August 20, 2006

For Higher Ed Choices

Today's Tulsa World features a story regarding Oklahoma's system of higher education. For my part, I told reporter April Marciszewski that taxpayers should fund the students, not the institutions. She writes:
Brandon Dutcher, vice president for policy for the conservative think tank Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, thought colleges should be funded on a voucher system, with budgets determined by enrollment. "That kind of competition will jerk the slack out of the institutions and make them compete," he said.
Indeed, the voucher should be redeemable not only at public colleges and universities, but at nonpublic ones as well. After all, why should policymakers discriminate against education obtained at private institutions? Why should Oklahoma's (overwhelmingly conservative) taxpayers subsidize tuition at bastions of secular liberalism, but not at, say, institutions which seek to honor Christ? Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman who (shameless plug) once lauded an OCPA book has argued that restricting higher ed subsidies "to schooling obtained at a state-administered institution cannot be justified on any grounds. Any subsidy should be granted to individuals to be spent at institutions of their own choosing.”

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