The University of California is now mulling charging different rates for different majors. In this article, they cite the example of the engineering student. Because such a kid uses more tangible and costly resources in their field of study, colleges are now mulling the idea of making that student pay more for their schooling. For example, since engineering majors erect 20 foot long concrete canoes using university money for class projects (and the university foots the bill for the raw materials) it costs the school a lot more to educate this student than it would, say, an English major (because that kid pretty much buys all their own books and taps primarily into the university’s brain power to pursue their degree and not their wet cement supply as well as their brain power).
I gotta say, it seems sort of fair to me. I mean when I go out to eat, they don’t charge me the same price for lobster as they do a hot dog. If the “goods” cost more to provide to the customer, the customer almost always is asked to take on the extra burden of price. Besides, people everywhere across this country are used to paying different prices for different things. If anything, I kinda gotta ask, “How come they didn’t start doing this years ago?”
Of course, the question becomes, “Will the more expensive majors see a decline in enrollment?” I am not sure. But I’d speculate that the more expensive majors will typically offer higher paying job prospects as well. Compare the engineer’s average pay to the average philosophy major’s average pay and a cost benefit analysis would most probably show some type of corollary between an “it’ll cost ya more” type of degree to a “it’ll earn ya more” type of profession.
And what about the more popular majors? Shouldn’t they also pay a premium in this land of supply and demand? I mean right now the Toyota Prius, a car that get 48 mpg, sells for above sticker price because so many people want to buy a hybrid car. On the other hand, a Chevy Tahoe, an SUV that gets like 11 mpg, has all sorts of crazy discounts being offered. I mean business majors are more popular than ever — why not charge more for a business degree than a poli sci degree? Supply and demand, right?
So the question becomes, are universities about to charge a la carte prices instead of buffet style admission depending on the major chosen? Seems that way.
One thing that is sure to come is the outrage from the kids that are going to see their tuition raised yet again. It’s like the airline traveller that has to pay for bags.
In times of budget issues people sharpen their pencils. Only question now is, am I entitled to a refund? I’ve never built a cement canoe in my life. Actually, wouldn’t a cement canoe sink? Guess that’s why we need engineering majors in the first place — the only time us English folks often have concerns about canoes is when Huck and Jim are trapped in one with a pair of rapscallions!