January 29, 2012

IT’S GETTING CROWDED UNDER THAT BUS: College presidents alarmed over Obama’s cost-control plan.

Fuzzy math, Illinois State University’s president called it. “Political theater of the worst sort,” said the University of Washington’s head.

President Obama’s new plan to force colleges and universities to contain tuition or face losing federal dollars is raising alarm among education leaders who worry about the threat of government overreach. Particularly sharp words came from the presidents of public universities; they’re already frustrated by increasing state budget cuts.

Academia has been a major source of money and footsoldiers for Obama. This kind of talk won’t help. And while he could bash Wall Street in public, then cut sweetheart deals in private, the academic world is too diffuse for that approach to work, I suspect.

Plus this: “At Washington, President Mike Young said Obama showed he did not understand how the budgets of public universities work.”

It’s not at all clear that Obama understands how budgets work in general.

UPDATE: Reader Kendall Gelner writes: “At some point, you are charging enough tuition.” Heh.

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