Time to scrutinize higher ed?

Our neighbors at FITS, who seem to think we've sold out to the education establishment, have ironically decided to join our call for real reforms in higher education in South Carolina:

In case you missed it, we were pretty hard on South Carolina’s higher ed leaders in our first installment of this year’s “Palmetto Power 100″ list. Frankly, we think it’s inexcusable the way they’ve been jacking tuition and fees on our state’s citizens in recent years, particularly while they’re hiding multi-million dollar slush funds (in Clemson’s case) or gobbling up real estate like the Wehrmacht (in Carolina’s case).

Of course, like their K-12 counterparts, these ivory tower blowhards always blame tuition increases on “budget cuts,” despite the fact that South Carolina grew government at obscene levels over the last four years and continues to spend more than 16% of its state budget on higher ed (compared to the national average of around 10%).

As part of our attempt to hide the senseless waste and duplication that helps put a college education beyond the financial reach of a growing number of South Carolina families, the Blogland has been working hard to find good examples of duplication via the infamous network of two-year USC campuses, including by showing you the USC "feeder" campuses in Sumter and Walterboro.

We invite our readers to visit USC-Sumter, where the highest degree you can receive is an Associate's in Arts or Sciences. Across the parking lot from that campus is the Central Carolina Technical College campus, a two-year public college where the highest degree you can receive is ... you guessed it: an Associate's in Arts or Sciences.

We've also challenged the state's lottery system of tuition assistance, the implementation of which was followed by massive tuition hikes which have in many cases, exceeded the amount of additional money the lottery put in the hands of students.

A simple rule of economics proposes that more money = more demand for goods and services. In turn, more demand = higher prices. Guess what? It applies to higher education prices as well.

In spite of all this spending and turf-building, statistics show that we're not getting a decent return on our education investment as the quality of our state's workforce continues to fall farther behind. Is anyone surprised?

As we - and FITS - have pointed out, the politics of higher education are getting in the way of the real objective: producing the best college graduates with the least amount of money. There's more we're going to talk about soon with regard to our state's irrational system of higher education, so stay tuned.

2 Response to "Time to scrutinize higher ed?"

  1. Anonymous 27/8/08 09:30
    WTF - when did you decide to get all serious on us?
  2. Rob W. 29/8/08 11:52
    Good call on questioning the effect that lottery money has on tuition. Here in Georgia, the scholarship simply pays for your (public school) tuition completely instead of giving you a lump sum. Since the state controls both the tuition costs and the lottery money to pay for it, they have a huge incentive to keep tuition down to a manageable level. If they let tuition get too high, they're the ones mostly paying for it, not qualified students.

    We should definitely check this out for SC.

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