Why Education Should Be Cheaper But Our Government Does Nothing!

It seems that despite costs of secondary education rising faster than inflation, our government seems to take a hands off approach offing critical of colleges. Many of the requirements of a bachelors degree has not changed in the last 50 years. The antiquated requirements have caused increased costs without increased benefits of the degree. I will list the requirement of one college University of Wisconsin Superior Campus.

Bachelor’s Degree
A. Overall requirements (Note that credits are semester credits.)

1. 120 or more total undergraduate credits, i.e. in courses numbered 100-499.

2. 36 or more undergraduate credits in upper-division courses, i.e. courses numbered 300-499.

3. A resident grade point average of 2.0 or above for all undergraduate credits.

4. 30 or more undergraduate credits earned at UW-Superior.

5. The last 12 undergraduate credits earned at UW-Superior.

B. Completion of the General Education requirements (See the General Education section of the catalog.)

1. Core courses.

2. Non-Western and diversity requirement.

3. Knowledge categories.

4. Corequisites.

C. Completion of the requirements for major, minor, and/or comprehensive major programs in different disciplines (See the Academic Programs section of the catalog.)

1. At least one major and one minor in a different discipline; two majors in different disciplines; or a comprehensive major.

a. A major is 30 or more credits, half or more of which are in upper division courses.

b. A minor is 21 or more credits, one third or more of which are in upper division courses.

c. A comprehensive major is 51 or more credits, 22 or more of which are in upper division courses.

2. A resident grade point average of 2.0 or above in the courses satisfying the requirements for each major, minor, or comprehensive major. (i.e. a separate grade point average for each program.) A student cannot graduate while on academic suspension.

3. Distinct credits in major, minor, and comprehensive major programs, (i.e. credits counted only once.)

a. 51 or more total distinct credits.

b. 22 or more distinct upper-division credits.

c. In the event that one or more courses satisfy requirements in more than one major and/or minor program, additional credits will be required in one or more of the programs up to the total credits and/or the total upper-division credits required for the programs.

d. The major and minor programs should be in different disciplines, i.e. half or more of the credits and/or upper division credits applied to one program should be distinct from those for another. Additional credits in one or more of the programs may be permitted to satisfy the distinction.

Note: Items c and d above do not apply to comprehensive major programs.

D. Variations from these requirements.

1. Individual programs, departments or certification groups may have additional or higher requirements.

2. A petition process for variations from these or other requirements and policies is published in this catalog.

While I understand the need for some sort of standard for a degree, I do take issue with some of the required courses. Why is this one of the requirements: “Non-Western and diversity requirement” I thought that a person goes to college to get a degree towards a career, not to be taught how to get along with others and hear how wonderful all the other countries are compared to the United States.

Another thing driving up the cost of a college degree is the cost of text books. Come on colleges in this age of electronic media you couldn’t include these textbooks as ebooks making the costs minimal or even free. That huge roar of HELL NO comes from the professors who write these text books, often while on paid sabbatical from the college, who only can get any money from them by having them being a required book for a course.

Now lets get to my favorite subject, the professors themselves. I am not sure of what other job person can get where you can never be fired. Tenure was intended to be a reward to the professors for entering what was a low paying position years ago. Now you have these positions being very highly paid, some have housing included along with health insurance, retirement, disability insurance, paid vacations and more. This is far superior to what the private sector does and is one of the reasons costs are so high. Because they have seem to have the governments blessing they do nothing to contain or cut costs. In an age where every other day there are stories of the skyrocketing healthcare costs and how insurance companies are making obscene profits, the cost of education quietly increases and increases. What I feel does the most disservice to our country is the little time the professors are required to spend teaching. A study done in the State of Wisconsin University System showed the professors taught an average of 1.8 classes per semester. This causes a number of problems, the first of which the price per class skyrockets. Most professors earn over $100,000.00 per year and with only teaching 4 classes a year it costs the university $25,000 per class plus benefits. Adding just 2 more classes per semester would cut the class cost in half and would double the opportunities for the students to get the classes they need. If students could easily get their degree in 4 years instead of 5 years they would cut their costs by 20%.

Earlier I briefly mentioned ebooks and technology, the reduced costs of an ebook is attributed to a number of things including ease of delivery, lack of the need of a brick and mortar building and a lessor labor cost. The universities who offer classes remotely are not reflecting the reduced costs when they price these classes. They state that the classes are being offered remotely as convenience to the student, but with out the need for a classroom and the ability to increase the class size these courses should be offered cheaper than traditional classes. By charging the same as traditional classes they are insuring the gravy train they have created. If these colleges were really concerned about educating their students in the most cost efficient manor they would adapt some of these changes and become leaders in education. Sadly it seems all they wish to do is preserve the ivory towers.

I am Chuck PIthy and I tell it like it is!

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