Governor is not pushing a copy-cat proposal

We should explore op-tions to lower tuition and make education more about students.

The Minnesota Daily’s recent series of articles regarding Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal to change the way higher education is funded seems to skew the governor’s true intentions.

As discussed, the Colorado plan offers an alternate plan to funding higher education that is specific to its own state. Colorado is offering students roughly $2,000 as vouchers that would follow the student to the institution of his or her choice, rather than funding the bureaucratic business of universities.

The Colorado plan is innovative but is complicated and perhaps not the best way to enhance its higher-education system – the obvious flux of paperwork and even potentially the inflation of tuition prices is not the best way to go about changing higher education.

But I agree with the governor in exploring the options of how to improve the quality of higher education and lowering the costs for the student as well. I say we reject the Colorado plan, but acquire insight and inspiration from its ingenuity, and that is exactly what the governor is proposing.

As introduced in the Colorado plan, the idea of having money follow students, instead of going straight into the bottomless pockets of major universities, isn’t such a bad idea. If colleges and universities have to market students to stimulate enrollment instead of expecting students to pay big bucks when the costs of their tuition is going to the “greater good” of the money monster of the university, the interests of students would surely be better represented.

Of course, University President Bob Bruininks and other school officials think that the Colorado plan is a bad idea because the University, like any school nowadays, is run as a business. Our school receives millions from the state every year, and when that sum is taken away, the University might actually have to cater to the needs of students.

The governor is not proposing that Minnesota acts as a copy cat to Colorado’s plan, but he is suggesting that we explore similar ways to fund our postsecondary education system. I applaud the ingenuity of our governor because I, too, feel there has to be a way in which tuition prices are decreased and the interests of students better served.

Erin Coghlan is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]