| January 2, 2013

OCPA in Urban Tulsa Weekly: Get more, pay less

n the cover story of the December 17 issue of National Review (“An Agenda for the Middle Class”), Ramesh Ponnuru argues that “conservatives need an agenda to cut the costs of energy, health care, child-rearing, and higher education. Each initiative would raise the middle-class standard of living.”

He’s right. And in a recent issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly, Tulsa’s alternative newsweekly, I suggest that Oklahoma’s political leaders could do a great service to their constituents by creating a $10,000 bachelor’s degree in this state:

Several of Oklahoma's political leaders and higher education officials have said they would like to see an increase in the number of college graduates. Regardless of whether this is wise policy, we're still left with the problem of affordability.

Perhaps we can learn something from Texas. Lara Seligman reports in the National Journal ("Does Texas Have an Answer to Sky-High Tuition?") that "Texas is experimenting with an initiative to help students and families struggling with sky-high college costs: a bachelor's degree for $10,000, including tuition, fees, and even textbooks." We're not talking $10,000 a year, mind you—this is $10,000 total.

"Under a plan he unveiled in 2011, Republican Gov. Rick Perry has called on institutions in his state to develop options for low-cost undergraduate degrees. The idea was greeted with skepticism at first, but, lately, it seems to be gaining traction. If it yields success, it could prompt other states to explore similar, more innovative ways to cut the cost of education." So far 10 institutions in Texas have answered Gov. Perry's call.

I encourage you to read the entire article here.

Make no mistake: the higher-education revolution is upon us. (Indeed, before too long, $10,000 for a bachelor’s degree may seem too expensive.) It’s time for forward-thinking policymakers to move beyond the status quo.

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