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“Let’s give it the old NYC college try”

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat writes:

“It doesn’t take college-level math to figure that a growing state also needs to continually expand its college system.  So why not try what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did?  Throw out a little carrot.  See who would compete to build a new college here.”

UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska responds:

“Here’s the conundrum:

“Public universities have traditionally been ‘accessible’ in two important respects: they are large, and they have low tuition (supplemented by public funds).

“Private universities have traditionally been ‘inaccessible’ in two important respects: they are small, and they have high tuition …

“From an ‘innovation engine’ point of view, it would be fantastic to have a great private graduate technology university here.  That’s what New York was after.  From an ‘educational access’ point of view, though, it would be unlikely to be helpful …

“The tragedy is that in Washington, and across the nation, the ‘contract’ under which the public supported a strong college education for smart kids regardless of means is being broken.”

January 8, 2012