To save money at the grocery store, people buy no-frills peanut butter and canned corn and pain reliever. To save money on a college education, should students have the option for a “no-frills” education?
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania is getting ready to experiment with such an idea.
So what does no-frills education mean? It means no sports, no extracurriculars, no student gym, limited student services, and the like. Without these “extras,” the price of education would be cheaper. School would be in session year round and would operate at an accelerated pace, and this would further keep costs down for students.
Is this a good idea?
My initial reaction is mixed, but I’m leaning tentatively towards “yes.” Kudos to Pennsylvania for thinking outside the box when it comes to the educational affordability crisis. If no-frills higher education makes it possible for more people to get college degrees, that’s terrific.
In addition, there’s already a large percentage of students out there already getting a “no-frills” education because they work too many hours to take advantage of the “extras.” These students don’t have time to join the clubs or hit the snazzy campus gym — and yet they still have to pay for these things through their student fees and inflated tuition. No-frills education would allow these students to pay for their education and only their education.
On the other hand, or course, this is sad. Do only rich kids deserve to have a college football team and fun campus activities? The college experience as a whole — extras and all — is part of the learning experience, and it’s a shame if this has become so unaffordable that many students will have to opt out. It’s also important to remember that some of these “extras” do bring revenue to the school, especially athletic programs.
Still, I think the pros outweigh the cons. What do you think?