The Nov. 11 Metro article “Struggling Economy Puts Colleges in a Tight Spot” highlighted some of what local colleges are doing to weather the economic storm. Largely missing from the discussion—here and nationally—are ways to control costs. Historically, lower state funding has led to tuition hikes. But after decades of tuition increases, parents and taxpayers need to say, “Enough!”
On average, poor families spend 25 percent of their annual incomes on college education, double what they spent in 1980. Meanwhile, student debt is rising sharply. And as tuition rises, taxpayers are expected to foot the bill for increased financial aid.
Rather than accepting this trend, university governing boards can use the current crunch as an opportunity to cut costs for students, and for taxpayers, by shutting down programs that fail to meet students’ educational needs, reducing administrative spending and improving the woefully low four-year graduation rate. Americans are tightening their belts; it’s time higher education did, too.
Anne D. Neal
American Council of Trustees and Alumni