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Friday, April 16, 2021

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Cheap degrees, less quality


In his State of the State address earlier this month, Gov. Rick Perry proposed a plan for a tuition freeze and a challenge for universities to offer students a lowercosting education.

“Today, I’m challenging our institutions of higher education to develop bachelor’s degrees that cost no more than $10,000, including textbooks,” Perry said in his State of the State address.

Perry suggested online classes, new teaching techniques and higher efficiency within universities as methods to bring the cost of a college degree down.

Students at UH, while thrilled at the idea of a cheaper education, are dubious of his plan.

The goal is good, according to Hanny Abouekde, a sociology junior, but he doesn’t think online classes are the answer.

They are good in theory, he said, but Blackboard doesn’t always work.

Amanda Cottrell, a finance junior, agrees.

“Whenever it works, its good,” Cottrell said. “You don’t learn as much in online classes.”

Perry’s call for the renewal of a four-year tuition freeze, which would lock in tuition rates at or below the freshmen level for the next four years, also concerned students about how it would interact with the cuts in state funding.

“Tuition’s going to go up with him cutting spending,” Abouekde said. “Does that pressure them to spend more wisely?”

Cottrell is concerned with what the budget cuts will do to UH’s many scholarship programs, she said.

The University is already under pressure due to the cuts to UH’s funding by the state.

“Under the introduced version of House Bill 1, the UH System’s general revenue appropriation would be reduced by $100 million (20%) for the biennium,” President Renu Khator said in her address to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education in Austin last week.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that cuts of this magnitude would severely limit our ability to achieve our goals,” Khator said.

The University is stepping up fundraising and reallocating resources, Khator said, but the budget cuts would take away from the University’s ability to support its current students and the projected increase in enrollment over the next few years.


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