Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama's Calculus

Let me get this straight.

For decades Kentucky students have had ample access to affordable higher education options in the state. Cheap even. The need for a higher percentage of adults with advanced degrees has increased. But in response, the Kentucky legislature has steadily withdrawn its support from higher education forcing colleges to choose between lowering quality or raising tuition. So colleges chose to raise tuition. And the ever-increasing burden of college expense was transferred to our students - those we need to help us out of America's economic hole.

Now President Obama has decided that the way to fix things is to remove funds from colleges that raise tuition to offset state budget cuts.

My problem is that I can't think of a time that cutting our way toward excellence has ever worked.

This from Education Week:

Obama College-Cost Plan Aims to Go Beyond Access
President Barack Obama's aggressive basket of proposals aimed at helping college students get maximum value in the face of soaring tuition costs signals an economy-conscious shift in the administration's approach to higher education policy.

The Obama administration had focused mainly on access for those moving beyond the K-12 system—ensuring that students can cover the cost of college as more careers demand a postsecondary education. But the administration is now pushing a set of proposals that would steer a greater share of federal money to states—and institutions—that are able to graduate students and prepare them for the workforce.

For the administration, "quality has been assumed" up to now, said Kevin Carey, the policy director for Education Sector, a think tank in Washington. The latest proposals "mark a shift in federal policymaking," he said. "It sends a signal about the Obama administration's larger stance on the traditional education sector. ... They can't just keep jacking up tuition." ...

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