On Television: The Solution For Higher Education Is…Spend More Money?


Here’s the video from my appearance yesterday on 6:30 Point of View’s Friday roundtable discussion. My fellow guests were Former staffer for Senator Byron Dorgan Nathan Berseth and High Plains Reader columnist Ed Raymond.

We discussed pipelines and the Supreme Court’s ruling on requiring a search warrant before cops can thumb through your phone (and what that might mean for the inevitable SCOTUS challenge the NSA’s domestic spying), but the hottest area of debate was easily the higher education issue.

Raymond, in particular, was adamant that the problem with higher education is that we’re not spending enough money. That’s why universities have been forced to raise tuition for the students. Because the state just isn’t being generous enough with the campuses.

Which is total bunk. Here’s a comparison of taxpayer appropriations to student enrollment for North Dakota over the last decade, created by Legislative Council. As you can see, one line is flat and the other most certainly isn’t:


What’s tiresome is this idea that every problem in higher education can be fixed with more funding, as if there were never any justification for taking a long and hard look at how the universities are spending the money they’re already receiving from the taxpayers and the students.

I can’t speak for higher education in other parts of the country, but here in North Dakota taxpayers are shelling out a lot more – roughly a half billion dollars – to educate not that many more students all while aggressive tuition increases have been the norm.

That’s a problem, and it certainly doesn’t jibe with Raymond’s argument.