State May Change University Tuition Model

Science majors: You pay more.

The new chancellor of Pennsylvania’s state system of universities is mulling a proposal to charge students across the state different tuition rates based on how expensive their programs are to maintain.

System officials stressed that this idea of changing the tuition structure is only being looked at and no decision has been made to move ahead with it. But if they did, the 30-year-old State System would hardly be breaking new ground in Pennsylvania’s higher education landscape. Penn State, Pitt and Temple universities not only have varying tuition rates dependent on a student’s major but also the campus they attend.

Indeed, Penn State-University Park charges a couple thousand more bucks a year for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors, and it’s no doubt a financial boon for the school to do so. That said, it strikes me as a potentially pennywise/pound-foolish decision. STEM jobs are growing at a much-higher clip than non-STEM jobs, and charging more for students will likely deter them from entering those fields. The U.S. already trails other developed countries in educational attainment; perhaps it’s best not to fall on our swords to save a few bucks. [Patriot-News]

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