The unkindest cuts

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They're not saying if or when it may happen. But higher education officials in Georgia fear education rationing may be in the future.

The problem: Demand for college is skyrocketing with a still-growing population and the lottery-funded HOPE scholarships that help pay for A and B students. The state's colleges and universities serve 283,000 students -- an increase of 23,000 over two years.

But with the economic crisis, available state funds are shrinking at the same time the burden is growing.

At some point -- they can't say exactly when -- something's got to give.

At that point, Georgia may have to place caps on enrollment -- perhaps in a program, a school or a university at a time.

The alternative is to weed out by income -- i.e., increase tuition until poorer families can't send their kids to college. No one wants that.

Instead, if the state needs to get more selective, it needs to be totally merit-based in its criteria; i.e., the smarter students.

Even so, more students means more demand for teachers that colleges can't afford to hire.

That means fewer classes available, and that means it will take longer for students to graduate.

The effect of all this is rather frightening. Higher education, which feeds the jobs of tomorrow, is not just an expense: It's an investment in our future. Cutting that investment now reduces output six years into the future.

And, especially at research institutions -- which bring in multimillion-dollar grants -- colleges and universities can pump as much money into the economy as we pump into them.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. says the state's 35 degree-granting institutions have a $12 billion economic impact.

That's compared to the state's overall $18.6 billion budget.

If state revenues continue to slide, of course, there's not much legislators can do. But they should keep in mind that cuts to higher education are going to hurt the state much more in the long term than cuts to just about anything else.

That's not very smart at all.

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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/24/09 - 03:22 am
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Do Perdue and Richardson look

Do Perdue and Richardson look very smart to you? How'd Sonny and Glenn get through UGA vet school and law school at GSU, respectively? Makes you wonder whether declining academic standards are really a recent phenomenon.

Riverman1
70698
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Riverman1 07/24/09 - 05:44 am
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Note to editor: The following

Note to editor: The following sentence should read this way: "Even so, more students MEAN more demand for teachers that colleges can't afford to hire." As for the editorial, sure we have to cut back on students being admitted to college. Only the smartest who have worked hard in high school should get in. That may even be a beneficial circumstance. We've watered down college until it is no more that another few years of high school. Many of the students have no place there. There are always private colleges helping out also... if you have the ability and...the money. We simpy have to start cutting our expenditures.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 07/24/09 - 08:02 am
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River: I attended college

River: I attended college 1975-1979, 1984, and 1990-1993. I don't know where you attended but trsut me, the classes I took were not "more than another few years of high school". We need more of an educated work force, not less. Sounds like some would like a permanet underclass that can do nothing but flip burgers and mow your lawns. Investing in education may cost more now, but will pay off for this nation in the long run.

Riverman1
70698
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Riverman1 07/24/09 - 08:11 am
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Tech, my straight-up answer

Tech, my straight-up answer to you is that only a minority percentage of the population is smart enough to go to college. That can't be changed and dumbing down colleges so the less gifted can pass is not the answer. On the other hand, IF THE MONEY IS THERE, build more tech schools and encourage people to attend these. I'll bet when you got your undergrad degree in 79, the people in your class were far different than graduating classes today.

LaTwon
1
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LaTwon 07/24/09 - 08:23 am
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online

online education.........................

bebbe
1
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bebbe 07/24/09 - 08:32 am
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Georgia is 50th in the nation

Georgia is 50th in the nation with regards to education. We were in last place with lots of money for education and we will be in last place without any money. That's the joy of always being last. Our position will stay the same throughout this financial crises. Our governor and superintendent are committed to seeing that Georgia stays in last place...how dare we think that we could actually move up to 49th place.
Richmond County's motto has always been..." if'n you gots mor' den da 8th grade education...then you jus be braggin' "

smitty1861
4
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smitty1861 07/24/09 - 10:29 am
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Did you go to Augusta Tech?

Did you go to Augusta Tech? That may be an institute that is an extension of high school.

southernguy08
415
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southernguy08 07/24/09 - 10:42 am
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Funny, our country's kids

Unpublished

Funny, our country's kids fall behind those from many poor countries like China, Russia, and India in international math and science skills. They spend less and get more bang for the buck. What does that say to those that scream we need to be spending more on education? Give parents the choice of sending their kids to private schools by issuing vouchers. When that competition happens, public schools will have an incentive to improve. As things are now, there is no incentive to be better. The NEA doesn't like competition, along with making their teachers more qualified. There is no mystery as to why our educational system is so poor and not likely to improve.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 07/24/09 - 11:35 am
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Well the liberal arts style

Well the liberal arts style four year colleges make you take core curriculum in a variety of areas, so its kind of vague to say some people are not smart enough to go to college Riverman1. Some people may be brilliant at math. They could have a bright future in accounting. If they struggle with their entrance exams on English though and require a remedial English course at the start are you saying they should be culled out? What if someone who is good at English or History stuggles with math when they start? Also, how can you be for sure which of these students are not smart and which ones just had poor high school educations and just need some time to catch up? I will tell you, I went to school in south Augusta and after talking with friends who went to school in Columbia County, the educations are not created equally. Luckily I was smart enough to catch up to the curve, but I started out behind them in knowledge heading into college.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 07/24/09 - 11:45 am
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I am not saying make the

I am not saying make the curriculum at the colleges easier. If you look at good colleges, the people that cannot hack it will naturally be removed from the heard as they drop out.

Riverman1
70698
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Riverman1 07/24/09 - 03:05 pm
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IMD, the point is that most

IMD, the point is that most people should not go to college because they are not smart enough. That is undeniable.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 07/24/09 - 07:04 pm
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What is the definition of

What is the definition of "most" though? Top two percent, top five? If our public schools did get better and more students did come out smarter then what? To judge who is and is not smart enough, is again up to the colleges to decide. They let some in even if the testing shows they are not smart enough, because the colleges want to profit off of those people taking remedial classes.

Little Lamb
40208
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Little Lamb 07/24/09 - 09:09 pm
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I support strongly the notion

I support strongly the notion that our state universities should begin an orderly transition to reduce their student (and concurrently) staff populations. With the best students getting college degrees and the second-tier students getting technical certificates and associate degrees, we will again make the state university the respected institution it used to be. Thanks for your comments, RM.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 07/24/09 - 09:56 pm
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Actually in some regards the

Actually in some regards the last laugh might be on those going to the universities LL. Some people come out with two year degrees focused on a specialized field and get good jobs while some, with four year degrees, and classes wasted on humanities, etc to make them well rounded, do no better.

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