Thursday, September 16, 2010

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Today's Daily reports that only 51% of Minnesotans consider the University to offer "good value" for their money. When asked about this, our prez stated that people overestimate the actual cost since they don't take into account financial aid. He added, “Hardly anybody knows what the cost of an airline trip from here to Seattle is too, because everybody is paying a different price.” “That’s what’s happening in higher education today … many people don’t factor in support that discounts the price of education.”

Maybe so, but there's no denying the high debt that many students incur attending UMN. So what to do about it? Maybe not raise tuition? No mention of that. Stop using our students' tuition money to subsidize the prez's grandiose projects? Noooo. The root problem is that UMN has failed to communicate effectively with the public. "Bruininks said the University needs to do a better job educating the public about the actual cost of attendance and ways students can make that cost lower for themselves, like graduating in four years or earning college credit while in high school." In other words, the concerns of Minnesotans are baseless! So little surprise that the administration is reviving the Driven to Discover television ads. Don't bother to fix the problem, just try to dupe the public!


  1. Maybe people like Bob don't know the price of a flight to Seattle because someone else is paying or it is a tiny blip on his overcompensated radar screen.

    But the rest of us do. We use Travelocity or many of the other travel aggregators, to get the best price.

    Parents of students seeking a good college education at reasonable price also can use such tools. There they will discover that the least expensive college to attend in the state of Minnesota is effectively... Macalester College. And why is that? Because they have high financial aid and the average debt at graduation is about 8K$ LESS than the U of M.

    Why is the average debt at the University of Minnesota so high, President Bruininks? Why is it $5K higher than Wisconsin and almost $10K higher than Illinois? Obviously it is the students fault because they are in no hurry to graduate? Unlike students at Wisconsin or Illinois?

    The President has been spouting this "discounted rate" malarkey for so long that apparently he is starting to believe it..

  2. The Driven to Discover hypocrisy is further lampooned in an article about bioethics in the Hastings Center Bioethics Forum by Alice Dreger - professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.


    "The University of Minnesota has issued a statement on this story. Predictably, it comes from the general counsel, and attempts to undermine the power of Elliott’s criticisms through legalistic meandering. The statement also seems to contain two basic misrepresentations. When I put those possible misrepresentations to the university spokesman named on the statement’s Web page, he responded that “Because this is a closed legal case[,] there is much I’m simply unable to discuss openly and on the record.”

    His e-mail signature line contained the University of Minnesota’s slogan: “Driven to Discover.”