Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Student Life Arms Race / Can It Be Stopped?
A new study by the Delta Project reports that the percentage of university budgets going towards instruction expenses is decreasing while tuition and net student costs are increasing. The Delta Project advocates for greater college affordability by controlling costs (read: layoffs). Going beyond the eliminate-the-climbing-wall argument, The Delta Project asks us to re-think the value of student life staples: writing centers, psychological counseling, computer labs, and student advising. But in re-thinking these amenities, I get sidetracked because I start thinking about how college students—and prospective students—simply demand that their colleges provide robust student life programming and academic support. The Delta Project’s focus on colleges’ wisdom in supplying student life features overlooks the unstoppable momentum of student demand. If one college eliminates a climbing wall, another college will create one to capture the students for whom a climbing wall is important. And apparently, there are many of them.