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Friday, January 27, 2012

Obama To Colleges: Control Tuition Costs Or Risk Federal Money

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Michigan's Al Glick Field House, Friday. (AP)

President Obama issued a warning to colleges in Tuesday’s State of the Union address: “Let me put colleges and universities on notice,” he said. “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

President Obama expanded on his plan Friday by outlining a proposal that for the first time would tie college tuition increases to federal aid. It makes some people in higher education nervous, wondering if this is the beginning of government is price control.


  • Tamar Lewin, education reporter for the New York Times

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  • Margaret DelBianco

    What is the total amount of U.S. dollars given to international students for stipends and tuition waivers (master’s and Phd? 

  • Anonymous

    One of the driving forces for rising tuition is the ever rising ratio of administrators and administrative support personnel to actual teaching personnel. The number one reason for the rising administration overhead is federal requirements re “affirmative action”, “womens’ rights”, etc. He-who-must-not-be-named’s program would just exacerbate the problem.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N

    I’m not sure if we’re quite to the point of “no employer” looking at you if you don’t have a college degree, as the guest stated in the online course segment, but clearly in this economy it has become increasingly important to retaining a middle class job. So yes, our educational tax dollars need to be spent more efficiently. Federal funds seem like easy money for the education industry, something they’re apparently free to spend on extra-fancy facilities and administrative costs/generous compensation packages. If they don’t already, the least they could do is effectively audit the spending of federal funds, and require that in most cases no more than 10 or 15% go toward overhead.

  • H Barzilai

    Robert, you may want to see my extended comment for ” Online Courses Threaten University Model”
    http://bit.ly/ywTdVj for some reasons for the “extra-fancy facilities” and other examples.

    As I said there, I teach at university and don’t always see eye to eye with administrators but at least from my own experience (and I’ve been faculty and before that, a graduate student, at a number of universities) overall, there are a few over-paid administrators but overall they do their best within the confines of what their funding is, especially state schools where our country has slashed funding for many years, and more sharply, slashed even more since the Great Recession. As I noted there, our country finds literally hundreds of billions of dollars for bank bailouts and for wars that actually make us less safe (and get our young men and women killed and kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians) but next to those hundreds of billions our country finds, why can’t we “find” 10 billion to minimize or prevent the state cuts, if only the federal government helped states more, or wasn’t blocked by some politicians from doing more to help the states.

    It could have been worse, the number of firefighters, police, and public teachers laid off is less than it would have been without the stimulus…but still slashing of services there and cuts for higher education, which leads directly to higher tuition, all because we can find big bucks for military and wall street but can’t find a few dimes for those basic public services..

    As the guest pointed out, they are playing a dangerous game: universities who have suffered the worst states cuts and who had the least ability to avoid tuition hikes, are now doing to be double-punished by having the federal government cuts them again? That makes absolutely no sense at all. Restore the massive cuts over the past 5 years, and since before that, and then yes, have robust, rigorous reporting and oversight of how those funds are spent. If you find a university top administrator spent it on getting a Rolls Royce, by all means bust them..but that is rarely the problem.

    Let’s just hope politicians don’t make a massive mess by trying to “fix”
    and “improve” higher education the way they tried to “fix” and
    “improve” k12 with No Child Left Behind, which has had a few positive
    goals along with a huge number of very disturbing aspects that are also
    rarely reported, and which has been overall a  disaster for the public
    schools at the k12 level…

    But back to higher ed…Other than on going cuts (which have frozen and cut salaries of staff and faculty for years now) what other issues are are seldom reported come into play? See my comment at the other NPR page at the link above…

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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