Life is Music April 23, 2013: Put your wallet where your classroom is (because you have to)

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song. Today, coming in just over the wire, the first generation to be worse off than our parents keeps getting hit harder!

There’s lots of ways this seems to keep happening. Today in particular, Cooper Union announced that they will start charging up to about $20,000 in tuition for students who can afford to pay. Considering how mind-blowingly expensive some colleges are, this might not sound like much. But Cooper Union is a venue of higher education that has offered free tuition for accepted students for more than a century.

“The time has come to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future,” the board chairman, Mark Epstein, said in an announcement to students and faculty members in the college’s Great Hall. “Under the new policy, the Cooper Union will continue to adhere to the vision of Peter Cooper, who founded the institution specifically to provide a quality education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

That’s interesting. And, I’d argue, inaccurate. I don’t know the details of the true costs of operations for the school, but I’d say it’s a pretty devastating change in character for Cooper Union to start charging students. Charging students tuition is pretty incongruent with a mission of offering a quality education without having to worry about cost.

It’s a sad day for higher education. But really, it’s just another continuation of a trend in rising college costs. And so, this week’s song is Big D and the Kids Table’s “We All Have to Burn Something.” Because this event can be described as infuriating, and saddening, but not that surprising considering the state of higher ed (and the toyed-with futures of millennials).

By the way, I originally planned on covering how fans are asking Streetlight to consider changing their venue location in Virginia due to recent homophobe comments made by someone who worked there. It’s a story worth following, and likely I’ll post more about it if the venue does get changed.

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