Saturday, October 31, 2009

CLA Dean Parente's Vision of Student Debt

Differs from that of the Morrill Hall Crowd at

University of Minnesota

One of my friends sent me a note about a solicitation from CLA for student financial support. This letter admits the pitiful circumstances in which many U of M graduates find themselves because of high tuition. This despite our President's empty claim that additional scholarship money is making up for the increases in tuition.

Obviously this is not the case. Otherwise, why would we raise tuition?

From a recent CLA fund-raising letter:

"Twenty, thirty, forty thousand dollars. That's how much many of today's students owe when they graduate from college. But their debt isn't due to lack of foresight or saving. The cost of higher education has so far outpaced inflation that increasing numbers of students are borrowing more than ever to pay for college. As a result, many students can't afford to pursue their dreams and aspirations that a college degree makes possible.”

"Scholarships enable students with ability and desire to realize their potential and avoid graduating with a level of debt that could take a decade to repay. Scholarships also free students from having to work so many hours that there's little time to make the most of the exceptional experience the College of Liberal Arts has to offer. But scholarships don't simply bestow money. They instill something else every student needs to succeed: confidence.

"Please take a moment to make a contribution. Your gift will help ensure that students are able to focus on what matters most right now--getting an education that cultivates their potential and paves the way to better tomorrows.

"Thank you for your generous support.


  • James A. Parente Jr.

Dean, College of Liberal Arts

On numerous occasions I have asked President Bruininks to explain why our undergraduates have the highest debt load of any public school in the BigTen. This question has never been answered or even addressed. President Bruininks?

Maybe you should explain to Dean Parente your claim that access has not been hindered by high tuition and the problem has already been taken care of by scholarships?

Whose ambitious aspirations are more important, President Bruininks, yours or those of our undergraduates?

See earlier posts on this matter:

The Student Loan Bubble

Time for MoneyBall at the University of Minnesota

Affordability at the University of Minnesota: Priorities for the Short and Long Term

Daily Calls Out U Admin on High Tuition Model


momo said...

I dont' donate to the university's fund raising campaign because I'm saving for my child's college education. I donate elsewhere.

veblen said...

I must stand up and defend the honor of Penn State. Our undergrads and their parents are deeper in hock than are yours.

A quick check of the Common Data Sets for the Twin Cities Campus of UM and the University Park Campus of Penn State for the current academic year reveals the following:

UM Twin Cities:
Average graduate indebtedness:$23,811
Total Need based loans to parents:$0
Total Non-Need based loans to parents:$14,104,063

Penn State UP:

Average graduate indebtedness:$26,800
Total Need based loans to parents:$57,615,173
Total Non-Need based loans to parents:$18,544,100

You guys are pikers, but it looks like the gang in Morrell Hall have decided to give the gang in Old Main a run for their undergrads' money.

Mr. B. said...

The whole question of what's going on here with tuition is unsettling. We need to know what the actual educational expense is per student per year. Does the tuition students pay, plus state money, cover the cost of education? If so, then the high tuition model is inappropriate.

Students should be paying for their education, not subsidizing the ambitious aspirations of others. Could we please take steps to make the educational costs transparent?

Mr. B. said...

Hi Veblen,

You may well be right. I am using the Kiplinger numbers which may not be correct. Kiplinger claims U of M: 24.9K$, Penn State: 23.5K$, and Michigan: 23.4K$. I am not exactly sure where these numbers come from.

In any event the Morrill Hall gang's claim that high tuition is being covered by increases in scholarship money is clearly bogus. And at least the CLA Dean seems to be willing to admit this.