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Should Colleges Charge Engineering Majors More Than English Majors?
The Atlantic ^ | 07/05/2013 | Jordan Weissman

Posted on 07/05/2013 7:45:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Classes in engineering and the sciences eat up a disproportionate portion of college resources. But schools that charge students a premium to study them might be making mistake.

Imagine opening a restaurant menu and finding that every dish, from the steak frites to frisse salad, costs $14.99. It would seem odd, right? After all, buying and cooking a ribeye is more expensive than throwing some lettuce in a bowl. Charging the same for each wouldn't make sense.

Yet, that's pretty much how most colleges price their majors. Undergrads pay the same flat rate per credit no matter what they study, even though different courses can require vastly different resources to teach. Giant freshman lectures are cheaper to run per-student than intimate senior seminars, and reading-heavy majors like history are cheaper than lab-oriented disciplines like biology. At New York's state colleges, to give one real-world example, advanced engineering or hard science courses cost more than five times as much to teach than low-level psychology classes. None of this tends to be reflected on tuition bills.

Should it? Would colleges, or students, be better off if higher ed finally nixed one price fits all?

This week, University of Michigan economist Kevin Stange released a new working paper that illustrates what one of the potential downsides of doing so might be. Over the last two decades, a growing minority of schools have in fact experimented with varying tuition by major. A Cornell study (which produced the graph below) found that 41 percent of public doctoral universities have tried charging a premium for at least one program -- usually engineering, business, or nursing. Looking at a sample of these schools, Stange's paper concludes that raising the price of certain majors seems to influence what students choose to study, though not always in predictable ways.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Society
KEYWORDS: college; engineering; english; tuition
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1 posted on 07/05/2013 7:45:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

The Atlantic publishes the most ourtragoeus articles.


2 posted on 07/05/2013 7:48:30 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: SeekAndFind
Soak the productive class. Squeeze all the money out of them. Start as early as possible, and never let up. People with ability should suffer and feel guilty for their disproportionate tendency to contribute to the common welfare.

English Lit majors? Why not give them 4 years of partying for free? They're going to be on government assistance for most of their lives anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Let 'em have their fun! The party never stops when you lack the ability or the will to contribute to society!

3 posted on 07/05/2013 7:49:24 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (21st century. I'm not a fan.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Lib arts majors should be charged more to cover the cost of the welfare they will be on after they graduate


4 posted on 07/05/2013 7:50:49 AM PDT by NativeSon ( Grease the floor with Crisco when I dance the Disco)
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To: SeekAndFind

From The Atlantic.

The Atlantic......full of old wrecks, garbage and s**t. It’s also the name of an ocean.


5 posted on 07/05/2013 7:51:00 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: SeekAndFind

Lab fees. They already do.


6 posted on 07/05/2013 7:51:23 AM PDT by ThomasThomas ("We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.")
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To: SeekAndFind

If anything Universities should charge more for worthless degrees.

Lets look at charging premiums for women’s studies, black history, political science, GLBT studies, communications and other worthless will never amount to a hill of beans degrees.

If you look at donations from previously awarded degrees by department I think you’d find that humanities would come up way short of anyone with a worth something in the real world degree.


7 posted on 07/05/2013 7:51:34 AM PDT by PittsburghAfterDark
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To: SeekAndFind

40 years ago, I paid extra lab fees for engineering labs.


8 posted on 07/05/2013 7:51:51 AM PDT by Scrambler Bob ( Concerning bo -- that refers to the president. If I capitalize it, I mean the dog.)
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To: blueunicorn6

RE: The Atlantic......full of old wrecks, garbage and s**t. It’s also the name of an ocean.

Would it help if they renamed the magazine to The Pacific? :)


9 posted on 07/05/2013 7:52:48 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: ClearCase_guy
English Lit majors?

Hey, the world needs more barristas to sell $8 soy lattes to other English Lit. majors.

</sarc>

10 posted on 07/05/2013 7:54:23 AM PDT by Rodamala
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To: SeekAndFind
Translation: Cultural Studies majors are not making as much money as graduates who go on to do useful things.

They are having a harder time making payments on their loans.

Therefore the burden should be shifted to those who are doing better.

Here's a thought: hard science and engineering programs attract the vast bulk of grant money.

Humanities professors get paid as much - and often more - than engineering professors, but they produce a tiny fraction of the grants.

Humanities are already being heavily subsidized - perhaps humanities students should be forced to shoulder the burden.

11 posted on 07/05/2013 7:55:51 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: SeekAndFind
English Majors?

be making mistake

I would like to buy a vowel.

12 posted on 07/05/2013 7:55:52 AM PDT by bigheadfred (barry your mouth is writing checks your ass cant cash)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think athletics is more expensive than the sciences.


13 posted on 07/05/2013 7:56:18 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: bigheadfred
Vowels cost extra.
14 posted on 07/05/2013 7:57:15 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (21st century. I'm not a fan.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Quite the opposite. Engineers will make more and pay back into the system by having real jobs.


15 posted on 07/05/2013 7:57:53 AM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: afraidfortherepublic
The Atlantic publishes the most ourtragoeus articles.

Well, heck, afraidfortherepublic! You wouldn't want to see stupid ideas begging on the street, would you? Moronic anti-American ideas have to live somewhere, don't they? If not for the Atlantic, where would heavily feral government-subsidized National Public Radio find "creative" ideas?

16 posted on 07/05/2013 7:58:01 AM PDT by Standing Wolf
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To: SeekAndFind

They should charge a stupid tax on anyone majoring in philosophy, sociology, peace studies, womyn’s studies, black studies, LGBT studies, etc.


17 posted on 07/05/2013 7:58:57 AM PDT by peyton randolph (Tagline copyright in violation of Directive 10-289)
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To: SeekAndFind
It's easy to see why Engineering professors...and professors in medical schools (for example)...would demand higher pay than would an English professor.Why? Engineers working in the field...and physicians actually treating patients...can make serious $$$.English professors have employment alternatives? I think not,apart from writing books perhaps.

So,yes...I can see engineering students paying higher tuition.

18 posted on 07/05/2013 7:59:36 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (The Civil Servants Are No Longer Servants...Or Civil.)
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To: SeekAndFind

When I went to Engineering College, we had a lot more required credit hours to graduate than the average degree.

We also got a lot of donations to different departments of engineering as companies wanted specific items taught. The concession made to some of the upper level classes that would also count as MS credit, they were taught at night. This let local companies send their employees and still work while getting a Masters.

I doubt this happened a lot in degrees that have little demand after college. So our high demand engineering student created donations for the university.


19 posted on 07/05/2013 8:01:51 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Standing Wolf

LOLOLOLOL! My mother used to send me a subscription to the Atlantic. I used to remove my name and dump them at the Dr’s office. hen I though about a little deeper and decided that I did not want to corrupt the minds of sick people. Now, I just dump them into the garbage.


20 posted on 07/05/2013 8:01:57 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Standing Wolf

LOLOLOLOL! My mother used to send me a subscription to the Atlantic. I used to remove my name and dump them at the Dr’s office. hen I though about a little deeper and decided that I did not want to corrupt the minds of sick people. Now, I just dump them into the garbage.


21 posted on 07/05/2013 8:01:57 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: ClearCase_guy

So in reality colleges should charge English majors more.


22 posted on 07/05/2013 8:03:25 AM PDT by bigheadfred (barry your mouth is writing checks your ass cant cash)
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To: ClearCase_guy

The study of English is a perfectly honorable pursuit. It’s also a hard major if you have a department that teaches it properly.


23 posted on 07/05/2013 8:04:17 AM PDT by Borges
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To: SeekAndFind

Engineering textbooks cost $100-$350, each

English textbooks cost $19.95


24 posted on 07/05/2013 8:04:33 AM PDT by kidd
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To: peyton randolph

A Philosophy major is a great prep for Law school. So is English.


25 posted on 07/05/2013 8:05:44 AM PDT by Borges
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To: SeekAndFind
The very first premise is false. English professors use the same classroom space as engineering professors. And they make the same six-figure salaries, too. So no, I'm not buying it.

Reduce the salaries of non-engineering professors, and then we can talk about reducing costs for non-engineering degrees.

26 posted on 07/05/2013 8:08:08 AM PDT by Hoodat (BENGHAZI - 4 KILLED, 2 MIA)
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To: SeekAndFind
It all depends on whether they teach "cursive" or not. :)
27 posted on 07/05/2013 8:08:10 AM PDT by RedMDer (When immigrants cannot or will not assimilate, its really just an invasion. Throw them out!)
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To: peyton randolph
They should charge a stupid tax on anyone majoring in philosophy, sociology, peace studies, womyn’s studies, black studies, LGBT studies, etc.

They do. It's called a low wage and it is paid until they get smarter.

28 posted on 07/05/2013 8:09:14 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

Even better; let us take the STEM courses and skip all the other worthless crap.


29 posted on 07/05/2013 8:13:01 AM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: Hoodat
English professors use the same classroom space as engineering professors. And they make the same six-figure salaries

Salaries vary by field. They are not paid the same.

Average Faculty Salaries by Field and Rank at 4-Year Colleges and Universities, 2010-11
http://chronicle.com/article/Average-Faculty-Salaries-by/126586/

30 posted on 07/05/2013 8:13:26 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m thinking “The Sewage Lagoon” would be a better name for it.


31 posted on 07/05/2013 8:14:17 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: ClearCase_guy
My daughter was an English Literature major and had a job waiting for her when she graduated with a major publishing house. Back to the point of the article. I agree with you there should be no fee differential excepting perhaps laboratory fees.
32 posted on 07/05/2013 8:15:29 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: SeekAndFind

And don’t forget to pay the departmental professors by the same formula.


33 posted on 07/05/2013 8:15:56 AM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Other way around.

Should gouge th4e dopes who want to waste four years on worthless degrees.


34 posted on 07/05/2013 8:16:05 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: SeekAndFind

If anything, they should charge English majors more than Engineering majors. Engineering majors are going to be useful members of society while English majors have a sense of superiority baked into them, study literature through anachronistic filters of political correctness and belittle as “trade school” those courses that are designed to teach marketable skills.

Why should the hard workers subsidize a self-elected leisure class?


35 posted on 07/05/2013 8:17:40 AM PDT by Piranha (We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.)
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To: SeekAndFind

As a history major, I’ve actually voted nay at my alma mater whenever this proposal came up. I believe that by subsidizing more useful degrees, we can encourage more folks to do them. I’m ok with paying more if it means we can better control costs for critical degrees.


36 posted on 07/05/2013 8:18:31 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: SeekAndFind

I propose that faculty compensation be linked to the earnings of the average graduate of their respective programs.


37 posted on 07/05/2013 8:19:53 AM PDT by ET2020
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To: Gay State Conservative

Engineering students will migrate to dedicated engineering schools to get a quality education, rather than attending a place run by liberal arts subjective types.

One of our daughters chose Embry-Riddle, a university little heard of outside the aviation community. However, Embry-Riddle has a world-wide reputation in aviation. The higher private school tuition she paid has more that proved its worth by opening doors in industry and at NASA.

Our other three kids all graduated from nationally renowned universities and have done well in life. However, Embry-Riddle is the place which most impressed me as an institution of learning, HIGHER learning.

In related news, Georgia Tech has instituted an affordable, on-line masters program in computer science. http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=212951

Good engineering schools will develop efficient quality programs which meet the educational & financial needs of students & industry.

Objective standards & solutions, not the subjective liberal arts garbage.

“On time, above spec and under budget” should be their motto.


38 posted on 07/05/2013 8:23:57 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: ET2020
I propose that faculty compensation be linked to the earnings of the average graduate of their respective programs.

What makes you think they are not? How else could they hire anyone?

Average Faculty Salaries by Field and Rank at 4-Year Colleges and Universities, 2010-11
http://chronicle.com/article/Average-Faculty-Salaries-by/126586/

Nearly every Engineering Professor I saw in my college had first worked in his field. Nearly all of them were registered PEs.

39 posted on 07/05/2013 8:25:50 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: JCBreckenridge
As a history major, I’ve actually voted nay at my alma mater whenever this proposal came up.

I don't see how a few college could possibly do this when their competition is not.

40 posted on 07/05/2013 8:27:25 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Why? It actually lowers the costs for the STEM degrees. This puts the college at a competitive advantage to attract STEM talent.


41 posted on 07/05/2013 8:29:48 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge ("we are pilgrims in an unholy land")
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To: Hoodat

That depends on the school. The English profs I had made salaries in the 30s and 40s range.


42 posted on 07/05/2013 8:32:24 AM PDT by Borges
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To: BwanaNdege
On time, above spec and under budget

As someone who has set up many projects with scope, schedule and budget, as well as being responsible to meet them I tell you:

Anyone who consistently is under budget, is a damn poor estimator. And it isn't great for the client, who held back money on other projects because you said you needed more on yours. If you are consistently and noticeably above specifications, you are either spending money you didn't need, or you wrote poor specs in the first place.

The best way to be successful doing project engineering work is on time, scope and schedule. Crap does happen and there needs to be contingencies, but those should be identified separately from the base budget. If contingencies are not openly described, they will get duplicated by multiple parties in the project, trying to cover their behind.

43 posted on 07/05/2013 8:34:59 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: JCBreckenridge

I don’t know the acronym STEM.

And while for a few, cost is no object, it was for me and essentially everyone I went to college with, or worked with since. It would drive those high cost degrees to other locations, if most of the competition has not done the same.


44 posted on 07/05/2013 8:36:57 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’d be giving American born Engineering majors a discount simply because we’ll need them if we ever decide to build anything again.


45 posted on 07/05/2013 8:37:41 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind

If they follow this rule of charging more for degrees that are worthwhile, they’ll have to charge nothing for Black Studies and Womyn’s Studies.


46 posted on 07/05/2013 8:39:05 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: SeekAndFind
Let's see, engineers can design roads, power plants and even buildings for English majors and should pay more. On the other hand, English majors can discuss the social implications of Harrison Bergeron and should pay less. Got it.
47 posted on 07/05/2013 8:40:24 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (This message has been recorded but not approved by Obama's StasiNet. Read it at your peril.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ve been in favor of this approach all along, in principal.

Tuition costs should reflect the equipment and facilities used in the course, at least theoretically. Now such costs are averaged and imposed on all students at the college, meaning that the English or math major in effect subsidizes the Bio-chem major, and they all subsidize the football team.

Consider the actual costs of a survey of English Literature: the professor’s salary and the maintenance of a room and a few desks. Student’s would provide the paper or the computer,and texts—and most of these are available on-line or in paperback.

It’s the same with the other liberal arts, mathematics and most introductory professional courses.

Indeed, credit for these courses should be awarded through a system of examinations, with the burden of learning course material carried by the student.

Ideally, a earning a degree should work like this:
Select the program at a central campus.
Pay registration fee, say $100 and receive a schedule of
lectures, URLs of canned lectures, a list of tutors, and a schedule of comprehensive final exams, a timetable, etc.
At the end of the course, or immediately for those who have taken the course elsewhere, the student pays to take the exam.
Students could take the exams as often as necessary, but must pay for each instance.

It would seem that this sort of approach would cost the student far less than the current one, regardless of subsidies from government and private entities.

This would assure a more or less universal standard for a core curriculum that any student could afford, after which the student could either move onto technical or professional training, or go to work.


48 posted on 07/05/2013 8:40:34 AM PDT by tsomer
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To: SeekAndFind
The humanities should have much cheaper tuition - and be offered solely in an online-only, programmed instruction format. Pass the online exams => get the degree => go straight to Starbucks for an interview.

The subsequent massive layoff of liberal arts professors should generate enough funds to improve and expand engineering departments across the country. :)

49 posted on 07/05/2013 8:40:57 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: Born to Conserve

True, but my understanding is that the sports teams are a major profit centre.


50 posted on 07/05/2013 8:48:22 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter)
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