1 Replies - 1252 Views - Last Post: 28 April 2011 - 10:09 AM

#1 modi123_1   User is online

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Differential Tuition

Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:39 AM

Okay college kids - I hadn't heard of this before, but it seems to be the vogue thing. My state's school (the big one with the college football team) is looking to move to a 'differential tuition' system. From what I gather this makes certain majors cost more than others. The idea is engineering and business majors need better equipment and what not than some liberal arts major. Fair enough - but I thought that was what all the tech and lab fees we science, technical, engineering & math (STEM) folk paid.

What I don't get is this reasoning:


“Differential tuition is an alternative ... for fields of studies where students will have strong earnings and the capacity to take on more debt...”

What about people who don't find work in their field and so something else?

Is anyone currently in this situation? My gut reaction would be that making STEM folk pay more would decrease enrollment in those programs - making a glut of lib arts folk. Is this true? False?

Addiontally does this scale provide the better equipment promised? A higher quality?

Can you game the system - apply for an English degree, take all your electives as the ones required for a computer engineering degree, and switch at the last moment?

Been done before:


According to research by Glen Nelson, senior vice president of finance and administration for the Arizona Board of Regents, only five institutions used the practice for undergraduate students before 1988.

As of this year, 57 percent of 162 public research institutions did so, including the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

According to Nelson, 18 institutions have adopted differential tuition based on academic programs in the past three years. Nelson, then a financial officer for the Oregon University System, studied the issue while earning his doctorate from UNL in 2008.

If you want to read the paper the Nelson guy is being quoted for here you go: (yeah written by an education major).

Educational Administration, Department of Educational Administration: Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research "Differential Tuition by Undergraduate Major: Its Use, Amount, and Impact at Public Research Universities" by Glen R. Nelson

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Replies To: Differential Tuition

#2 elgose   User is offline

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Re: Differential Tuition

Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:09 AM

The cynical part of me says this is a way of making more $$ in the name of progressive thinking. I agree that fees, etc. should be how a school covers for the higher costs of a particular program/degree/class, but just charging a higher tuition rate is unfair.

For instance, I might take a semester of mainly general education classes: Government, history, art, and an algebra class (pre-calc or non-engineering focused math)... they're saying I should still have to pay MORE than a lib arts major taking identical classes? I don't agree with that reasoning, assuming this is how it works.

If they find a way to increase the tuition for ONLY STEM classes, and the increased tuition was justifiable and necessary - sure. But fees are still better suited since they're much more transparent and catered towards specific things.

Do you know if the university is restricted to using the extra finances on only related equipment and software? I'd be even more pissed to discover they turn around and use that money for something else.
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