Gabi Madden, For The Miami Student

When you first came to college, chances are it was because you wanted to get ahead in life, but what you may not have realized was how expensive college can be.

Former Miami University president and recent author James Garland said he realizes how expensive college is and he believes the system isn’t working.

“When I went to college, pretty much anyone could go if they wanted,” Garland said. 

Now, however, Garland said the expenses of a good education make it much harder for just anyone to go. He said he believes students are paying more and more and getting less and less.

Miami junior Terri Boggess doesn’t completely agree.

“I agree we are paying too much for college,” Boggess said. “We’re getting a good education … we are just overpaying for it.”

In his time, Garland said, students would get summer jobs to pay for college. Now, he said, students can’t get a summer job to pay for education because tuition has increased so much. Going to college means second mortgages or just not going at all.

In his recent book, Saving Alma Mater, Garland discusses the challenges of the current higher education system. He said state funding is simply not cutting it anymore and there just isn’t any more money to be had as people cannot afford to pay higher taxes. He also said universities need to go through some changes themselves.

“I believe public universities are among the least efficient institutions in America,” Garland said.

Garland said these inefficiencies are because the universities are being forced to make cutbacks and aren’t always using the money they do have for the right things.

“Like it or not, money drives academic quality,” Garland said.

In his book, Garland also discusses things he believes will strengthen the current higher education system. One of his suggestions is tuition increases. He said increasing the cost of education by approximately $5,000 will give students who are less fortunate an opportunity to attend a great university.  The less fortunate students could get the money from state funds and the wealthier students could pay the extra $5,000 out of their pockets.  The wealthier students can afford it and probably won’t even be bothered by having to pay more, Garland said.

Senior Nate Duncan said he doesn’t think this is a good idea.

“I think that would compound the original problem that education costs too much,” Duncan said. “How do you fix the problem of cost by having people pay more?”

Garland’s book goes into even greater detail about what he feels the issues are and how they can be fixed. Whatever the remedy, he does stress that change be made quickly.

“The universities are running out of time,” Garland said. “They’re simply running out of time.”

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