Monday, September 15, 2008

Even More Proof Higher Ed is Overfunded

Lt. Governor Bill Halter backs a government lottery with mandatory provisions to add all profits to the top of the pile of taxpayer money we already spend on higher education.

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The idea that Arkansas has a legitimate need to increase spending on our higher-ed infrastructure is fashionable as a thought, and idiotic as a policy. A rational economic look at the situation reveals that if anything, we already have more public dollars extracted from our earnings for higher education than our population and economic base warrants. The latest evidence for this comes from an nwaonline article about freshmen at our state's flagship campus.

The article informs us that roughly one in every three of the 3,010 freshmen on campus comes from outside Arkansas. The University of Arkansas is heavily recruiting students from outside the state, especially Texas. In fact, the university is considering opening a full-time admissions office in the Dallas area to help recruitment efforts.

""They did a good job of selling themselves," said Alice McMillan, a freshman accounting major from Kansas City, Mo.

McMillan came to campus last year for an accounting career seminar, and was impressed by the engagement of the faculty and minority outreach programs. A full scholarship didn't hurt, either." reads the Morning News article.

It doesn't hurt them, but is sure does hurt me, and you too, to know that we have to roll our lazy tails out of bed and go to work in order to pay taxes to subsidize the educations of people from other states. Our state universities are fleecing our taxpayers, not so WE will have an adequately educated workforce among our own population, but rather so that surrounding states can benefit by the gullible and shallow political leadership in this state, who continue to burden our taxpayers with the cost of educating their citizens.

Can there be any doubt whatsoever that there is too much college scholarship money in Arkansas already, when the flagship institution in the state can't find any in-state students that need it? They have to go out of state, because all the top in-state students are already covered!

What's next, paying students a salary to go to college? A recruitment outreach center in Mexico city? Folks we already have too much higher education infrastructure in this state relative to the number of jobs we have that require such an education and even relative to the academic talent pool in the state. There are not even enough such jobs to give one to all of the Arkansans with college degrees- people from our state get degrees and then have to go elsewhere to find work to match that degree. How much less then do we need to expend tax money to educate people from surrounding states who will use us to pay their bills and then on graduation go back to Dallas where the jobs are?

People I am begging you to get some common sense, this lavish spending is bleeding us dry. Don't just repeat slogans to each other about education, look at the numbers, consider the facts. I don't care if it runs counter to the buzz-phrases the dim-wits in the capitol have been repeating to each other like parrots: We don't need more college infrastructure in this state, we need to right-size what we have. The key to a better economy is not educating other region's workers at our expense, it's reducing government spending and letting people keep more of their own earnings.

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