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A $10,000 Degree

By April 28, 2011 No Comments

Texas is trying to create a bachelor degree that costs no more than $10,000. This is a laidible goal to help serve the hundreds of thousands of current and potential students who current take on enormous debt for their education.

But questions arise about how they will accomplish enough cost savings to lower the price. One option is the 2-by-2 degree (2 years at a community college, 2 at a four-year institution). Other solutions include slimming research budgets and implementing online courses (which presumably save money).

Of course, the $10,000 number is the cost to the student. The rest of the cost is the burden of the states, tax payers, and the programs that get cut. And likely that out-of-pocket cost comes from Pell grants or other government sponsored programs.

Are we incentivizing the right thing? Do we just want students to attend college? If so, this is a step in the right direction. However, the goal is probably to increase the number of students wgo earn a degree while reducing their debtload. In this case, controlling up front costs does not achieve the goal. Perhaps Texas (and other states and the federal government) should find more ways to help students who are successful at earning the degree lower the amount of debt they carry. And theu should reward schools who are successful in helping their students to graduate (and perhaps even reward schools who are successful with groups of students who traditionally have trouble completing degrees).