I don't want to get all Pat Buchanan here, but Sunday's New York Times Page One story on how foreign students, the Chinese in particular, are going to the head of the admissions acceptance line so poor old UW can make ends meet, nets at least a 9 on my infuriation scale.
As we know, this is some tough meat to chew for local politicians and parents, some of whom have gone so far as to ask UW president Michael K. Young whether their children could get in if they paid a king's ransom in nonresident tuition. To which he told the Times, "It does appeal to me a little."
Young goes on to say that he's not a bit bothered that there are now more students from other countries than from other states. I mean, money is money, and since out-of-state students pay the same tuition as foreign students, the fewer Washington residents coming in on the discount plan, one supposes, the merrier.
"Is there any advantage to our taking a kid from California versus a kid from China?" he said. "You'd have to convince me, because the world isn't divided the way it used to be."
But let's think about that for a minute. Isn't it rather pathetic that the university must rely on well-to-do Chinese families to balance our budget? And since we have this ungodly dependence on China as the largest holder of American debt, well, as the dean of admissions, Philip A. Ballinger, put it, "This is a way of getting some of that money back."
Unbelievable. Think about that, too. You have to marvel at its shortsightedness. So we send 4.0 Washington students packing for other campuses--WSU, I'm told, is really going to pay the price in terms of overcrowding--in order to cash nearly $30,000 yearly tuition checks from each Chinese student. Then they'll return to China, which will find its labor force better educated, no doubt more skilled in the ever-important technology fields, and better positioned to compete with the U.S.
All of this in the name of "internationalization?" Or is just about filling a hole in the budget?
As David Hawkins, director of public policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, told the Times, "We're in something akin to the gold rush, a frontier-style environment where colleges and universities, like prospectors in the 1800s, realize that there is gold out there."
Seems to me this is a very high price to pay--even for gold.