A Degree that Students Can Afford

Crystal Plum

A recent “First Look (Preliminary Data)” report shows that college enrollment numbers dropped in the past year. Beckie Supiano, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, offers a brief hypothesis for the evidence of the report here; she reasons that the weak economy and state budget cuts have contributed to the decline in college enrollment numbers.

As college tuitions have increased exponentially over the past ten years, students are increasingly overwhelmed with debt and college loans. Texas Governor Rick Perry hopes to reverse the effects of a weak economy with his renewed plan for a $10,000 degree. In The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Koppel and Douglas Belkin write of Perry’s plan and what the lower costs may mean for Texas universities.

Thomas Lindsay, an NAS board member and education expert at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is mentioned in Koppel and Belkin’s article. Lindsay says colleges should give low-cost degrees a chance. Higher efficiency does not have to mean lower quality, and affordability does not necessarily mean degree programs have to become second-rate. While lower costs for students may mean larger class sizes and less time with professors, a cheaper degree could also be a creative way for providing students with another option.

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