Some state colleges and universities have started charging different undergraduate tuition rates depending on what the student decides to major in. Business majors at the University of Wisconsin pay $500 more each semester than do their liberal arts peers. Graduate schools have been doing this for years: Law school and med school tuition tends to be more per term than, say, an advanced degree in comparative literature. But is it fair?
Starting this fall, juniors and seniors pursuing an undergraduate major in the business school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will pay $500 more each semester than classmates. The University of Nebraska last year began charging engineering students a $40 premium for each hour of class credit.
And Arizona State University this fall will phase in for upperclassmen in the journalism school a $250 per semester charge above the basic $2,411 tuition for in-state students.
Journalism??! Since when does journalism earn the big bucks? When’s the last time someone you know said, “Yeah, I’m making good money, but it’s not newspaper money…” ? (Anyway…)
On the one hand, most of these majors lead to more lucrative careers, so students are getting greater value from their education than some of their peers. But colleges acknowledge that lower-income kids may be getting shut out of the bigger-money career tracks because of “price sensitivity” to the higher tuition rates.
So: Fair or not?