With the way the economy has been, there have been a lot of cutbacks in almost every aspect of life. From jobs to spending, people have been forced to make sacrifices in order to get by. Several organizations and businesses have made reductions to stay afloat. With all of these cutbacks, educational institutions have been a topic of debate. On one hand, some colleges have made reductions in course offerings and faculty employed to cover the lack of money. While on the other hand, some have simply increased their tuition in order to preserve the quality of their education.
According to a study written in the New York Time’s article, “Study Finds Public Discontent With Colleges,” many Americans are losing faith in college education. In fact, 60% of citizens surveyed are saying, “colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students.” A vast amount of the United State population feel that colleges and universities are more focused with their financial reward rather than the education they are providing.
In his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the true function of education, saying it is “to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” He goes on to say, “But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.”
So with the recent cutbacks in higher education, are schools becoming a menace to society, or are they continuing to teach students to think intensively and critically?
In order for schools to run with “efficiency” they need the necessary resources: highly educated professors, up-to-date technology, clean campuses and an inviting place to learn. However, these things cannot be achieved without money. So how can Americans continue to get the standard of education they are expecting if schools lowered tuition?
In the same study, more than two-thirds felt that colleges should “use federal stimulus money to hold down tuition, even if it means less money for operations and programs.” But it’s important to point out that these two-thirds are also some of the same 60% saying, “colleges operate like businesses.” So by saying that they would rather have lower tuition by giving less money to “operations and programs” these two-thirds are turning colleges into the “businesses” they are frowning upon.
The senior vice president of government and public affairs for the American Council on Education, Terry Hartle, said, in reference to lowering tuition, “The public is not always right.” She goes on to explain that running a first-class college costs money and if schools cut tuition, then they “would require cuts in areas that most people see as fundamental to quality.”
Education is one of the most important aspects of life and those like, Terry Hartle, are wise to protect and preserve the quality of education. Yes the costs may seem steep, but the price students’ pay is incomparable to the knowledge they obtain.