Volume 92, Issue 3

Friday, May 29, 1998

big business


Pay for your own education

Re: Cashed out, May 15

To the Editor:

Contrary to The Gazette's editorial, students in Western's professional faculties should pay more for their education. Here's why:

This year every student paid their tuition of around $3,900. The university also received money from the provincial government. When the whole pot was put together you're looking at funding of around $11,000 to $12,000 per student. When the faculties work out their budgets, they redistribute the funds. Some faculties give up funds to help support others. Western has only two profitable faculties. These faculties are arts and social science.

For a student from one of these two faculties one can expect that two-thirds of that $11,000 will leave your faculty. Only $3,000 to $4,000 per student will stay in the faculty. Of this money, the greatest amount is spent on honours, masters and PhD. programs. These are priorities because they generate research grants. If you are in a three-year program, don't kid yourself, no one is spending $3000 to $4000 on you. Just try to remember that psychology class with 1200 students you paid $500 for. That's $600,000 and it only cost them the lighting and the professor.

In a world where an economics student is actually paying more than the cost of their education, we must ask if they should bear a greater responsibility than the general public for educating CEOs, doctors and lawyers. The answer is no. Differential fees are simply more fair. If some students believe that investing $8,000 for a couple of years to make a six figure salary is a barrier to entry, let them.

The Gazette's editorial claims that the government is forgetting what universities are for. However, since professional faculties are fairly new, I would suggest that universities are rediscovering their priorities. Exporting money from Western's larger faculties is slowly killing the goose that lays the golden egg and undermining the quality of those students who will apply to business or law.

Western's goal has to be for every student to get their money's worth because Western is a business. It's one that will someday have to compete for students with community colleges who provide a good bang for the buck. Currently, many students get their three-year BA at Western and then take a skill at Fanshawe. Someday, they'll wake up and save money by going straight to Fanshawe.

Tim Bernard

Economics '94

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998