Oct 262009
Authors: Josh Phillips, Ian Bezek

CSU has right to privatize

By Josh Phillips

The typical student views his or her higher education experience as a right rather than a privilege. When I have criticized certain classroom policies in the past, other students have often told me to view college as a blessing rather than a “product.” They tend to forget that they’re paying for something in return.

As with every product, education must be delivered by somebody willing to invest the time and money to generate it. CSU is a business, just like King Soopers or Best Buy. If the cost to produce and ship flat-screen TV’s goes up, Best Buy is going to transfer those costs to the customer.

We’re seeing the same thing here. If CSU’s costs go up, the price of their product goes up regardless of how much the students fight it. If CSU decides to carry out this decision, our only choices as students are to either fork out the cash or stop attending.

And even if CSU decides to raise tuition based solely on selfish rather than practical reasons, they are still well within their rights to do so. I, too, am frustrated and disgusted by the constant price gouging we experience at this institution, but to expect them to base their business model on the constraints of my values is silly.

It is well within our rights, however, to take our business elsewhere, and I wouldn’t be surprised if CSU’s enrollment severely decreases if they take this route.

It would be unfortunate to see Colorado’s first and only land-grant college turn into an over-priced school reserved for the snobby elite class, but we would be overstepping our bounds if we attempted to tell CSU how to run its business.

Let’s explore other options first

By Ian Bezek

As a libertarian, I find the idea of privatizing anything, be it the postal service, Amtrak or schools exciting. And Josh has a fair point in saying that CSU has a right to privatize.

But, privatization is a step too far, at least at this juncture. Particularly of concern is the idea that CSU could jack up tuition to private university levels within the next two or three years, thus dumping a tremendous burden on Freshmen already attending CSU.

It’s one thing to tell prospective students that tuition will rise sharply, it’s a whole different matter to catastrophically raise tuition after a student has already moved to Fort Collins to attend our university. It’s called a bait and switch, and it isn’t right.

But, things can’t always be right. I understand that CSU is struggling mightily in managing its finances, and something must be done.

It’s unlikely that Colorado will resume providing higher levels of funding for CSU anytime soon as our state tax revenues circle the drain with the economic recession continuing to deepen.

That said, privatization is still a radical option, making the cost of tuition out of reach for many Colorado families. For now, let’s try to cut costs elsewhere – the building program comes to mind – and keep our options open.

While privatization may be the right option for CSU in the end, we don’t want to be making rash decisions due to an economic crisis.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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