Wednesday, November 29, 2017

US Universities Might As Well Close Now

American universities have had a good run since 1945 powered by state and federal government support as well as donations from alumni, foundations and nice folk.  In rankings US research universities occupy the first four places and 13 of the first 25.  The decrease in state funding is already hammering state schools such as the University of Wisconsin, etc.

The US Congress has applied the killer blow.  By proposing to tax tuition remission, the House of Representatives has essentially made attending graduate school a Darwin test.  Eli's friend Andy Dessler has an op ed in the San Antonia Express-News which looks at what would happen if this bill passed.

This would be a terrible policy because it would hurt one of America’s most prized and valuable possessions: excellence in advanced university research. Graduate students form the backbone of research done at universities in the U.S. When professors proudly talk about the amazing work their lab is performing, the odds are that the critical contributions were made by an army of smart, hardworking grad students.
Andy points out the many benefits to the nation of this research, and why passing this tax would be a disaster. 
Our research universities are the envy of the world. Because U.S. research is so good, students come to us from all over the world. And the U.S. benefits from this because the smartest of these people often stay here after they graduate, adding to our professional research workforce.
Sadly, that horse is already out of the barn. Even if the tuition tax is not in the final bill, international students are already forgetting US universities as places to apply to because completing their degrees with Republicans in power, and even if they are defeated is a chancy game to play with your life.

Companies that provide a tuition benefit to their employees, can rip that sucker up since the benefit might come with a tax liability.  US student contemplating graduate school or taking a job now have a simple answer, take the job, who knows if they will be able to complete the degree. 

But it gets worse, STE grad students mostly have research assistantships.  Humanities, social science and math grad students have teaching assistantships which also have tuition remission.  Who is going to take a chance on starting a degree program with the tuition tax lurking?  And without them who is going to teach the myriad sections of English and Math as well as the Chem and Physics Labs.  Undergrad instruction is going to go full sage on the stage MOOCish.

Still, there is something interesting in the proposals from the Goth-Republican caucus, a tax on university endowments for the Harvard Yales.  Now this is really a dumb idea, but it does set the stage for a wealth tax when reality set in (usual if ever clause inserted here)


William M. Connolley said...

> By proposing to tax tuition remission

The rest of the world doesn't understand your funny system. What's "tuition remission"?

jrkrideau said...

I wondered what all that singing and yelling was about down by the university. At first, I thought it was just another student party/riot but apparently it was the faculty celebrating.

I believe the university's recruiters are in the air as I type and some not so subtle sounding out of various researchers in the US, suggesting they might like to pack up their labs and their students and move to a more congenial university in a more welcoming country.

China will probably declare a national holiday if and whon ntnhe bill passes.


I'd say that just about every foreign graduate student candidate has struck the USA off their list and any number of US and foreign graduate students in the USA are looking at options outside the country.

The provision may not pass but why take the chance.

Anonymous said...

Look. 55% of Republicans now say higher education is a bad thing. Fewer than 40% support it. The p***y grabber in chief has realized that no matter what he does, his support won't drop below 35%, so all he has to do is suppress the vote a bit, and he and his fellow kleptocrats will have another 4 years to plunder the country. After his second term, he'll retire to someplace nice, and the US will be Haiti with nukes.

Mark said...

The serfs don't need education, and the aristocracy will always be able to afford it (they may study abroad).


Tax Doctor Faustus for playing the role of PC Principal in a Hasty Pudding reboot of South Park

High time government acted out the alumn's most cherished dream.

EliRabett said...

Things have changed Weasel


The fisc should forget taxing Ivy endowments- it's chump change compared to shrinking the national debt by levying a $5 Reality Tax on blog and social media comments from those claiming entitlement to their own facts.

The commentariat would remain at liberty to blather as it pleases, but their IP addresses could be pinged to the tune of a sawbuck per factoid whenever they represent as really real things that are not so.

Canman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canman said...

Governor Shellenberger will start to solve it. Then after Trump's second term, president Shellenberger will finnish it up:

Andrew said...

Russel -

The truthiness of facts will, of course, be determined by no less than the highest authority in the land - the POTUS. A $5 charge for ever thought or comment that contradicts whatever is in Trump's head at the time. Have fun.

Luckily for us Brits, our PM has no identifiable thoughts or opinions other than 'X means X' and is therefore quite impossible to contradict (indeed, the Turing Test would be an insurmountable challenge for the Maybot)..


Andrew, while you may have Question Time for fun, we have the incomparable Kellyanne and the absolutely fabulous First Family .

Barton Paul Levenson said...

The GOP has become not only the anti-science party, but the anti-education party. And they're in control for the foreseeable future.

God help the United States.


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He <a href="</a> moves in mysterious ways.</a>


Like Safari trying to interact with Blogspot
I give up

Bernard J. said...

"I'd say that just about every foreign graduate student candidate has struck the USA off their list and any number of US and foreign graduate students in the USA are looking at options outside the country."

It's already started in our tea room - the remaining Honours students still haunting the halls were discussing the state of US research and there was a strong inclination to look at Europe first.

There was also much hilarity and simultaneous despair about Trump denying that he said what he'd previously admitted to saying on the Access recording... The whole notion that someone could say such blatant crap (after doing such abhorrent crap) and still retain access to nuclear codes was unfathomable to these incredulous young people. The fact that the USA is limping along month after month, persisting in leaving such an obviously psychologically-inappropriate and criminal person as the most powerful politician in the country, is catastrophically and permanently ruining the country's standing on the world stage.

Anonymous said...

My niece--a physics grad from Berzerkley--has already fled for the Netherlands.

Oale said...

"The GOP has become not only the anti-science party, but the anti-education party. And they're in control for the foreseeable future.

God help the United States."

Uh-omm, I thought Trumpistan had the bestest and widespreadest churchial organizatioria in the world of Drumpf, so The God's help is pretty muchy guaranteened?

I guess this is a serious matter. California could possibly secede, so it could combat wildfires better and still remain a center of education and enlightment?