Universities should tighten belts amid pension shortfall

Published 11:10 am Monday, October 2, 2017

In today’s world, there are some college classes that are obsolete and do little to prepare students for the workforce.

It’s a shame this is the case, but it is reality. The list of classes that are obsolete and don’t prepare young people for high-paying jobs is long. Not only are these classes obsolete, they are also a waste of money. Some professors and students might disagree with our assessment, and that’s OK, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Gov. Matt Bevin is one of those who is of the same thinking as we are that some academic programs on college campuses have outlived their necessity in times of tight state budgets.

Bevin has challenged university boards and presidents to consider eliminating some courses that don’t lead to graduates filling high-wage, high-demand jobs. One example Bevin used was eliminating interpretive dance classes, saying, “If you’re studying interpretive dance, God bless you, but there’s not a lot of jobs right now in America looking for people with that skill set.”

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Bevin is correct. There are far too many classes such as this on our college campuses that don’t prepare people for high-paying jobs. There are also millions of dollars spent each year on things that colleges and universities could easily do without.

It’s quite clear that something has to change, especially when our state is trying to fix its failing public pension systems and economists estimate our state faces a $200 million shortfall when the fiscal year ends in mid-2018. Bevin further argued for boards and presidents to find entire parts of a campus that don’t need to be there – including some programs and degrees that are offered, as well as buildings that shouldn’t be there because they are being maintained as an asset that’s not of any value. Bevin also said a college degree isn’t sufficient if students aren’t studying the right things.

These are all good points that Bevin makes. We know it is going to be hard for university boards and presidents of colleges across this state to become leaner in light of the belt-tightening all of them have had to do over recent years. Still, it is not unreasonable to ask them to evaluate courses of marginal value while our state addresses its budget shortfall and pension problems.

The Daily News of Bowling Green