Economy Down, Tuition Up

from clarissa~s flickr

from clarissa~'s flickr

The NY Times reports that the economic downturn will probably prompt universities to raise tuition further on account of deteriorating endowments (looking at you NYU).

There needs to be an investment in higher education in the US that focuses on students.  Relying on endowments and tuition rather than government support to sustain universities means that schools pit the the students they serve against the health of the educational institution.  If schools could draw on steady governmental support, they could avoid forcing their students into ever higher financial sacrafices – a problem that becomes particularly pointed during an economic depression/recession like the one we’re entering now.

Asking students to pay more during a downturn assumes that universities are valuable independent of their students, when in fact the financial and intellectual wellbeing of students should be the only measure of a university’s value.  Higher tuition forces students into debt, and railroads them into acquiescing to the economic/political status quo for the sake of higher paying jobs.   I’d like to see a national education policy that focuses on eliminating student debt as an inherent bad, and prevents universities from pitting universities against students.

In the short term, NYU should disclose the budget.  Seriously.

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