Higher ed's death by a thousand cuts

Published November 29 2012

To: Gov. Rick Scott

Re: The $10,000 a year tuition proposal

Helluva idea! 'Bout time, too. What a great way to show those pinheads in higher education a thing or two: If doing more with less is a good idea, doing it all with nothing is even better!

The state of Florida is on a roll: First, it authorizes community colleges to offer four-year degrees without additional funding — check. Then, it makes them universities, without additional funding — check. Then, it cuts the higher ed budget every year — check. And now, let's demand a college degree for less than $100 a week! Checkmate!

And the beat goes on: Some legislative leaders want to reform higher education by "lashing" the higher ed system more closely to the realities of the Florida economy. That's like tying our colleges to the Titanic.

There is really only one more step to your plan to rein in college costs: Have the chancellor of the Florida College System simply email a diploma to whoever wants one. Talk about innovative technology management! I think you've got the college cost problem licked.


Donald R. Eastman III


Eckerd College

P.S. As I pointed out in this newspaper the day you were inaugurated, while the state spends between $10,000 and $15,000 for every Florida student to attend a public university, it spends less than $2,500 a year to support Florida students who go to private (nonprofit) colleges or universities in Florida (and a third of Florida's students do just that). The state could save hundreds of millions of dollars each year — and spend less than $10,000 for a bachelor's degree — if it took better advantage of this enormous resource. Just sayin'.