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Universities: Too Big To Fail?

New Mexico move a market signal that higher education bubble closer to bursting
Universities: Too Big To Fail?

News from the world of education reform:

New Mexico’s high school juniors would be required to apply to at least one college or show they have committed to other post-high school plans as part of a new high school graduation requirement being pushed by two state lawmakers.

The proposal is scheduled for its first legislative hearing on Thursday. If it eventually becomes law, New Mexico would be the first state to require post-high school plans of students, said Jennifer Zinth, who is the director of high school and STEM research at the Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based group that tracks education policy.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, a Republican, and Daniel Ivey-Soto, a Democrat, would make it mandatory for public school juniors to apply to at least one two- or four-year college. Exceptions would be made for students who can prove they have committed to military service, a vocational program, or work upon graduation in an apprenticeship or internship. Parents and school guidance counselors would have to approve of the students’ plans.

The reader who sends this works in higher education. He writes:

This is the bottom line:

The measure was drafted with the aim of reversing declines in college enrollment across the state, which fell nearly 14 percent from 155,065 enrolled students in 2010 to 133,830 in 2016.

This shows that the higher education bubble is real. Who the hell is the state to demand this? Public schools are something the state offers so that people who think that college is worth their time and money can benefit from them. Clearly, fewer students think it is worth it than before. Is the state so generous and philanthropic, so full of goodwill to men that it is going to, in Rousseau’s words, force these kids to be free?

Going to college is not an obligation for being a good citizen. If it is, then the state should make it free–and also admit that their secondary schools are not doing their job of adequately preparing students to be good citizens. Of course this has nothing to do with good citizenship or cultivating the mind. It has everything to do with money. Like all the other major universities, the universities in New Mexico have been riding the bubble and leveraging their finances on the illusion of continual increase in enrollment. These universities cannot stay solvent without constant growth in attendance; they are effectively business corporations now. This is a recipe for financial disaster. When enrollment not only fails to increase but drops, the universities are in grave danger.

Remember Missouri after students decided they did not want to attend a school run by SJWs?

New Mexico education is likewise being fiscally devastated by drops in enrollment. The enrollment is declining at 2% and has declined 9% since 2012.

New Mexico is a poor state, so if there are fewer bodies in classes paying tuition, the state will have trouble making up the difference and so the budget is going to suffer. (There is a certain amount of irony in that they have been funding scholarships using the state lottery–a voluntary tax the mathematically-incompetent levy on themselves.)


I would love to know how much of UNM’s budget goes to faculty versus administrative overhead, but we all know that administrative costs have inflated the cost of higher education. These administrators have also run universities like for-profit businesses and so I do not feel that sorry for them: when you dance with the devil . . . That is, if you choose to live by the free market, you are choosing to die by it. Or at least that is what normally happens.

When people no longer want the product of a private corporation, they stop buying it and the corporation dies. But universities, despite recent appearances, are not really private corporations, they are a monstrous hybrid preserving the worst of both the public and private sector.

Crossing orcs with goblin men was bad, but not nearly so foul a craft by which the bureaucrat and businessman were bred to produce the university administrator, a rent-seeker of the highest order. These damn businesses won’t die. As part of the government, they are too big too fail so if push comes to shove, the government will force you to apply to them.

What do you think? Is this a sign of the bubble that everybody has been afraid of popping? Let’s hear from professors, college administrators, students and others. What are you seeing where you are?



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