Anaheim University President Dr. William Hartley
Most colleges and universities around the country reacted with strong words of concern to President Obama’s recent State of the Union address in which he announced he was putting colleges on notice and that colleges and universities have to do their part in order to keep costs down. However, one private university in Southern California praised President Obama for putting students first.
Anaheim University President William Hartley stated, “Over the past several decades, it has become a custom for U.S.-based universities to hit students with annual tuition increases, regardless of the state of the economy. This is irresponsible leadership. Just at a time when working adults of all ages need an education in order to remain competitive in a challenging job market, both private and public universities throughout the nation are pricing tuition out of their reach. The President was right in putting students first.”
According to a survey by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), college tuition at non-profit, private colleges increased by 6% annually during the decade leading up to the economic downturn. Despite the nation’s economic woes, college tuition will again rise 4.6% in 2012.
Hartley stated “As President of Anaheim University, I would like to challenge presidents of accredited universities throughout the United States to follow Anaheim University’s commitment to decrease tuition by 50% by the year 2020.”
Joni Finney, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education Vice-President, said, “Now is the time to think about doing business in unusual ways”. According to a Time Magazine article, Finney advocates for some lesser-used options for reducing costs, including cutting non-effective programs, using technology more effectively, streamlining curricula so students don’t graduate with more credits than they need, upping the number of hours faculty teach, making better use of evenings, weekends and summers, and offering three-year undergraduate degree programs to well-prepared students.
Anaheim University President Hartley has his own take on the matter, “It’s not about making temporary cutbacks. Being efficient doesn’t mean giving students less of what we used to give them in order to decrease costs. Efficiency is about being innovative in finding new ways to give the students more, while at the same time working towards reducing tuition. We have been able to reduce tuition, while improving the educational experience for the learner. Our goal is to make education accessible to students around the world, and through the use of state-of-the-art technologies and expert faculty, create an online face-to-face learning experience that surpasses the regional classroom experience to which we have become accustomed. As educators, we should look around at other fields such as science, technology, and medicine, and recognize the great advances that have been made in these fields over the past 100 years. Universities must strive to make the same level of advancement in our approach to higher education.”
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