Friday, March 11, 2005

Letter to my state senator

Dear Senator Wentworth:

The runaway tuition increases announced by the University of Texas regents could have been predicted easily enough--but now some of our legislators are shocked, to the extent perhaps of shaking their wattles from side to side vigorously, that the regents feel that state universities have been given a green light to screw the middle class, or, more politely, charge what the market will bear.

It would appear, though, with privatization of our public universities, that the regents were just thinking, perhaps logically, that we are finally on the road to Republican nirvana, with a flagship university that will one day cost as much as Harvard, but will continue to subsidize a football team that occasionally beats Nebraska, and a coach whose salary is higher than that of the president of our fine Homeland.

Let me commend you for swimming against the tide, in the matter of tuition increases, however futile this may be. The middle class in Texas deserve a break.

I confess a certain self interest. My daughter, a recent graduate of UT, is thinking of grad school or law school, possibly at UT, and given that my teacher retirement pension does not increase as fast as tuition (indeed, does not increase at all, last time I looked), these greater-than-inflation tuition hikes certainly burden her with a potentially ugly mortgage on her future, at the outset of her working life, and will somewhat straiten my own circumstances as well.

Please continue to do what you can to dampen the enthusiasm of the UT regency for sucking the blood out of its students, and, equally to the point, the parents of its students.


Jim McCulloch

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