July 14, 2011

OK, I've got to say something - school is expensive. Considering that tuition, room and board at Carthage is pushing $40K its something I'm concerned with every day. Now while Carthage provides generous financial aid (believe me, there aren't enough fast swimmers with parents rich enough to write a check $40K to be as good as we are), I have to say that what's happening to students at state schools is crappy - really crappy.

Yesterday the UW board of regents approved a 5.5% tuition hike for at least the fifth year in a row. When you compound that rate - the cost goes by almost 25% over four years (or 30% over five years). I get that prices go up. While but what stinks is that Wisconsin is cutting $250 million from the budget and that is going to impact not just the pocketbooks of students and their parents, but also their experience.

Budget cuts mean it will be tougher to graduate on time. Fewer courses + bigger class sizes will make it tough to graduate "on time." I won't say which schools, but there are schools that we recruit against where the four-year graduation rate is less than 25%. (By way of comparison, 95% of our graduates finish in our years OR LESS).

And if you think that's bad, Illinois is even worse. One school we used to recruit against has a SIX-YEAR graduation rate of 48%. I say used to recruit against because this school (this time I will name names - Northern Illinois) cut their swim team due to - you guessed it - budget cuts.

I know we compete against these schools, but man when this type of thing happens it p&@#es me off.

Listen to this quote from a UW-Madsion education policy professor Sara Goldrick-Rab that was just on WUWM:
She poses a larger question. Why should students pay higher tuition when the two biggest UW schools are becoming less and less student-centered?

“I really feel for our undergrads. We use them to generate revenue for the institution, and then we spend most of our time doing research,” Goldrick-Rab says. Goldrick-Rab uses herself as an example. She’s a full-time professor making $70,000 a year and last year, taught a grand total of 12 students.

“I brought in $1.5 million in research money last year, but I taught 12 students. And it’s in my best interest to just let that be.” Goldrick-Rab says.



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