Saturday, November 11, 2006

The cost of an education

I received an email this past week from my alma mater. Of course, they were wanting money. They began their plea thusly:

Did you know that tuition at Iowa State University has increased 68 percent over the past five years, and that student loan debt is up 143 percent over the past 15 years? Even at Iowa's public universities, like Iowa State, the cost of higher education is nearly unattainable for many students and their families today.

They were asking for contributions for student scholarships and so I did respond positively. That‘s a no-brainer. Their message troubled me, however, for a number of reasons. Primarily, I didn‘t want to hear about how the students were being stretched. I wanted to know what Iowa State University was doing (proactively) to make the cost of a college education more affordable.

As a land-grant they should be all about accessibility. If the cost of an education has become “nearly unattainable“ that is a serious problem. So what is Iowa State doing to address this issue? How are the resources of the university being directed to reverse this trend? What is Iowa State doing to preserve their legacy as the “people‘s university”?

I have several suggestions for them that I will be detailing in a subsequent post. I‘ll start with textbooks…

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