Is Tuition by Major a Good Idea?
A Florida state task force on education has just released a recommendation to adjust tuition, by major.
“Tuition would be lower for students pursuing degrees most needed for Florida’s job market, including ones in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as the STEM fields,” writes Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Students in other majors — psychology and the performing arts, for example — would pay more. “The purpose would not be to exterminate programs or keep students from pursuing them. There will always be a need for them,” Dale Brill, the task force chair, told Travis. “But you better really want to do it, because you may have to pay more.”
Here‘s how Alex Taborrak (of Marginal Revolution) sees the plan:
The task force has the right idea but the right way to target subsidies is not to the job market per se (let alone Florida’s job market), wages already reflect job market needs. Subsidies instead should be targeted to fields where education has the greatest positive spillovers, benefits that spill over wages and flow to the public at large. Overall, this likely means subsidizing the STEM fields more than anthropology which is why the taskforce has the right idea. If the task force wants to explain the idea, however, they should make it clear that the goal is to focus subsidies on those fields where education most benefits the taxpayer.
Readers, what do you think?