US Education and Funding: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

 

It’s not clear whether Angelo State University is doing well or going down the pan, since it boasts extremely good statistics in some areas, yet has disastrous reports in others.  The University – a member of the Texas Tech University System – offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide variety of disciplines.  Ultimately though its mission is to prepare its students to “be responsible citizens and to have productive careers.”  While last year witnessed higher student enrollment than ever before at the educational institute, things aren’t so optimistic for those graduates trying to enter the job market in Texas’ less-than-stable economy.  In addition, those studying at ASU are struggling to survive financially.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Nonetheless, the college did receive a $5m award, to be put towards the enhancement of its programs in the following areas: engineering, math, science and technology as part of its Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status.

As noted in the Progress 2012 report, because of the nation’s economic environment, ASU lost huge state funding (totaling 10 percent from its budget) per annum.  So what did this mean for the college that was bringing in increasingly more students because it is becoming so much more attractive due to what it can offer?  It had to forfeit this privilege.  It was forced to cut over 30 positions in faculty/staff and merge two of its colleges in an effort to reduce costs.

And then things took a turn for the worse.  Looking at the 2012 edition of Best Colleges from U.S. News and World Report, ASU came in fourth in the West for regional universities with the lowest levels of debt owed by graduates.  Thus losing all this financial backing was incredibly demeaning, disappointing and yes, could even be termed ugly, as the college had worked so hard and been so successful.  In addition, its six-year graduation rate is approximately 10 to 15 percent lower than its peer institutions.

Surely there should be some kind of solution for a college such as ASU that is clearly working hard to be the best it can be, proving itself by attracting tons of students to its campus?  Why does education have to be just about money?  Why can’t it be more about student talent, faculty dedication and a constant strive for improved quality in everything being offered under its tutelage?  This is “Progress 2012”?  If that’s the case then there’s clearly something wrong with the system; the system that loses funding apparently in spite of its greater efforts and success which ultimately acts as a boomerang effect on what it has – successfully – set out to do.

About

James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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