Higher Education

| January 26, 2009

Low-demand majors 'cannot be justified'

My friend Matt Ladner makes some interesting points about higher-ed policy in Arizona which are equally applicable to Oklahoma. Dr. Ladner points out that, in these days of tight state budgets, tough choices need to be made:

"Universities have the opportunity to make up for lost state revenue from other sources, including tuition, private fundraising, and federal funds. How many other revenue sources do state prisons have available?

"In any university, departments with high-demand majors (e.g. engineering and business) effectively subsidize departments with low-demand majors. Low-demand majors are an expensive luxury helping to drive up the cost of education, even in the best of times. With the state facing a prolonged and severe downturn in revenues, such extravagance simply cannot be justified. Eliminating low-demand majors will help keep university costs down in the short and long term.

"Wrenching, unpleasant decisions lie ahead as lawmakers grapple with the legacy of boom year overspending. In such a situation, reducing costs in state higher education represents choosing the lesser of many evils."

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