Some public universities are now starting to vary tuition according to your major.
The schools claim that academic pursuits such as math, science and business cost more to teach, so those students should pay a higher tuition than, say, a communications major. Science majors may also have lab fees, equipment fees and extra textbook fees added to their total college costs.
Over 140 universities are already using what's called "differential tuition plans," including Univ. of Illinois, Iowa State Univ., Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville, and our own state university, Rutgers. Other schools considering making the move include Univ. of Florida, Florida State, Stony Brook, Univ. of Maryland, UCLA and Cal Berkeley.
Does this make sense?
As you know, I tend to be somewhat cynical in these matters, and my suspicious side says this is just a clever way for the universities to sneak in another tuition increase without calling it a tuition increase.
Sort of like the airlines charging for baggage.
My suspicions aside, I thought we were trying to encourage students to study math and science. If anything, I would argue that math and science majors should pay less - not more. Shouldn't we be showing them a carrot, not a stick?
Clearly, I have no future as an economist - or as a college administrator.