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Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems

statebudgetI came across an informative article the other day that detailed how the country of Zimbabwe is overcoming their funding issues for higher education. They have put into law a decree that states that any student who received state funded educational grants is required to pay Zimbabwe a third of their wages if upon graduation they decide to work in a foreign country. From what I can tell, you have to pay one-third of your salary for each year that you were in attendance at the University and make the decision to work outside of the country.  It reminds me of the time period when we used to have indentured servants…

The impetus of this legislation is to help Zimbabwe reduce a consistent “brain drain” that they have been experiencing but more importantly it is hopeful that they will be able to originate some additional funding to help support it’s current student population. Based upon their recent financial crisis the local universities have sent out memorandums to all students stating that financial aid is no longer available to students experiencing financial distress.

I am not really sure how Zimbabwe is going to enforce this mandate amongst it’s student population but the approach certainly gets an “A” for creativity.  Can you imagine if our country (or states) started implementing a similar policy for students that receive federal or state aid to help subsidize their educational expenses? I don’t think it would work at the federal level but I could see the state college systems seriously considering this approach.

Let’s do a scenario.. What if you were a student at Georgia State University for four years. If you are a resident of Georgia your total tuition expense (sticker price) would be $28,280 ($3,535 a semester x 8 semesters). However, if you were an out-of-state student your tuition expense would be $101,120 ($12,640 a semester x 8 semesters). You have to keep in mind that these figures don’t include discounting (financial aid) or yearly percentage increases in fees… I am just trying to keep the math simple. 😉

The difference between the gross in-state rate and the out-of-state rate is $72,840. That means that if you are a Georgian resident you automatically receive a substantial discount. My guess is that the great state of Georgia is hoping that you will put this deeply discounted education to good use in their state but what happens if you decide to move to Ohio after graduation. That large discount you received is now money lost for the state of Georgia because you are taking your future earning potential (and tax dollars) to Ohio. So.. if they adopted Zimbabwe’s approach, they would make you pay a third of your wages back to them for the next four years as a form of restitution for the tuition discount you received. If you made $55,000 a year for the first four years in Ohio, the state of Georgia would break even with their “investment” in you because you would be paying back approximately $18,315 a year to them (based upon the Zimbabwe approach).

Now I can’t imagine that our state college systems would ever introduce something this radical. But as budget cuts are deeper and deeper and administrators and legislators are charged with the responsibility of reducing costs or increasing revenue within the state, you could see more “out of the box” proposals like Zimbabwe’s starting to surface.

So what do you think? Do you believe that your state college system or elected officials would really entertain something like this? I assume the answer is a resounding “NO” but goofier things have happened.

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One Response to “Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems”

  1. Braedan says:

    However creative, I don’t believe this would work for us. I vote “no”. 🙂