Close

Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Under-Stated

15 Oct Posted by in Business | 1 comment

I assume that by now anyone reading this blog and all the other stuff in circulation knows that public universities, including of course Mason, face a serious problem with state funding. I have no desire to detract from the attention we need to urge to the problem, and will doubtless return to the topic in future.

But today’s a bit different. I was at a session yesterday when an out-of-state student, noting how our state assistance has plunged in a decade from 65% of our operation budget to less than  29%, asked whether we saw any limit to the further depths. And he was told, correctly, that we’re not sure, along with the comforting old joke about how we have moved from being a state university, to state-aided, to (now) state-located (and some would add, state-impeded).

But there is a dimension we note too infrequently, and may seem needlessly ungrateful as a result. The state has stepped up significantly on its university building program during the decade — and we are four-and-a-bit academic buildings better off as a result. Here’s a huge assistance, and a huge reason that, fuss as we must, we cannot reasonably talk about splitting away from the state. Here’s a huge reason, as well, that tuition for out of state students, though of course higher than in-state in the familiar pattern, is noticeably below that of private institutions.

I do worry, I admit, that the state sometimes tries to buy us off with buildings rather than the more challenging necessary operating funds, so I’m not turning into a pollyanna. But fair’s fair: the state does a lot, and more has been pledged (for example, a vital new teaching lab building for science education). So, even though we must take stock of the gift horse’s hindquarters, when we deal with the state, we don’t need to look it in the mouth.

Under-Stated

I assume that by now anyone reading this blog and all the other stuff in circulation knows that public universities, including of course Mason, face a serious problem with state funding. I have no desire to detract from the attention we need to urge to the problem, and will doubtless return to the topic in future.

But today’s a bit different. I was at a session yesterday when an out-of-state student, noting how our state assistance has plunged in a decade from 65% of our operation budget to less than  29%, asked whether we saw any limit to the further depths. And he was told, correctly, that we’re not sure, along with the comforting old joke about how we have moved from being a state university, to state-aided, to (now) state-located (and some would add, state-impeded).

But there is a dimension we note too infrequently, and may seem needlessly ungrateful as a result. The state has stepped up significantly on its university building program during the decade — and we are four-and-a -bit academic buildings better off as a result. Here’s a huge assistance, and a huge reason that, fuss as we must, we cannot reasonably talk about splitting away from the state. Here’s a huge reason, as well, that tuition for out of state students, though of course higher than in-state in the familiar pattern, is noticeably below that of private institutions.

I do worry, I admit, that the state sometimes tries to buy us off with buildings rather than the more challenging necessary operating funds, so I’m not turning into a pollyanna. But fair’s fair: the state does a lot, and more has been pledged (for example, a vital new teaching lab building for science education). So, even though we must take stock of the gift horse’s hindquarters, when we deal with the state, we don’t need to look it in the mouth.