Friday, April 29, 2011

Punish the Engineers and Doctors

so that lazy English majors can get their hobby subsidized..err...I mean "earn their degree."

Meanwhile you will all be wondering why the US economy isn't growing and why China is trouncing us economically.

Jose, makes a good solid economic analysis here.


MechMan said...

I actually think China is on the verge of a major bust and we will soon be talking about how everyone used to be claiming China was going to surpass the United States.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. If there is a lack of future engineers you can (always) outsource the jobs overseas. There are many engineers hungry for interesting jobs :).
And by the way, there is a "knowledge" economy in the USA, so why bother with some dirty industry?

sth_txs said...

On one hand, it does take more resources to provide training for these people.

However, it does punish a specific group.

I have heard of some Texas universities at least charging a substantial amount for some lab classes.

sth_txs said...

On one hand, it does take more resources to provide training for these people.

However, it does punish a specific group.

I have heard of some Texas universities at least charging a substantial amount for some lab classes.

ngthagg said...

You take some weird positions sometimes. I have no problem with an engineering degree being more expensive than an english degree, seeing as how it's far more valuable.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that
A) Engineers already pay more for their degree via lab fees and the like.
B) Engineering degrees tend to be heavily subsidized by industry - Every engineering school I've been in has had it's labs payed for by corporations that recruit from the institution.

If this isn't happening at that school, then maybe the fee increase is justified. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if it started loosing the best-and-the-brightest because of it.

stx_txs said...

Yes, an engineering degree is usually worth more, but it is not like an engineer fresh out of school will be paid a salary where he is taking yearly European vacations or buying a high end luxury car.

Mark Adams said...

Plus, the engineering degree gets PAID OFF, while the English major's just adds up more debt. Might as well keep that low, just to keep the eventual crime rate down.

Anonymous said...

I think they ought to do exactly opposite what they are doing - they ought to be giving the hard sciences and engineering program students a break on tuition, precisely because the USA AND Nebraska needs more of these graduates.

As for the threat from China and India, while they graduate a huge number of students, only a small minority (3 to 5%) are considered acceptable to do engineering work.

rosalys said...

From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.

S. Harvey said...

Before vashing chineses or indian engineering grads for not being acceptable; the pass rate for the fundamentals of engineering for fresh US grads is around 50%. Meaning half of US engineering grads are not considered acceptable after spending 80k of their parents money and 100+k of the tax payers. Not very good return either.

I have no problem with more expensive programs charging more based on he costs, the problem is schools us the income rated tuition to subsidize the dead weight.

Jose said...

There are two viewpoints on the decision to segmenting courses by tuition:

Viewpoint 1: Price Segmentation. Some degrees are more valuable than others to the people who get the degree; price can capture this difference in value as long as the university has some market power. Because people with STEM degrees (and some with economics and business degrees) will have on average higher lifetime earnings than those with humanities and "studies" degrees, there is a clear opportunity for this type of segmentation.

Viewpoint 2: Social Engineering. By making STEM and Econ/Business more expensive than other degrees, the UNL is incentivizing young people to go into these non-STEM degrees, wasting their time and money and creating a class of over-educated under-employable people. Universities should take into account the lifetime earnings implications of this incentive system and avoid its bad implications.

I blogged about this at

Anonymous said...

S. Harvy;

The FE exam is a poor proxy for determining engineering ability: Yes, it's important for those who seek LPE credentials, but I've never seen 'must have passed FE exam' as a requirement for an engineering job.

Throw in the fact that it's taken last semester before graduation, and it's little more than another meaningless standardized test for 95% of graduates.

CSPB said...

Top 10 names for female engineers.
A rose by any other name

Escapist said...

There’s this quote by John Adams (I think) which goes:

“I must study politics and war, so that my sons may study trade and commerce. My sons must study trade and commerce, so that their sons may study art and music.”

The possible corollary is that “If I study art and music, my sons may have to study politics and war” – i.e. that too much “liberal arts” pursuit-of-enjoyment leads to being outcompeted/impoverished.