Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Price of Education

The following bill is now under consideration at the 97th General Assembly of Illinois:
Amends various Acts concerning State universities. Repeals provisions that permit the children of employees of an Illinois college or university who have been employed by any one or by more than one Illinois college or university for an aggregate period of at least 7 years to receive a 50% tuition waiver. Effective immediately.
Who cares if professors' kids end up without an education, right?


Patrick said...

I think I could end up getting severely chafed from sitting upon the fence on this one.

1) Why should the children benefit by virtue of their parentage? Why a special advantage for them? There are thousands of (probably) better candidates for university education that can't afford tuition. It's not like professors are paupers - most professors earn better than the national average.

2) This really isn't a problem with volume - seriously, how many children of professors take advantage of this tuition waiver? I would suspect that many pursue educations outside the state, at schools which better fit their particular desires and passions. I can't imagine that it's a budget breaking issue. Furthermore, the prospect of tuition relief for their children can be a determining factor in a professor accepting a position with a university.

Really - shouldn't this be up to the individual universities, and the contracts they sign with their professors?

Clarissa said...

I agree with you completely, Patrick. This should be a bargaining issue between faculty members and their institutions.

This is yet another attempt to legislate everything into the ground.

Patrick said...

You agree with me? What have you done with the real Clarissa?


Clarissa said...

Oh, so you are the only one who's allowed to have variety of opinion, eh? :-) :-)

Pen said...

I live near a[n expensive] private college that in which children of employees pay no tuition whatsoever. This means that I have friends who, even if they have no clue what they're going to do, will be starting off in a great school, with virtually no cost to them (other fees are downgraded, too). It isn't fair to the rest of us, who get messed over by the FAFSA. It works for the college, though, so I guess that's okay.

But then, that's not the same as a state college, and I know the state schools have different systems. Even just looking at this specific college, I would say that there are a lot of complicated factors that go into the decision of providing automatic tuition assistance to children of employees. So I agree--a law like that would be better off being individualized to fit the needs of a particular school, rather than an entire state.

Clarissa said...

Wow, a topic where everybody agrees. :-) Cold weather seems to make people so much nicer. :-)

profacero said...

The reason to offer tuition waivers is that you can then justify keeping faculty salaries lower.

We have very low salaries but we have partial tuition waivers. That makes it possible for faculty to send students to college at least here. They live at home and work to save for things like study abroad or graduate school, or to pay for their cars (because we couldn't afford to give them those).

My father, also a professor, made a much better salary - different state - and we didn't get tuition waivers.

When I worked in another state, health insurance was free for you plus family, and if you had no family you got a refund for the premiums you had saved the university.

This meant that everyone's salary was in fact higher than it looked, since nothing was taken out for insurance and in some cases, money was added. The low salaries satisfied the legislature, and the insurance program made it easier to retain good faculty at low salaries.

Pagan Topologist said...

We get free tuition for our dependent children up to age 24, and our spouses. We get up to two courses for ourselves free of charge per term if we wish. This was not the case when I arrived at my university in 1968; it is something we gained through collective bargaining.

Perks like this help retain good employees; I have seen people leave academia for jobs in the private sector and have their salaries more than doubled, so some small advantages like this can make a difference sometimes.