Professor Wolff I was wondering if you could address in more detail the funding crisis of public universities, or at least the way the universities spin this crisis. I was a graduate student at the University of Texas, a school with a very handsome endowment, and was shocked at how poor the quality of education and services were for students at all levels. For example, as a student in biomedical research, my lab was stationed in the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, a newer building near the UT campus but on the other side of I-35. A bus that shuttled students from the main campus, where graduate students like myself were to teach and take courses, to the DPRI was cut due to a lack of funds and so-called low ridership. Because the university already cut graduate student parking years ago, there are only a few parking places available in the early morning hours at the main campus. This means for graduate students doing research at the DPRI, leaving to attend classes and/or teach undergraduates on the main campus have no way to get there except by bike, not a fun prospect to cross a major highway in 108 degree heat only to show up drenched in sweat to teach undergraduates. Of course none of this even addresses the tremendous loss of time for a graduate student who is under pressure to produce data to have even the prospect of a career. I find it awfully fishy that there is always money for large-scale construction projects that do not necessarily benefit students while the most basic services that could improve students’ success are completely ignored if not slashed altogether. Where is the oversight in higher education expenditure? That students put up with this is shocking. How is this even legal? Is there any oversight at all on how funds are spent at universities? The students are certainly not benefiting from the way funds are allocated. They aren’t even given the quality lab materials necessary to complete a successful experiment, nor are they given the quality training they need to know how to do a proper experiment. The quality of education is deteriorating in spite of the new shiny buildings, pools, gyms, etc.
Where is the oversight in higher education expenditure?
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