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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force 457

Hugh Pickens writes "Jordan Weissmann writes that a task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to charge lower tuition for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers including science, technology, engineering, and math. The hope is that by keeping certain degrees cheaper than others, Florida can encourage students into fields where it needs more talent. For some, it might seem inherently unfair to send dance majors deeper into debt just to keep tuition low for engineers, who are already poised to earn more once they graduate, but task force chair Dale Brill says tax dollars are scarce, and the public deserves the best possible return from its investment in education and that means spending more generously on the students who are most likely to help grow Florida's economy once they graduate. Brill also argues that too few young people consider their career prospects carefully when picking a major. 'We're trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,' Brill says. 'Most students couldn't tell you what they pay in tuition. In economics, pricing is all we have to determine and work out supply and demand. So, when the consumer is completely separated from the cost of a product, then the cost rises.'" Remember when everyone was supposed to become an aerospace engineer and then the industry collapsed in the early 90s?
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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors, Says Florida Task Force

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:31AM (#41907159)

    [looking around nervously] Hush! No one tell him that the college biology departments are still teaching evolution.

    • by Richard Dick Head ( 803293 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:37AM (#41907229) Homepage Journal
      You'd be surprised how many Republican-leaning voters are not social conservatives at all...I'd say 1/3rd of the total...hence the mediocre showing for deeply religious candidates :D

      That being said, I paid my blood and my first born, thank you very much, and I don't support the next generation getting the free ride, particularly for students who are the most likely to have no trouble paying their loans back! This is silly popularism striking again.
      • by Dasuraga ( 1147871 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:45AM (#41907347)
        There's a difference between a free ride and a less expensive ride. Most people don't have the luxury of having their parents helping to pay, and just saying " take a loan " is what caused prices to rise as much as they have : Schools know the gov't is giving out the loans, so they raise prices without fear. Pretty much handing money over to the schools. It's hard for prices to stabilize if the consumers are given infinite buying power.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:08AM (#41907639)

          And this is another way the middle-class gets fucked -- I've seen it happen again and again. Poor students get help because their parents make less than a magic number of income. Richer kids don't have to worry about money cuz parents rich. But the middle-class students who are college material but unable to secure scholarships are either stuck getting loans or becoming a significant burden on their parents(who aren't doing as well as you'd think, especially in this economy of layoffs).

          And yeah, perhaps a student could work a full-time shit-job while putting themselves through school and graduate late and scraping by with rote memorization and a lackluster GPA instead of really learning, burned out, and missing out on what should have been one of the fondest personal and professional experience of their lives.

          -- Ethanol-fueled

          • by neonKow ( 1239288 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:23AM (#41907865) Journal

            If you think being poor and getting help is better than being middle-class and having loans, then you have never been poor before.

            You also seem to have very little idea about how the financial aid system works. The poorer you are, the more help you get. There's no "magic number" of income below which you get a bunch of grants and above which you get none.

            • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#41908487)

              If you think being poor and getting help is better than being middle-class and having loans, then you have never been poor before.

              No, but not having the incorrect ancestry and/or not having been born a male certainly doesn't hurt.

              Apparently two wrongs do make a right.

              • by nbauman ( 624611 )

                A relative of mine who is a Mexican-American female is now a science major at [big expensive school] which encouraged her to go there and assured her that, being hispanic and female, she would be able to get financial aid.

                After she got there, it turned out they didn't have any aid at all. It's now a real financial problem and she may not be able to afford next year.

                Please tell me exactly where females and hispanics studying science can get financial aid.

                No vague generalities, please. We've looked. What did

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            And yeah, perhaps a student could work a full-time shit-job while putting themselves through school and graduate late and scraping by with rote memorization and a lackluster GPA instead of really learning, burned out, and missing out on what should have been one of the fondest personal and professional experience of their lives.

            Well, I guess you have to decide what's best for you. Four or five years of fun and a pile of debt, or a more stable future which is somewhat less fun and maybe took a bit longer.

        • by captbob2002 ( 411323 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:22AM (#41907847)

          The primary reason tuition keeps going up at the STATE university I work at is that fact that the state cuts its support for higher education every damn budget cycle. Add the ever dropping state subsidy to everything else that keeps going up, like heath care coverage for employees, physical plant maintenance...but is sure ain't going onto the salaries of anyone below vice-president level.

          Nope, the availability of supposed " infinite buying power." has little to do with the cost of tuition.

          It is a shame that those highly paid administrators outsourced so many core functions so now we are over a barrel when Blackboard, IBM, or Oracle jack their rates through the roof at renewal time.

      • by thoth ( 7907 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:57AM (#41907517) Journal

        I don't support the next generation getting the free ride, particularly for students who are the most likely to have no trouble paying their loans back! This is silly popularism striking again.

        The only solution I see that satisfies this belief, is a two-fold change:

        1) Gov't backs loans up to different amounts based on the undergrad degree or area of study. Just pulling some numbers out of the air, say you major in liberal arts, max student loan is $40K. major in STEM, max student loan in $60K. major in something that feeds into business/law/medicine, max student loan is $80K. Grad degrees will work similarly.

        People will moan and groan, but the bottom line is corporations already set the value of various degrees - it's called the average starting salaries they pay. If students on permanently on-hook for their loans (can't be shed in bankruptcy proceedings, etc.) then the natural response is to limit the loan amount based on the field of study.

        2) Universities will also moan and groan, but fundamentally they aren't pricing their products fairly. Not throwing liberal arts under the bus, but every college I've heard of charges the same per credit hour, no matter what the class. Yes there are different fees for private vs public, in-state vs out-of-state, but a 3 credit history class costs the same as a 3 credit science class. Ergo, a natural change, reflecting the actual value on the degree (which is again as stated in #1, what corporations actually pay for holders of those degrees), is to charge different amount for courses. Pulling numbers out of the air again, liberal arts classes will cost $500 per credit hour, stem classes cost $800 per credit hour, whatever it works out to.

        As for your attitude towards the next generation - honestly ask if your attitude scales up to serve the entire nation.

        • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:21AM (#41907829)

          A lot of engineering schools have a surcharge for engineering courses to cover higher costs.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        WHAAAA.. WHAAAA I paid a lot so everyone else should WHAAAA.

        You should have needed to pay that much, and neither should any generation.
        You're argument overlooks all the people who couldn't become engineers and scientist due to cost.
        The future will be built on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Everything will be based on that, it's critical for global competition.

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        Why no party fission? Doesn't each side of the fundamentalism issue think their party would be better off without the other side?

        Is it just a matter of each one thinking the other should have to give up the trademark, because they don't want to have to establish their own brand (which is very expensive)?

        I wonder if Republicans could be persuaded to back election reform (e.g. approval voting) at their state and local levels, so that elections could support multiple parties. If they would be willing to work

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You'd be surprised how many Republican-leaning voters are not social conservatives at all ...I'd say 1/3rd of the total...

        No, I'm just surprised at how little influence they seem to have over the party. Fiscal conservatism, that makes plenty of sense to me. Social conservatism makes absolutely no sense to me. But it's all the republicans seem to be serious about on at the national level, gay marriage and abortion. I thought after W that "Cut taxes, worry about cutting spending when it's someone else's problem" would have run it's full course. Yet even with the debt ceiling and other issues, the party wasted it in favor of

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:42AM (#41907297)

      Great idea. Wrong implementation. There are many pitfalls with making science degrees cheaper, like for example what happens when you switch majors?

      The best implementation for this is to leave tuition prices alone and reward students who graduate with a degree in a preferred field and who then go on to work in that field with loan forgiveness. So for instance, if you get a CS degree from the University of Central Florida (like I did in '91), every year you work in the CS field you would fill out a form and the government would pay off a certain dollar amount of your student loans, up to a prescribed maximum. Say for instance they pay off $2500 a year in loans for 10 years.

      • like for example what happens when you switch majors?

        Good point. I bet everyone will be a science major for their first few semesters of gen ed stuff. Not a freshman to be seen in other majors. Of course, there will also be a lot of people suddenly switching majors after their first 2-3 semesters of cheap tuition...

        • So then gen-ed stuff should be at a lower cost... often times it is, and available thru community colleges (or renamed former community colleges).

          $300 for ENC1101 at Santa Fe, vs. $600 at UF ...


      • Great idea. Wrong implementation. There are many pitfalls with making science degrees cheaper, like for example what happens when you switch majors?

        After you have a couple of semesters of credits in science and math? Mission accomplished.

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        I agree that the implementation is poor, but your proposal might not help much either. Imagine a student two years in who discovers he can't hack the chemistry major, but knows he can do well in business administration. If he was taking his loans out counting on the payback, he's stuck and doesn't want to risk changing majors, even though that would be the best outcome for everyone.

        I think it's better to do nothing and let the market decide. Few people going into a dance program can realistically expect a

    • by mellon ( 7048 )

      Also supporting picking winners (or at least winning industries). A foolish consistency is, after all, the hobgoblin of small minds...

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        I agree. What we should do instead is make college educations affordable for all.

        • Do you want to lower costs, or do you want your tax dollars going to tuition for interpretive dance majors?

          • Having that diversity where we CAN fund the arts is really important to my enjoyment of life, although I am employed in a math/science field. A lot of cool things happen because artists think of and create new and wonderful things, and part of developing more artists is funding a formal education for them.

            Also, I think in a lot of cases, any college education at all is really helpful to people and to society, even if they don't end up making interpretive dance as their career. In any case, it's not like the

            • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:12PM (#41910627) Homepage

              I'd have to agree. I'd rather see the 'state' fund interpretive basket weaving and make higher education open to as many people as can hack it. Yes, there will be waste - English PhD's waiting on tables and whatnot. That's OK, there is more to life than the paycheck.

              If nearly universal post secondary education does absolutely nothing other than improve the general political discourse in this country, it will be absolutely worth it (and I think there are several other important advantages). You cannot help steer this society through the 21st Century with a 14th Century mindset.

        • There's radio ads here in California targeted at families making $75K a year or more to help their kids get onto colleges of their choice by... doing something. Not sure what. It almost sounds like PR consulting for kids so they have the right array of trendy things in high school. That actually bothers me more than tuition. With such an emphasis on extracurricular activities many universities seem to be hell bent on filtering out certain personality types when they have no damned business giving a flying f

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        This isn't pick wining industry, it makes the foundation for ALL industries easier to get into.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:34AM (#41907199)
    I know this is a huge shock, but if you made higher education more reasonably priced, maybe we would have more reasonably priced services in fields where you have to pay 10+ years of schooling.
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      Everything should be lower priced! Amirite?

    • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:24AM (#41907891)

      Tuition should be zero. It works in Germany.

      • by tilante ( 2547392 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:01PM (#41908343)
        While we're at it, abandoning the idea that everybody needs a college degree, and having apprenticeship programs for fields where that makes sense. Those also have worked well in Germany.
      • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @01:20PM (#41909253)

        Just to throw a bit of rain on the parade: you can't just say "Free school for everyone!" without doing everything else that Germany is doing.
        #1: University is for the brainiacs. Technical school is for mechanics and electricians. Apprenticeship is for the ones who need a job now, can hold on to a wrench and are willing to learn.
        #2 Heavily subsidized child care. You can go to school and raise a family.
        #3 Subsidized or communitized housing.
        #4 Schools that are generally ok, but where there is little stratification. You won't get a Harvard/Stanford/MIT/Berkeley, but you also won't get University of Phoenix.

        I love the German system to death, but you can't just import the tuition system into the US, and think that everything will work out the same. You need to import the attitude and the attendant support systems as well.

      • Germany used to have free university education and liberal financial aid, but that was back when only a few percent of Germans went to university. Back then, your primary school teachers effectively decided whether you'd be able to go to university a decade later.

        Today, many German universities do charge tuition. Furthermore, most Germans don't get financial aid for living expenses. There is a student loan program, loans are partially subsidized, and many Germans are left with student loan debt.

        Does the sys

  • ...and this was the first URL that showed up [].

    I do not know enough about this, but still found this curious.
  • by samazon ( 2601193 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:39AM (#41907249)
    Changing the cost of tuition is going to lead to some really nasty battles in the school and political systems. Easy solution: make the grants available for STEM students. My out of pocket tuition was zero because I had scholarships and grants and worked hard.
    • Grants would only apply to state residents. This solution would apply regardless of the home state of the student. Thus this solution can draw in STEM students from other states which is a boon for Florida since if you have the business environment to support those graduates then you can keep them in state rather than losing them to another.

      • This solution would be totally unfair to people who are studying to be teachers, nurses, social workers, news reporters and a whole host of other essential non-STEM careers. I know the world isn't fair, but if this goes into effect, there will be a shitstorm. You cannot have "selective pricing" of tuition in a public institution for specific fields, especially if it is perceived that they are white-male-dominated fields. Also, what happens if someone changes their major?
        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          "ou cannot have "selective pricing" of tuition in a public institution for specific fields
          That already happens. How many STEM course are 4 to 6 credits? how many class in those other fields you list?

          STEM is ALREADY more expensive then other fields.
          All the other fields you list can be achieved with s STEM based degree.

          • General tuition for state institutions where I live means that you can take between 12 and 19 hours per semester for the same cost. Over that is an extra $200 or so per hour. Which meant that I took six 3-hour liberal arts courses per semester (18 hours). I could have, however, taken three science courses per semester (with labs) for the same amount of hours (six) or a combination thereof. Single-hour courses (requisite phys ed, volunteer work, etc.) is even covered within general tuition. You only pay "ext
            • Yeah, it is different in Florida. State universities charge per semester hour, so the more hours your degree requires, the more you have to pay... and most STEM degrees require more hours than the standard requirement. On the other hand, though, it's not a lot more - usually something like an additional 8 to 10 semester hours over the general requirement of 160, so it's only about 5-10% more total.

              Honestly, the big thing that irks me in Florida schools is the "athletic fee". At FSU, at least, all studen

  • should be glad. Strong STEM education is the foundation for a robust economy, which gives people the extra money to go see their dance performances. Would they rather be debtless and unemployed?

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:42AM (#41907291)

    Shouldn't schools charge more for degrees that cost more? Science requires expensive labs.

    Now if institutions, both public and private, want to subsidize those costs, that would seem to be a more economics-based approach.

    • Re:Wrong economics? (Score:4, Informative)

      by mellon ( 7048 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:55AM (#41907481) Homepage

      What you are describing is unbridled free market economics, not economics. It's a common misconception that unbridled free market economics is the only kind there is, but this is not actually the case. What is being described in TFA is an incentive-based economic system, where government decides which industries are most likely to need new workers in ten years, and provides incentives for students to learn the skills they need to get jobs in those industries.

      I hate to say it, but I think that a better plan would be to continue with the current system, where we don't ask the government to predict the future, and instead let students decide what to do, but make sure that whatever decision they make doesn't lock them into a career, as we currently do, by maximizing their post-college debt. The best thing to do, IOW, is to minimize the cost of making a mistake. If you get a degree in biochem, and later realize that there are far too many people with those degrees, you ought to be able to spend another couple of years in school, building on your first degree, to get a second one that's more useful.

      The way it works right now, unless you have substantial financial resources, if you blow it and choose the wrong career track, you wind up waiting tables to pay off your giant student loans.

      • This reminds me of the healthcare debate, where most of the discussion seems to be about who pays what, various neat ideas for handling the funding, etc. Yet when people look at how much of whose time people use, as they take advantage of these two services, the amount of the bill is totally out of whack with expectations, and looks very weird next to pretty much every other industry, except for maybe defense/aerospace where you expect immense waste and corruption.

        You could hire a personal valet who would

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:45AM (#41907353)

    If you want Americans to study STEM, you need to provide jobs for them. Why get a degree in engineering just to train to your H1B replacement, or to have you job offshored.

    • Wish I had a million mod points for you, sir.

    • by dejanc ( 1528235 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:04AM (#41907603)

      If you want Americans to study STEM, you need to provide jobs for them. Why get a degree in engineering just to train to your H1B replacement, or to have you job offshored.

      As somebody who was once an H1B (or the way I like to think of myself: a human being making his living), I noticed how recently there is a lot of anti-immigration sentiment on Slashdot. Referring to somebody by their immigration status is just not nice. It seems H1B is the new buzzword here spoken with attitude described for "Okies" in The Grapes of Wrath.

      College educated people who come to USA to work really don't deserve that kind of attitude. They go there either because they like America enough or because they can't make decent living elsewhere and both causes are respectable.

      I respect that you may think immigrant engineers are lowering your hourly rate and robbing you of the job you were entitled to, but please keep in mind that it's a sign of proper upbringing to value all people equally regardless of where they were born.

      You just had your elections and neither one of two major presidential candidates talked in support of labor rights and collective bargaining. If these issues are not important enough for Americans, then it would be nice to refrain from bashing "H1Bs" whenever they get a chance.

      It's not about political correctness, it's about politeness and respect of other human beings who want the same thing as you do: to work and be respected for who they are, regardless of where they were born. I wish all slashdotters to never be in a situation where they have to choose between their work being valued appropriately (i.e. working in a foreign country) or not being referred to by their visa code.

      P.S. I apologize for using your post for this rant.

      • College educated people who come to USA to work really don't deserve that kind of attitude. They go there either because they like America enough or because they can't make decent living elsewhere and both causes are respectable.

        The former reason is fine, but the latter, not so much. White relocating due to economic necessity is understandable, often people from other cultures do not seem to want to assimiliate to any degree. Note that I do not expect people to give up their heritage, but far too many time

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dejanc ( 1528235 )

          Don't tell me what I should think; if you try that in mixed company here in the states in person you may get your ass handed to you post-haste.

          I am asking you to consider my arguments when you decide what to think. I don't know about company that you keep, but people I like usually don't hand one's ass to one just because they don't like their views.

          Now, onto the H1-B thing: I do believe it is used to drive down wages. For this reason, I think a new type of probationary visa that runs for a year should be used, and if the worker (in a LEGITIMATELY understaffed field) performs well, they should be offered citizenship, full stop. They either then accept US citizenship, or leave.

          That's how it pretty much already works. To quote Wikipedia []: It allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status t

      • by BVis ( 267028 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:56AM (#41908279)

        I don't think people here really resent the people who come here on H1B visas, I think they resent the way the system for H1Bs is set up.

        A foreign-educated engineer who comes to the USA on an H1B visa cannot be faulted for wanting to have a better standard of living than they would otherwise have access to in their native country. That's what used to be called the "American Dream"; we are, after all, a nation of immigrants. But there are problems with the system as it currently exists:

        1) Employers do not pay H1B visa holders the same amount as native workers. They're supposed to, but they don't, because :
        2) H1B visa holders are beholden to their employers for the opportunity to continue to live here. All employees are at a significant disadvantage to their employers in the USA, but a native worker exercising the only real right they have in employment conditions (finding another job and quitting) does not face immediate deportation. Also, employees that complain about working conditions get fired, so H1B visa holders don't complain about mistreatment, legal or otherwise. A right that you cannot assert is not a right.
        3) The employer, not an impartial (government or otherwise) agency is allowed to determine what the "prevailing wage" is for a given position.
        4) Enforcement of existing rules intended to protect both native workers and H1B visa holders is largely ineffective, and that's if the regulating authorities even hear about the violations; see 2) above.
        5) H1B visas are intended to allow employers to hire for positions that they cannot find native workers for. However, there is significant evidence [] to suggest that there is no actual shortage of native workers in the fields that H1B visa holders traditionally see the most use. The truth is, that employers COULD fill these positions with native workers (as there are more than enough native workers to fill the open positions in a given field) but would rather use H1B visa holders to save money and exploit their willingness to put up with substandard treatment.
        6) There is a phenomenon of foreign agencies sending workers over here to gain experience in how an American business is run, then repatriating them in order to encourage American companies to outsource to cheaper foreign labor.

        • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:34PM (#41910873)
          tl;dr version is that the H1B program short-circuits the natural market dynamic: Shortage of engineers -> salaries for engineers increases -> more kids study to become engineers -> more engineers -> salaries for engineers decreases.

          The much larger pool of foreign engineers acts like an electrical ground at a lower potential (lower salary expectation). The H1B program shorts the above system by connecting it to that ground. Perpetually low engineer salaries -> lack of incentive for native students to enter engineering fields -> lack of native engineers -> (perverse) rationale for expanding the H1B program.

          People make verbal arguments which try to explain why the above doesn't happen. But if you model it as a control system it's pretty obvious what the steady state response is. Unfortunately almost none of our lawmakers have engineering backgrounds so have no clue what my previous sentence means. They get swayed by the verbal argument instead.

          The one benefit the H1B program does bring is that it encourages skilled foreign workers to immigrate to the U.S. It's just that while that's a laudable goal with all other things remaining constant, it mostly defeats its own purpose if it reduces the number of native-born students entering engineering fields.
    • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      You might be right about that. However, have you ever considered off-shoring yourself. Yes, I know, in the long run that will not help the US, as you would leave the country, which would cause a brain drain, which results in even worse economics. However, on a personal perspective it still might be a good idea. For example, due to the present crisis in Spain a lot of Spanish people move to Germany, as this is (at the moment and only for the moment) a thriving economy compared to its neighbors. Maybe you hav

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:47AM (#41907371)
    Did he just say they were trying to introduce "market dynamics" by artificially tinkering with tuitions?
    • Yes. Perhaps you didn't understand his point that the cost is the same for the liberal arts student as it is for the engineer. The engineer is likely in more demand than the liberal arts student. His argument is that they should pay less because in theory there should be more people going after those degrees. When everyone pays the same tuition some students think "I might as well take all these recreational studies classes, they are a blast!" And don't pursue in demand degrees. While I don't necessari
  • There should be no government funding in education that's how the prices would fall, once every Jim, Tom and Sally can no longer afford going to college for a sociology major, because no bank would give them a loan to go for such a useless degree. All of a sudden without government guaranteed loans there are only people going to college that can afford it and tuitions fall in price.

    As tuitions fall in price, people once again can afford college by working summer jobs as they have done for decades before gov

    • A paper and pencil study, like education, math or sociology costs about € 3000 per year, while engineering and sciences with a lot of lab work go up to € 10000 or more. At least in Germany that is. If you stop having sociology, this would have no effect on the cost of all the other topics available at a university. However, you would not be able to study computer science and sociology together, because there wouldn't be any good sociology teacher left. Thanks god, we (in the upper mentioned countr

  • 'We're trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,' Brill says.

    Really? Well, in high school I took AP Calculus, AP Music Theory and AP Computer Science. My freshman year in college, I took 20-24 credits each semester to continue on the paths to majoring in those fields. In fact, I took two more semesters of music theory. But then came the time when many of my general requirements were completed and I needed to specialize in one of these majors. I loved them all with a passion but realized I didn't have the time or money to do all three. So, being from an below po

  • STEM degrees, as well as law and medical doctorals help people from low-income backgrounds and families have rich and successful lives.

    I've seen and worked with many people who came from humble beginnings growing up and putting themselves through college for that engineering degree or medical degree has surely helped them have the rich life they now have.

    By rich I don't mean just money, but stability, low stress, etc. - it sure makes life easier.

    I'm also one of them. Partially put my self through school wi

  • what about cutting the # of filler / required class for all Major's to cut costs???

    I think lot's stuff can be slimmed down to 2-3 years. As well added more trades / tech school based planes to the schooling.

    IT / Tech can use less classroom time (at least in the up front) part and more apprenticeships and on going classes (not tied down to the college time table)

  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    I think this would work great if the STEM shortage wasn't a complete myth. Go chat with people with bachelors in STEM subjects as they're putting foam in your latte and get their perspective. Or with STEM post-docs on year 10 of making 30k a year.
  • We aren't using the technical people we have. Why subsidize the production of more? It just gives employers more candidates to reject.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:09AM (#41907663)

    If Florida employers are demanding these degrees, they can pay more for holders of those degrees. Instead, this proposal allows employers to justify lower pay for holders of those subsidized degrees.

    Yet another "free market" proposal from a Tea Party politician.

  • Economics! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:09AM (#41907665)

    The economic incentive for a STEM major is STEM jobs. Full stop.

    If those jobs aren't being filled, the jobs are paying too low of a rate for the market. This is a straight up manipulation of the labor supply in order to lower prices.

  • by funkylovemonkey ( 1866246 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:13AM (#41907719)
    First of all, this isn't introducing "market forces," this is government trying to control the market. Government has proven that it is terrible at predicting the direction the market will be going in the future. It's one of the fundamental flaws of communism. Government is simply not nimble enough to respond to market forces that can easily change on a dime. Do you think that the people pushing this bill know that journalism degree holders between the age 22 and 26 have a lower unemployment rate then mechanical engineers in the same age group? It's 7.7% to 8.6%. But a law like this would attempt to steer students away from journalism and into the mechanical engineer profession without any idea of the data because a bill like this is all about encouraging the STEM fields. Whether they need it or not. The second thing is that government and elected officials, who would be making these decisions, are susceptible to "influence" by lobbying groups backed by companies who may not have the best interest of the upcoming student at heart. If you're a company that can convince schools to flood the market with engineers, for instance, then you are able to leverage lower wages for those engineers because their skill set becomes less unique in the marketplace. The net result being an influx of engineers who are more likely to be unemployed and who make less because companies can afford to pay them less.
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby@comc[ ].net ['ast' in gap]> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:25AM (#41907899)

    There's no point in training people in STEM jobs when as a country we're actively killing the market for STEM in the US. Students from other countries come over here for best in world education, and then leave.

    The reason behind all of this is that STEM jobs are outsourced and sent overseas. Worse yet is that companies can get tax breaks for doing so!

  • by Larry_Dillon ( 20347 ) <dillon,larry&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:55AM (#41908263) Homepage

    Science majors in high-demand fields should be given subsidized loads because they are likely to get good paying jobs and will be able to pay off the loans. What the science majors are doing is going to directly benefit themselves the most.

    What we should be doing is given lower tuition to liberal arts majors that are unlikely to get good paying jobs. Their degrees benefit society (by way of having an educated, informed electorate) more than the degree holder.

    Before you mod me down, realize that this is the position of (conservative/libertarian and award-winning economist) Milton Friedman.

  • by minstrelmike ( 1602771 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:09PM (#41932587)
    The economics of college degrees has always been suspect--charging the same tuition for degrees which are valued differently in the marketplace.
    OF course, subsidizing the degrees which bring in the most money to the student--science--is exactly backward but that's what you get from folks who don't understand economics (which seems to be most voters and thus most politicians).

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein