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Letters to the Editor

Changing times

June 2, 2012

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To the editor:

I believe Richard Hardin’s “Tuition victims” (Public Forum, May 22) deserves more than pointing out the effects of “scandalous” tuition rates at our universities. We need to consider some of the causes for same.

In 1947, I enrolled at Kansas University at a tuition cost of about $300 a year. I submitted my Lawrence High transcript with its minimum graduation requirements of half D’s and half C’s with a fresh mind, barely used. It was the best I could do, having, since the age of 11, gotten up at 5 a.m. to deliver newspapers and otherwise work 40 hours a week. School was for rest. My fate was similar to the fate of most farm boys, who had assigned chores at an early age.

At that time, the Legislature was principally composed of sons of agriculture and teachers. They understood well the ancient laws of primogenitor, wherein the eldest son inherits the farmstead, and the rest know well that their home won’t be there when they grow up. Accordingly, they needed the best education possible, and the state should help.

The best memorial to the bygone era is the KU Jimmy Green statue, where the farm boy is greeted to the law school. Times they are a’changing.

Comments

citizen1 1 year, 10 months ago

George I can relate. I started school with a wife & 2 children back in the 60's. Worked full time & so did my wife. Without KU my life would have been much different.

I have real regrets regarding what I see happening today.

First, the rising tuition rates. I have read because of government running student loans, grants, etc. universities are raising tuition rates far beyond inflation. This is too bad as I believe universities should manage their costs like a corporation to try to drive down costs, and thus make tuition more affordable.

Secondly, I appreciate the desire to raise standards of academic achievement for entry qualifications into KU. Tends to appeal to the elite that KU is a somehow a superior university academically.

The problem with this is people like myself would never have had the chance to go to KU. I had been out of high school 7 years before coming back to school. In those days you were allowed to get into KU because the state required all Kansas residents be allowed to attend a "Kansas Land Grant" school regardless of qualifications, for at least one semester. Of course it was a probationary situation & thus you had to make grades to maintain attendance.

I lament the loss of this latter option. As a "non-traditional" student I was granted an opportunity to prepare for a better life for my family. We achieved that goal. I am sorry this same opportunity is being lost for many future Kansas residents.

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