Differential Tuition

More and more colleges are starting to employ what is called "differential tuition." That means that studying some disciplines will cost you more than others. One reason for this is to discourage too many students from a particular course of study. For example, at the University of Tennessee, the number of business students has doubled in the past few years, while the school's budget and the number of faculty has stayed the same. Still, students want a business degree because it will pay off better in the long run than a degree in philosophy. That is another reason college can charge more: because the result is worth it. But is it fair?
Universities have to pay "competitive salaries to retain" professors who are in demand elsewhere, says The Cavalier Daily of the University of Virginia. The "market value" of business, engineering, and nursing professors is higher than that of other disciplines, and it makes sense for those programs to be more expensive.

But what happens to students who can only afford a degree in a cheaper field? Should public universities set prices according to the laws of supply and demand? Or will higher tuition for, say, engineers only discourage students from becoming the workers we will need in the future? Link

(Image credit: Flickr user gadgetdude)

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My wife complains about this: she got a Masters in social work (because there are even fewer opportunities for even less money with 'just' a Bachelor's) and does really great work helping people. However, the school debt is very large and the pay she gets is very small. Perhaps school debt needs to be tied to average pay of the job the school tells you you're qualified for...

Actually I think higher education should be heavily subsidized by the government, but the rich and powerful Oz doesn't want an educated society (might lead to more equality).
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Well here in Malta where I live, tertiary education at the national University is not only free but (as in some other European countries) students actually receive a stipend to help fund their studies. We've worked this the other way around, wherein courses of study that are deemed 'more beneficial' such as nurses, engingeers and recently specialist IT courses are given a higher stipend than others.

My insignificant BA in Theatre didn't earn me much, but hey, it was free!
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Private universities in other countries do this and it seems to work OK.

tinspoons, I agree 100% with the gov subsidies, but I will say that the pattern is usually that there are a lot of educated people who have degrees and not enough jobs suited to their educations, so you get a lot of people with law degrees driving taxies, and STILL no equality. At least, that's how I've seen it in the other countries I've visited, I'm no expert by any means.
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Utter nonsense. University tuition has skyrocketed far, far above either salaries or inflation. They do this while pocketing huge profits from their sports programs.

There does not need to be any subsidies. There needs to be open books, auditing, and discontinuation of tenure.

You (or your kids) PAY a University for education, yet nobody holds them to the same type of accountability that one does a other services. Why not? If your goal is education, then demand that you get value. If you just want to pay for a piece of paper with a name on it, then none of this really matters.

If a Professor takes up most of the class talking off-topic, demand your money back. That's what you'd do with a plumber that talked about her family life instead of unclogging your drain.

Until and unless Universities and Colleges are held to the same expectations as Trade Schools, absolutely nothing will change and will all end up paying more while getting less.
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In order for it to be fair to pay more for some degrees, universities would first have to stop deliberately flunking out half the starting class. Penn State Engineering Program, I'm looking at you.
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