Saturday, March 29, 2008

Letter To My Governor

The University of Texas has one of the most lucrative resources of funding in the United States. It's the largest university in numbers and one of the better known state schools. Having the large numbers of students in the Austin location as well as across the state, the average person has to wonder why the University of Texas Board of Regents continues to raise tuition. The answer is: Because they can. Until other parents, citizens and taxpayers demand transparency and accountability in the budgeting system, state schools will continue to nickel and dime the average student to the poorhouse all the while funding athletic programs that only serve a small microcosm of the university student population. And this doesn't even start to consider the many and varied fees imposed on a per hour basis for services and amenities that many students never use. BTW for a little perspective, Mack Brown, UT's football coach, will be paid $2.6 MILLION this year. I am sure all those kids working two or three jobs to try and take 12 hours per semester will appreciate that when they can't even see a game because alums get all the good seats at Memorial Stadium and besides, they have to work that day any how. Anyway, here's part of the letter I wrote to Rick Perry. He probably won't read it. I doubt anyone in Austin reads much of what is sent to them. They can't be if this stuff just keeps going on the way it is.


This time has come to rein in the state universities in terms of tuition increases. While it is easy to for the schools to assume that students and families can just take out further loans, this is not always the case. Many students, such as my own children, work to pay their own way. When tuition increases, on top of penalties for retaking classes-which is sometimes required for the major in music, dance and theater-or for taking longer than four years to graduate, it places students in a difficult position. Students who work have to work more hours in order to pay higher tuition. That means there are less hours available to be in class which in turn means that the student is penalized for taking too long to graduate. Everywhere students turn, there's yet another surcharge or fee. And where is the transparency on the use of those fees? Many students are charged for services they never use. Why should a student who has no interest in athletics have to pay based on a per credit hour basis to support those programs? And by the way, this really seems ironic since the UT Board of Regents hired a football coach for a very hefty salary. So what are the priorities of these schools? It surely doesn't seem to be educating the average kid, but instead it seems to be to build farm programs for the NFL and NBA. Oh, and you will see a copy of this posted on my blog.

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