LTU President: College Cost A Concern, But Is Free The Fix?
February 23, 2016
American higher education remains the global gold standard and a sound investment, but affordability is a major concern, Lawrence Technological University President and CEO
Virinder K. Moudgil said at an event Monday night honoring southeast Michigan's brightest finance students.
Moudgil spoke at the annual Academic Night of the Detroit Chapter of Financial Executives International, held at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Moudgil noted the sharp rise in tuition since the 1970s at both public and private universities, largely laying the increase at the feet of cuts in support from states and other governmental educational support, and rising costs.
But he also said higher education “must still be viewed as a good investment,” indicating Lawrence Tech's ranking near the top of several rankings of tuition costs vs. lifetime earnings of graduates.
Moudgil also expressed skepticism about proposals to make college tuition free -- in other words, taxpayer-supported -- through the undergraduate level.
“Affordable, yes,” Moudgil said. “Free, questionable.” Moudgil pointed to the proposal's $70-billion-a-year cost, and said he was concerned that federal funding for education would bring with it increased federal control, and perhaps restrictions on the innovation and competition that has made American college degrees the most sought-after degrees in the world.
Moudgil also pointed out the changing global nature of education -- as well as society and business. He said that when he was a college student in India, his entire department had to share one copy of Scientific American magazine. Today, through the Internet, students the world over have access to the same scientific and academic resources as students in the United States.
“Competition is no longer Detroit and Oakland County or Michigan and Michigan State, competition is global,” Moudgil said. “Although you might not realize that when it comes to football or basketball.”
Moudgil emphasized the need to teach American students understanding of other countries and cultures, so they can compete more effectively in a global economy. LTU enrolls students from 25 states and 60 countries.
And as Moudgil also pointed out, as a biologist by training, that more than 99 percent of all humans' DNA is identical – “Not similar, identical. So what is the fuss about?”
Also at the event, 20 finance and accounting students were honored -- one undergraduate, one graduate student -- from southeast Michigan's 10 institutions of higher learning. FEI said it annually honors undergraduate and graduate students in accounting or finance at universities in southeast Michigan who demonstrate an outstanding record of scholarship and service as well as a commitment to an accounting or finance career.
LTU students honored were Robert Miller, a junior from Dearborn studying for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Danny Ashi, a student from Syria who has just graduated from LTU with his Master of Business Administration degree.
Other institutions represented were Eastern Michigan University; Michigan State University; Oakland University; University of Detroit-Mercy; the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses of the University of Michigan; Oakland University; Walsh College; and Wayne State University.