What one Hamline professor says about education and the 99 percent

No longer a public good?

If you’ve been on Facebook in the last few days, you may have seen David Davies rail about the cost of education.

The associate professor of anthropology at Hamline University, inspired by some posts on the We Are the 99 Percent blog, writes:

I am a college professor increasingly frustrated by the incredible debt I see college students taking on.

Rather than spending their time learning how to creatively solve the problems of the future, their debt forces them to think of education narrowly in terms of “what they can do with it.”

Education was once considered a public good and not narrowly as a personal investment. As a society we need to return to more public investment in education.

Education in the U.S. was once considered to be for the 99%.

  • MplsGuy

    It’s amazing how salaries have not kept pace with costs. My parent’s mortgage was a much smaller percent of their income and they paid it off really quickly! I don’t expect to ever pay off my mortgage.

  • Unbelievable

    In 1979 I completed a 2-yr Associates Degree program through a MN Technical College.  First year’s tuition was free to MN residents.  Second year the state began to charge a $2.00/class day fee for MN residents.   Back when education was affordable for us 99%-ers. 

    Currently have a daughter finishing 4-yr degree program from public college with over $45,000 in loans to pay back – even having paid probably 1/3 of her tuition and fees along the way outside of the loans.

  • urban observer

    I watched as my alma mater, a four-year school in Minnesota, increased its tu@3:disqus tion and board from $2000 in 1966 to $50,000 in the current year. It is a private school and has every right to charge what it wants — but it pays no taxes. And, it is subsidized by federally-guaranteed student loans. During the last few decades it has added whole layers of administrators (e.g. “Dean of Multi-Culturalism”), added faculty and reduced the school year. Students emerge deeply in debt, owing Uncle Sam huge amounts, while the college pockets taxpayers’ money in the form of Stafford and Perkins Loans.

    Meanwhile, I teach high school and for many of my graduating students — good ones — the armed services are the only way to afford even a state university. A few weeks ago I had lunch with an ex-student, now in the Marine Reserves, who has asked to be deployed to Afghanistan in order to get G.I. Bill money for college. He will either get federal funds to pay its extortionate cost — or he will come home in a box.

    They’ve all — private and public colleges alike — gone too far. It is past time to shut down thinly populated graduate programs, increase the teaching load so that fewer professors are needed, abolish sabbaticals and stop the construction of these Taj Mahal student centers and gyms. Minnesota does not need “one of the three top research universities in the world,” as its current administration has proclaimed. It needs decent, affordable, accessible education for the average young citizen. 

    The taxpayer pays for ALL of this nonsense through either public funds for state schools or public funds for student loans. Taxpayers who, themselves are barely making it these days, must also worry about twenty-two year old children who face a lifetime of debt so Professor Screwball can teach six hours a week and the Nautilus Company can sell more ab-busters to the school gym. 

    Enough!