by Jim Coleman
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that the Pennsylvania State board of Education approved a proposal to explore the possibility of founding a new type of 4-year state university, which would focus on offering a “low-cost, no frills” bachelor’s degree. This “no-frills” university would forgo the extras, which have become common at other schools. No sports, no luxury student center, and even no climbing wall. The reduction in both capital and staff would, in theory, allow the university to run a much leaner operation and pass the savings on to the students.
At CCAP this is music to our ears. There has been a growing trend among universities to compete for students by becoming centers of recreation and entertainment. Additionally, costs have also been driven up by the ballooning number of administrators in higher education. It’s refreshing to see a state begin to address these problems head on as opposed to just throwing more money at the problem.
PA could potentially lead the nation in cutting college costs and serve as paradigm for other states. Let’s hope PA policy makers have the good sense to actually follow through on their proposal.