University Students: Before You Lament State Budget Cuts…

April 8, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA was blessed this past election cycle to choose between two real winners for governor. One guy created a county wide poured drink tax to fund mass transit. A transit system that spent over $500 million on a 1.2 mile subway tunnel under the Allegheny river, 80% of that money from you and me as Federal taxpayers.

The other guy, while State AG, actually filled a subpoena against Twitter for the identity of two critics who were vocal regarding the money spent on his Bonusgate corruption trial of Pa State Democrats.

There wasn’t even a lesser of two evils. The choice was between Dumb and Dumber.

THE Republican won, swept into office because of anti-party incumbency as Pennsylvanians were tired of district pet projects and fed up with the corruption and self serving politicians that make up our bloated legislation.

As expected, he’s put a budget forward that cuts everything, including money for grants to higher education. If this were for profit schools, the Democrats would be cheering about sticking it to the man, correctly pointing out that most of the degrees that people earn from schools like The Art Institute, rarely result in making more money than a Walmartian worker but saddled with tens of thousands of student loan debt that they’ll be lucky to ever pay back. All while ignoring the no pay jobs that degrees from these public, state sponsored colleges offer like women’s studies, labor history and social work. These graduates end up with double the debt.

“He wants to shut the door of opportunity on thousands of young Pennsylvanians who just want to better themselves through education,” Phil LaRue, 22, a senior, said. “We will not let this happen.”

It’s a common refrain from students and schools as the yearly tuition costs continually climb.

But why are the ‘public schools’ increasing their tuition every year? It’s not like your average college professor or TA is seeing any of that money. These folks have been giving concessions for years. Most do it for the love of knowledge. So where is the money going?

THE dirty little secret of these “not for profit schools” is how much money the top earners actually make; the dirtier secret is who these faculty members are.

Since Phil LaRue is a student at the University of Pittsburgh, I wonder if he knows that according to the universities latest tax filing for fiscal year 2010, that men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon was paid $1,389,951 and fired football coach Dave Wannstedt made $1,010,873? The Athletic Director, Steven Pederson, draws a salary of $448,421, which is more than the associate vice chancellor for global health and graduate school of public health dean. And they typically see yearly increases. Is this what’s driving the cost of secondary education ever higher? It’s worth looking at.

Before these kids protest the state cuts, they need to turn inward and demand changes within their own university if their really concerned about access to higher education. With just these salaries, it’s clear that the priorities of the schools are all wrong and one has to wonder where else money is being misappropriated when it should be used to keep the costs down.

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One Response to “University Students: Before You Lament State Budget Cuts…”

  1. Braden Says:

    Damn right. You hit it all!


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