Friday, August 24, 2007

it's hard to walk tall when you're so small.

Though this article isn’t exactly new, it is troubling: some state universities are charging students to take part in certain majors. Students in the fields of business, engineering and pharmacy are being charged more in order to study in these fields. Some schools charge a flat fee of $500 extras per semester, while others charge $40 per credit hour in these impacted fields.

According to the article, Some public university officials say they worry that students who are charged more for their major will stick to the courses in their field to feel that they are getting their money’s worth.

20-25% of the extra money is going towards financial aide…but what about the rest? To line the coffers of already rich schools?

The underlying point, buried at the very bottom of the article, is that the students are charging more for students to study in these fields because they believe that students will make more money upon graduation than students in other fields.

This makes one assumption very clear: state colleges believe that students studying in these fields are mostly in it for the money and that the other degrees are, essentially, worth less than other degrees, even from the SAME school.

These charges, though, are a subtle and perhaps unconscious attempt to keep the poor…well, impoverished. The university’s admit that they think that students in these fields will make more money…and they’re charging more to let students take part in these fields. Students who are less well off will not be able to take on a major in these departments, because they aren’t on as firm of fiscal standing as some of their classmates.

By locking the poor out of “higher-earning” majors, the universities are perpetuating their poverty. Once, the poor could absolutely not afford to go to college—but with the breadth of scholarships and federal aide, they were able to attend. Now, once again, they are being locked out…by their own states. Maybe this is a naïve thought, but it isn’t as dumb as charging more for certain majors: Shouldn’t state schools want to have more students in high income majors in order to stop the drain on the welfare system? I understand that allowing the poor to major in finance and engineering won’t rid the world of poverty, but it will help more than charging more for certain majors ever will.

It’s just flabbergasting and exasperating that a state school would be allowed charge state residents more money and possibly even worsen the economic outlook of said state in order to maintain the status quo.

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