thinking. It should be significantly cheaper to get a degree in a field where their is demand - the STEM degrees - and should cost significantly more for all other degrees. Coffee shops like Starbucks may have fewer History majors to choose from in hiring, but I think they would be able to adapt.
        • by magarity (164372) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:14AM (#35964296)

          I agree as well. As someone who teaches in academia on occasion, the university should reverse their thinking. It should be significantly cheaper to get a degree in a field where their is demand.

          You want to lower prices where "their" is demand? You obviously teach neither economics nor English.

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Education, and the costs there of, should not be operated on a supply and demand curve, especially not one so fine grained as by course of study.

            Besides, one could say that, because of the lack of engineering graduates, there isn't much demand for going into the field, either.

            • by praxis (19962)

              You do realize that graduates are the supply, not the demand?

              • by magarity (164372)

                You do realize that graduates are the supply, not the demand?

                Both parties in market transactions represent supply and demand. In this case, potential employees (graduates) supply skilled labor for which they demand wages. Potential employers demand skilled labor for which they supply wages. Before graduation, students demand education for which they supply tuition. Schools supply education for which they demand tuition. At some point of skills versus wages, certain employers hire certain employees and at some point of tuition certain students attend certain school

        • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:50AM (#35964888)

          It should be significantly cheaper to get a degree in a field where their is demand - the STEM degrees - and should cost significantly more for all other degrees.

          The problem is insufficient competition. Education is not a commodity, even though it probably should be. School name and reputation plays a disproportionately large role in prospective students' selection. Consequently, the competition for supply of education isn't all schools combined, it's just the 1 or 2 schools the student really wants to get into.

          Schools have realized this and started to exploit it for financial gain. Freed from the normal constraints of supply and demand, tuition prices are no longer tracking closely to the cost to provide an education. They're more closely following what students are willing to pay. Increasingly, students are factoring in future potential earnings into what they're willing to pay. If you're going to go into a lucrative field like medicine or law, your future earning potential is much higher so students are willing to rack up $150k in debt to get that education. (I should mention that the easy availability of student loans, as noble as they are in concept, is accelerating this process.)

          So how much students are willing to pay for a major is going to be roughly proportional to how much they can earn after graduating with that major. Graduates with STEM degrees will tend to earn more than liberal arts majors, so they will be willing to pay more for it. The proposal in TFA is just a reflection of this. Simply wishing it were the other way around will not make it so.

          The solution is to artificially make top-level education available at the cost to provide that education, not at what the student is willing to pay. You'll end up having to subsidize it though so you can attract top-level professors away from schools making a lot more money per student. So this becomes a public university. Yes, that's right, a conservative slashdotter advocating public universities. In this case, you're using one market distortion (government funding for a public university) to try to cancel out another market distortion (a school essentially having a monopoly on students wishing to attend it).

          • In this case, you're using one market distortion (government funding for a public university) to try to cancel out another market distortion (a school essentially having a monopoly on students wishing to attend it).

            The conservative solution would be to discontinue the student loan program and, while they are at it, privatize the universities. The university may or may not choose a different price for different majors.

          • by rapturizer (733607) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#35965568)

            The solution is to artificially make top-level education available at the cost to provide that education, not at what the student is willing to pay. You'll end up having to subsidize it though so you can attract top-level professors away from schools making a lot more money per student. So this becomes a public university. Yes, that's right, a conservative slashdotter advocating public universities. In this case, you're using one market distortion (government funding for a public university) to try to cancel out another market distortion (a school essentially having a monopoly on students wishing to attend it).

            You are dead on with this. I teach technical classes (Large GIS Database creation, usage and manipulation) on an adjunct basis. I have watched promising STEM students drop out or postpone their education due to a factor of higher costs and harder classes. They receive the same financial packages as a social science or liberal arts student, but have to pay more and have less time to work part time to support themselves. The original purpose of public universities was education for the public good, as a conservative as well, I see little public good in graduating 50 history majors for every electrical engineer. Yes the engineer will make more out of college, but they will also contribute more to the economy a through their work. The 50 history majors consume public resources for a degree that has little chance of landing them a job. Last time I had lunch with one of my history professors (which was my minor in college as I enjoy it), in an average year there is one history related position for every 2500 graduates - so I question the purpose of a public university wasting resources in such degrees. Should they offer degree minors and classes in areas like history? Yes. Should they spend money on an entire program, probably not. Take where I teach, a university of 16000 students, they have 11 full time history faculty and use 5 adjunct faculty to graduate 50 majors and 7 masters a year. If they were to scale back to a history minor and have enough faculty to cover general education and interdependent majors, they would need 4 full time faculty and a couple of adjunct. The savings could hire 4 STEM faculty (they cost more - 35k for a starting history PhD v. 70k - 80k for a STEM PhD) and would better serve the purpose of a public institution. I have no problem letting the small liberal arts colleges pick up the students that really want to study history as they graduate more than enough to cover what the market needs. This would require a shift in thinking about how public universities are run, but it needs to be looked at. It is my personal belief that societally, making STEM degrees cheaper to obtain is good for all parties involved and represents a solid investment by society.

            • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @01:33PM (#35966298)

              The original purpose of public universities was education for the public good, as a conservative as well, I see little public good in graduating 50 history majors for every electrical engineer. Yes the engineer will make more out of college, but they will also contribute more to the economy a through their work.

              The original purpose of public universities was not to prepare people for the most lucrative jobs available. It was to provide an education to create a broad knowledge of subjects and a well educated populace.

              Those 50 history majors will have a better understanding of where we came from and more understanding of where we will be going. As in "those who don't know history tend to repeat history". That's not a comment about being able to pass the final exam and needing to retake the class, it is a statement pertaining to repeating the mistakes of the past because you don't know they were tried before and failed. Chamberlain tried appeasement to prevent war, and that attempt failed. Those who don't know that, and why it failed, are likely to think about trying it today and a lot of people could die because they didn't know history.

              If you want training for a job, go to a vocational school or community college.

              It is my personal belief that societally, making STEM degrees cheaper to obtain is good for all parties involved and represents a solid investment by society.

              You can, of course, make "STEM" degrees free by simply handing them out to every person who visits the appropriate website. I don't think that this would be a "solid investment" in anything at all. The degree program needs to provide the education first, the paper last, not the other way around. If that education takes more time (five years vs. four) or harder classes (quantum chemistry vs. "efficient use of aquatic resources") then that's what it takes.

              I'm simply flabbergasted by the compaint a previous commenter made about STEM classes being harder and something needed to be done to keep people from dropping out because of it. What an idiotic way of solving the problem of lack of STEM degrees.

              And then this from the GP:

              The solution is to artificially make top-level education available at the cost to provide that education, not at what the student is willing to pay.

              You are overlooking the tiny detail that the cost of a college education is heavily taxpayer subsidized and most, if not all, public universities. The students are already not willing to pay the price being charged in many cases; making the price equal the cost will simply drive more students away. It certainly will not solve the problem of too few STEM students, since the actual cost of STEM educations will be much higher (to pay for lab equipment and facilities) than it is today.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          It does make sense to charge in proportion to how much it costs to teach the classes. Science and engineering labs cost money. Top faculty costs money. That cost should not be shared with other subjects because it masks the actual costs, which you should never do.

          The decision to spend the money to get more science and engineering majors is a political/economic one. If we make a goal to fund strategic majors like math, science and engineering, that should be part of an overall plan and it should be funde

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

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

        • Texas Tech's CS Department already does something similar to this for their graduate students. The difference is that they do it with the type of degree sought(Thesis, Project, Report, Exam) and early registration dates. If you are working on a degree type that has a higher chance of bringing money or prestige(Thesis and to a smaller extent Project) you get to register sooner. Otherwise, you register at the end and may end up taking a year or so longer just because you couldn't get the courses you needed
        • by ebuck (585470)

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

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

          The only way a university can justify charging certain majors more is to punitively charge above the current rate. Call it an Educational Morality Tax, or a "We want to mould the workplace demographics tax". If you think that Universities are not instit

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Universities are businesses....

            When it comes to a private university, sure. Let them do what they want. But a "State" University derives much of its operation from tax dollars collected from the citizens of the states. They exist for the same reason that the public K-12 education system does, for the betterment of society and its individuals. Since a state university is really just the next step beyond High School, but where they make you pay some money to make sure you are serious, I struggle with your comment that they are businesses.

      • by sribe (304414)

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

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

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

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

      Think of the undergraduates!

      • by digsbo (1292334) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:52AM (#35963886)
        Want to fix it? Make student loans subject to bankruptcy laws. That would reduce the number/amount of loans granted, and make colleges price-sensitive. As it is, the lenders have little incentive to consider whether a given loan is likely to pay off (since they either get to collect on it despite bankruptcy or get a federal payoff), so there's no incentive to limit lending to what can reasonably be paid back.
        • Private lenders are being pushed out of the market by the treasury. Making loans subject to bankruptcy won't work because students could just rack up two hundred K in tuition, go bankrupt, and get a job. Colleges are price sensitive but only slightly. There is no incentive to limit lending, yes, because the government effectively allows students to borrow infinite money on student credit. Bankruptcy won't do the trick, though, and there are collective action problems preventing any good colleges from ke

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Good. Private lenders weren't doing shit to begin with. They were underwriting the loan, but then not only did they get to collect money from students, and charge them fees and interest, but they had the whole thing guaranteed by the government. There was no downside for them, and they were essentially printing money. By having the government handle the loans directly, we got rid of a middle man, and now the loans can be cheaper, more efficient, and possibly bring in some revenue.

        • by tsotha (720379)

          When I went to college student loans were subject to bankruptcy laws. And you couldn't get one unless the government guaranteed it. Banks will not lend large amounts of money to people with no assets and no credit history.

          People were treating their loans like free money - they'd borrow as much money as possible with the intention of declaring bankruptcy upon graduation. This was costing the taxpayers too much money, which is why the rules were changed. I knew a guy who stayed in school well into his 30

    • They must have some pretty strict rules to stop people from taking classes outside their major, as well. Otherwise I would go there with the cheapest possible major declared, and then just take the classes that I need for a more expensive major, only to change majors to my REAL intended major at the last second. I think this also implies that tuition costs on even the cheap majors are unlikely to drop, while expensive majors will only rise, otherwise everyone will just take their general requirements classe
    • Sorry but I can flip this coin as well, your willing to penalize those with other majors with higher costs to support science and technical majors? Some of which have very disparate costs. Hell, if you separate out the costs and such you might end up having more people complete college as it would be affordable for those doing "soft" degrees.

      If the cost of an education is a discouragement to these "STEM" degrees then I would suggest investigating other schools who have lower costs or realigning one's desire

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

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by theIsovist (1348209)
      Before damning this idea, let's look at the other side. STEM majors will make much more money during their career than a liberal arts major likely will. That way, spending a little more on an education is a better return on investment. This also allows students (hopefully) to see a direct return on their investment in the quality of their education. If you are expected to pay more for your major, hopefully, this will be reflected in the facilities and instructors offered. On the flip side, it could als
    • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:57AM (#35964000)

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

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

      • by Americano (920576) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:08AM (#35964186)

        It's also worth noting that a copy of "Shakespeare's collected works" and some desks & chairs to sit around discussing Shakespeare in costs a little less than an Electron Microscope, or a fully stocked biology or chemistry lab. If your major requires significantly more expensive tools & materials as part of your studies than a liberal arts program, it's not entirely unreasonable to expect that the course of study would cost more.

        • It's also worth noting that a copy of "Shakespeare's collected works" and some desks & chairs to sit around discussing Shakespeare in costs a little less than an Electron Microscope, or a fully stocked biology or chemistry lab. If your major requires significantly more expensive tools & materials as part of your studies than a liberal arts program, it's not entirely unreasonable to expect that the course of study would cost more.

          So doesn't this mean the English majors are currently subsidizing the engineering majors? Why in that case should English majors continue to pay the same rates even as science departments shore up their cost disparity with tuition increases? Getting more money out of the science majors while leaving all others rates the same would amount to unjustified budget bloat unless they used the funds for across the board improvements or cut the English majors' tuition by at least a fraction of the increase imposed o

    • In general, at any Uni with a large endowment, desirable students have no problem paying for tuition. You can be desirable either because you have talent, or because your parents have money. If you have the talent, and no money, any University will pay your full tuition. It helps if you've discovered a new theorem, or a medical breakthrough.
    • We're a country that's lagging behind on STEM (science, technical, engineering & math) education and experiencing somewhat of a shortage of people from the technical fields to fill jobs in our country because our educational system is a joke.

      Shortage of people to fill jobs?!?

      There is a shortage of jobs to support people!

      Has been for years, likely will be for years.

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

    • by Altus (1034)

      To be fair, if you lowered the cost of getting liberal arts degrees to almost nothing then those people would not need financial aid. Governement Financial aid could be re-distributed to go primarily to those in the more expensive majors.

      Not that this is necessarily the way to go, but it is an option

  • Descrimination... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masterfpt (1435165) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:40AM (#35963628) Journal
    The most unfortunate thing is that poorer people will start to study, not what they are good at/like, but what they can afford...
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      I don't think "poor" includes a university education. You're thinking about lower middle class who consider themselves poor, but aren't. Real poor people are usually working instead of going to high school.
  • Such a great idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Random2 (1412773)

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

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

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

      • by geekoid (135745)

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

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

    • Hey, to study scientific fields, you need labs and facilities costing tens of millions of dollars, upgraded every few years. At my school (UC Santa Cruz, Literature major) we read 300 year old books outside when the professor thought the day was nice enough. Why should I pay the same $40,000 to subsidize the hugely expensive and resource-intensive programs for engineers who are gonna make ten times what I make in my life? I doubt anyone is going to switch from one of the harder majors to a 'soft' liberal ar

      • Re:Such a great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pla (258480) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:38AM (#35964698) Journal
        Because, while you sit out on the quad exposing valuable and fragile organic matter to sunlight and moisture and engaging in mental masturbation over the use of dwarves in Spencer...

        The "much more expensive" engineering students work their butts off in labs developing school-owned IP that the school can then license. The engineering grad students spend their weekends searching and applying for sweet grants, half of which goes straight into the school coffers. The engineering students will then go on to someday develop your next car, airplane, refrigerator, television, while you in 20 years will simply join your students on the quad for the sole purpose of perpetuating a useless major.

        You cost less on the short term, but both to the school and to society, you net out to a loss; The engineers cost more on the short term, but actually make the school money, and improve our world (DOD contractors notwithstanding) with their careers.

        Don't get me wrong, I very much value a solid liberal arts background for everyone, especially engineers; But if you don't take those underpinnings and apply them to a real set of useful skills... Why bother?
        • Re:Such a great idea (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lurks (526137) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @05:46PM (#35969954) Homepage

          The engineering students will then go on to someday develop your next car, airplane, refrigerator, television, while you in 20 years will simply join your students on the quad for the sole purpose of perpetuating a useless major.

          The observer bias regarding areas of education here on Slashdot is really something to behold. In general I've seen 'liberal arts' described as the study of comparative literature, shake spear, latin etc. Generally liberal arts are 'soft', do not lead to jobs, never invent anything or bring in university research. This is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter horseshit.

          We shall for a moment accept the Slashdot definition of liberal arts as not including things like math and science (more accurately in academia it just means 'not vocational'), so if we just look at a 'school of arts' we have fields such as the study of all languages and linguistics (my areas), politics and international studies, criminology, design, economics, psychology, environmental and developmental studies, journalism, sociology just off the top of my head.

          The amount of people studying the sorts of things which incense slashdotters so much, the Latin majors etc, is actually pretty low. Vitally, arts-type degree holders often go into jobs in the workforce which are not directly related to their degree. The idea that this made their degree useless is, well, quite depressing really. The fact is, these graduates didn't get a job in spite of their liberal arts degree, they very often get jobs because of it.

          Yet there's also a very great deal of direct interest in a number of the arts fields. You may not believe it but every academic conference I go to, companies queue up to entice us to internships and employment. At a recent conference in my area, I was struck by the number of tech companies (I specifically recall Google and eBay) that had open ended invites for internships for anyone involved in the discipline, lamenting the fact there weren't more students in the field.

          My field within 'arts' is extremely rich in research, practical applications, and yes, vocational opportunities. Yes, things you use on your web sites, on your phone, in your car. I was specifically drawn to it because it was apparent just how much further we had to go and how I might make a real difference. Believe it or not, modern technology doesn't just have 'science' bits under the hood, they have things that human beings control and that's where we come in.

          It may bend your head to discover that a good number of people within 'liberal arts' also consider themselves scientists and very often work on issues imminently more practical than majors in mathematics. Yet despite that, you will generally not find people within the arts that are derisive about the studying the hard sciences.

          Perhaps if more of you had a wider human-focused education then you would see that science does not live in a vacuum and university education does not have to be exclusively focused on the skills you need for your first job.

          (The ex electronics engineer that went back to university to study 'liberal arts')

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        You forget to mention that many of those labs and facilities are also instrumental in bringing in research monies. How much research and grant money does the Literature department bring in each year?

    • They do charge fat people more to ride airplanes, not so much because they use more fuel, but because they take two seats. If you can't squeeze into a regular airplane seat you either have to pay for two, or pay more to ride on a type of plane that has bigger seats.
  • samzenpus win (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cosm (1072588)

    Liberal Arts majors would presumably get their education for free.

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

    • by cosm (1072588)
      But perhaps those English majors can help me spell my adjectives correctly.
  • Engineering is still better than Liberal Arts for finding good jobs so this isn't really a horrible idea. You get what you pay for.

  • by eepok (545733) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:46AM (#35963748) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by TheSeventh (824276) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:50AM (#35963850)
    When I was an undergrad studying computer science at the University of Michigan, they wanted me to pay the higher engineering tuition level, even though my CS degree was in the college of Literature, Science, and Arts.

    Therefore, I didn't declare my major until halfway through my second-to-last semester. Why pay the higher level tuition for all the LS&A courses they required me to take as well? Engineering level tuition for French, Creative Writing, and my Race & Ethnicity Requirement? I don't think so.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

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

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

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

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

    • by NoSig (1919688) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:19AM (#35964382)
      Why are you attending a school that charges you to teach you a compulsory Race and Ethnicity class (which is bound to be 100% bullshit) when you came there for CS? It's like a car shop that requires you to buy theater tickets and sit through the performance when you come there to get you car fixed.
      • by berwiki (989827) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:49AM (#35964870)
        Because he went to a University, where education is supposed to make you well-rounded.

        If everyone wanted to hyper-specialize, I.T.T. Tech would be a lot more popular.

        Some of us enjoyed our electives and are happy we took them.
        • by melstav (174456) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @12:24PM (#35965384)

          Some of us enjoyed our electives and are happy we took them.

          An "Elective" is, by definition, not "Compulsory".

          "You must take N credits worth of courses from X department/dicipline" qualifies as "Elective". You can pick and choose which specific courses you take.

          "You must take the 'Race and Ethnicity' course" leaves you with no choice in the matter.

          • I had a few choices for my "race and ethnity" core requirement at my university - and actually got a 1-2 combo punch by taking "Bible in the Black Church" and getting my multi-cultural core requirement knocked out at the same time as my religion/philosophy core requirement. That said, it was one of the most difficult classes I ever took in my life, with tons of reading, writing, and memorization. I spent three hours in the library every day for that class alone. Compared to that, some of my STEM core cla
  • by riley (36484) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:51AM (#35963856)

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

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

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

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:52AM (#35963878) Journal
    You'd be amazed what a great background a technical writing degree is for IT. If it's got an instruction manual, I can run it. If it doesn't have an instruction manual and I figure out how to run it, I can write an instruction manual for others to use it. This is a valuable skill and I've become a vital part of my office because it's not something the rest of the techies know how to do, let alone enjoy.
  • They're already doing it.

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

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

    Your first two years as Engineering student will cost you about $100/$400 (out-of-state/in-state) more per semester versus general undergraduate. Those numbers shoot up to $1000/$1500 more your second two years (when courses are typically more lab intensive).
  • It's been my experience that those who go into the scientific majors are far more interested in the course subjects, whereas those going for the "catch all" degrees of Liberal Arts and Management are just in it for a degree so they can place better in the job market.

    As such, it would seem that there would be an inverse tuition based on this: Show the university that you *really* want that boring degree by paying more for it. Hopefully this would get more people interested in a scientific degree, which they

  • I decide to major in the lowest tuition cost field but decide to take a whole bunch of STEM class, along with those required by my major, as electives? Will schools then ghettoize majors, saying you can't take so much of the higher cost classes, or charge for them? Why not make all majors free, in exchange for a fixed percentage of you roost graduation income for a set number of years?
  • It's the same mentality as progressive taxation schemes, and with much the same result likely. You get less of what you penalize, and more of what you subsidize.
  • Why shouldn't they? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721)
    A university exists to make money for itself. (I know they are not-for-profit, but that's just a tax thing.) If it can charge more for one product than another, guess what? It doesn't exist to provide for the greater economic beniefit of society (or even to educate society, really). If you want for universities to exist for society, they should all be government run, and presumably free for every one. That would have the most positive impact on our society and economy.
  • Have the english/liberal arts majors thought this through? They're proposing a situation where the science and engineering majors are where most of the revenue come from and their majors are cost centers. What do you think is going to start happening in the budgetting process?

    "Yes, I realize the English building is about to collapse, but the Computer Science Department wants to buy another computer lab, and frankly we can't afford the hit to our revenue stream that would come from delaying that further.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke

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