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Cash Cow and Funding

Dasenbrock’s article tackles the issue of higher education
during a time of economic hardship.  This
article discusses the financial aspect of higher education.  Is the money that is appropriated for higher
education being allocated in the most appropriate way?  An interesting statistic that Dasenbrock
discusses is the number of students enrolled in higher education.  Even though the country has suffered through
economic hardships, the number of students enrolled in college continues to
rise.  While these numbers are rising,
state funding for the institutions is in decline.  One wonders how institutions can continue to
function at an elite level when there are more students and less money.  What is the trade-off?  What is the first major element of education
that will be lost due to the loss of major funding?


My favorite parts of this article were the examples that
Dasenbrock used to illustrate his point concerning the cash cow.  Besides learning how Post-It Notes came into
being, his example of 3M products helped to clearly explain his point.  A cash cow is a product that will
consistently produce financial gains.  A
cash cow is something that a business can rely on to help fund other business
ventures.  Are undergraduate programs
cash cows?  Can they consistently provide
funding for more prestigious programs?
I gathered from Dasenbrock’s information that under the current formula
for financial spending, undergraduate programs are not cash cows and cannot be
treated as such.  Undergraduate programs
cannot be financially abused in order to help finance graduate programs.  Funding has to be allocated in a more
appropriate manner in order to maximize the efficiency of higher education.


I do not know much about the hierarchy of higher education
teaching, so this was an interesting article to help explain the process a bit
better.  On page 208, Dasenbrock
discusses the course load for graduate programs.  He stated that a reason faculty members want
more graduate programs is because of the lower teaching load.  He has a negative view towards the current
balance between teaching and writing.
According to Dasenbrock, there appears to be a gray area on the cost of
lower teachings loads.  Are these lower
teacher loads financially beneficial or harmful for the institutions?  Dasenbrock seems to believe that there are
better ways to allocate funding.  He
compares the allocation of money to Canada,
Japan and Korea.  These countries have a higher rate at which
people between the ages of 25 and 34 are being educated.  Dasenbrock makes the point that these
countries are not spending more money on education than we are, so the problem
has to be in the allocation of money.
The problem is not the amount of funding, but rather how the funding is
being allocated in higher education.

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7 Responses

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  1. Michael Dettmer says

    Sorry for the late post everybody.

  2. Travis Lamprecht says

    Undergraduate programs can be cash cows depending on the University. Obviously, private universities such as Syracuse and NYU are expensive ranging from $30,000-$40,000 a year. No doubt this money is used to fund other ventures for the Universities. Other Universities rely on athletics to be their cash cow which then can overshadow academics. In my opinion, no matter what administration says from any University, it is impossible to know how every dime is being allocated at a University. Most colleges operate like a business and therefore shouldn’t be viewed any differently from other corporations. Thus, it’s difficult to know if they are looking to help themselves or their customers (students).

  3. mobrien says

    Higher education is a critical component of ecomoic hardship. My undergraduate degree put me in a ton of debt. Granted, it was my choice to go to a private institution with a reputable teaching program, but I had relied on student loans to get me there. Now, I work in a state that requires me to have a Masters degree if I want to keep my job. So, now I have more debt that I incur in order to play by the rules of NYS. As my fellow teacher know, I certainly didn’t pick this career for the money. I do not get a large pay increase until my Masters is complete. So, I work to pay off debt while simultanesouly spending more money on an additional degree that I am required to have. The first degree was my choice, not the second. If something like that is going to be required, it should at least be supplemented. Perhaps I have a biased point of view considering the money I know I (and I’m sure many of you) have shelled out for our educations, but in my opinion and experience, higher education is definitely a cash cow.

  4. Rachel Duso says

    Mo, you hit it on the spot!
    It was said that there is a significant increase in students over the recent years. I’m wondering if, forget for a second how the money is being allocated, but if the increase in students is from troops coming home. I was talking to my cousin the other night who just completed his four year tour in the Marines. He joined right out of high school and four years later just enrolled in college. He said many of his friends are doing the same thing because having a military career isn’t what it used to be. Just something I was thinking about after having read the article and speaking to him.

  5. Dana Choit says

    It seems like the significant increase probably has a great deal to do with the changes in the economy/job market that have occurred over time. The vast majority of jobs with decent pay and benefits require a degree of higher education and as Mo mentioned of teachers, many individuals may also feel the need for additional education in order to gain that much more (and in the case of teaching it is a requirement). When competing as a job candidate especially in today’s economy the question is- what do you have to bring to the table? More and more is necessary in order to get by in the same way others have for less in the past and if a position is available.

  6. mfox2012 says

    Education is a business and sometimes the consumers (students) don’t always get what they pay for. There is a notion in society which promotes the idea that in order to be successful in life, a person must first gain a degree of higher education (college). As a result, many students spend thousands of dollars trying to obtain this goal. Even though, most students have no idea how their tuition is broken down and distributed (spent).

  7. MichelleC says

    I went to a private college that actually ended up closing my junior year because the school was over 70 million dollars in debt. Of course we all wanted to know where our (very expensive) tuition money was going because no one had any idea the school was in so much trouble. We were never really given the answers we wanted nor were we told why the school continued to accept new students even when it knew it was in the red. I agree with Mishka in that students just like consumers don’t always get what they pay for. We certainly didn’t. I didn’t have to go to a private university, but like Megan, I allowed myself to become in debt in order to attend a school with a reputable English and Writing program. Today, it’s practically impossible to get a decent job without a degree, but from what I am seeing, where a few years ago, a Bachelors was vital to professional success, now it’s almost like a Master’s is required as well. I’m sure in the future, perhaps for my own children- nothing less of a Ph. D. will be required of students. Similar to the point Dana was making- it seems more and more is becoming necessary in order to become a successful professional.