Occasionally, The Clog takes interest in what old people think. While we’re all wading through last Thursday’s excitement in the form of Facebook statuses and top-notch student media coverage (wink), we thought it might be fun to take a look at two published views from the grumpy, grumbly perspectives.

Peter Robinson, Reagan speechwriter and fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, did not sympathize with the protests. In an article titled “The Golden State’s Me Generation,” he essentially argues that, armed with rhetorical device, student protesters selfishly painted the budget cuts – really an act of financial desperation – as an act of oppression.

According to Robinson, they did this as a money-grabbing strategy for their selfish selves, without regard for the economic plight of non-student Americans or even the fact that, even after budget cuts, California still devotes considerably more money per student than do states like Illinois or New York. He says:

We have here the vocabulary of the peace movement, of the struggle for decent conditions for migrants and other exploited workers, and of the civil-rights movement. Yet what did the protesters demand? Peace? Human rights? No. Money. And for whom? For the downtrodden and oppressed? No. For themselves.

Robinson does not discuss the possibility that California students are, in fact, better.

William Tierney, professor at USC, suggests in an article titled “Why subsidize wealthy college kids?” that there is nothing wrong with fee increases, in and of themselves. In fact, aiming to keep fees well below market price (which, if you agree that $25,000 per year Cal and $50,000 per year Stanford provide comparable educations, you must admit that they are) gives a discount to all the students who can afford to pay more.

So, instead of advocating across-the-board fee increase reductions and, in effect, subsidizing rich kids, Tierney suggests instead focusing on maintaining aid for those who need it. There isn’t enough tax dollars to do both.

Tierney does not discuss the possibility that UC Berkeley students of all socioeconomic backgrounds are, in fact, better.

Image Source: Idiolector under Creative Commons
The Golden State’s Me Generation [WSJ]
Why subsidize wealthy college kids? [CNN]

deado said:
Mar 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

doesn’t the FAFSA cover low-income students in the case of a tuition hike?

doesn’t this mean that only rich kids will have to pay more?

and that their money will then go to improving the education of all UC students?

Tommy said:
Mar 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm

They have a point. If Cal’s tuition and fees were closer to those of Stanford’s, there would be more funds available for student aid and the state could re-devote resources to the poor of the state.
For the middle- and upper-class kids, a college education as high quality as one from Cal, paying back student loans should be easily done. (The less well off students may have difficulty qualifying for loans.)

david vidaurre said:
Mar 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

If you’ve ever been to anyone of those protests you’ll quickly notice that people are NOT just protesting the fee-increases but are also, and perhaps more emphatically, protesting decreased funding in programs which effects everyone.
Moreover, there are plenty of people in between being eligible for FAFSA and being rich. These are the people who are especially hurt by the budget cuts.

Stacy K said:
Mar 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

FAFSA doesn’t cover low-income students in the way you’re thinking. We just get allocated more in loans, which we eventually have to pay back. So while raising tuition and making the rich kids’ parents pay more may _seem_ like it’s a great idea that only affects the rich kids’ parents, it actually screws the working class kids for a LONG time.

What’s interesting is that people like Robinson and Tierney are trying to deflect the blame re: lack of funding from the corporations who SHOULD be paying taxes in California that could go towards education funding. Instead, they’re saying that students should just suck it up and pay more, that education is a privilege that you either need to be rich enough to pay for or smart enough to win scholarships. And while I do think that a merit based system makes sense, having access just because you’re wealthy is disgusting.

Call me an idealist, but it’s true.

sohbet said:
Mar 22, 2012 at 5:08 am

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already :) Cheers!

Wawrzyniec Duda said:
Mar 23, 2012 at 12:02 am