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This morning on @Issue with Tom Hauser, Mike Erlandson offered some Clinton-class spin when he said that increased funding for higher education was “like tax relief” for families because it results in the continuation of a tuition freeze.

That’s great spin but it isn’t the truth. It isn’t even close to the truth.

First, the money used to freeze tuition didn’t just magically appear. It came from somewhere. Actually, it came from someone, lots of someones. Where is their tax relief, Mr. Erlandson? Isn’t it the truth that the state took lots of money from these people, then gave a portion of that money back to them? Taking lots, then giving back a little isn’t tax relief. It’s another government rip-off spun to sound like tax relief.

Second, increasing spending on higher ed without demanding greater accountability doesn’t encourage greater accountability. That’s what’s happening right now. The price of a college education is staying stable. That’s what the public sees. The cost of a college education keeps rising because administrators aren’t demanding accountability. That’s why 4 of MnSCU’s 7 universities had to submit recovery plans.

In addition to these universities spending money foolishly, MnSCU itself is spending money foolishly.

When Rev. Hightower negotiated Dr. Rosenstone’s contract extension, Hightower gave Dr. Rosenstone a lavish pay increase:

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone will make $387,250 in base salary for the coming school year, a 1.8 percent increase. He also will receive a $43,160 boost to allowances for transportation and other expenses, MnSCU said.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s before factoring in the $2,000,000 consulting contract MnSCU signed with McKinsey and Company. That’s before talking about the money MnSCU spent on this study. MnSCU spent money on a study to rebrand itself. Here’s one of the findings of that study:

Rarely does anyone think of MnSCU in the aggregate. Understanding of MnSCU is low among those not affiliated with the system. Even among those most familiar with MnSCU, people do not think of it as the sum of its parts. Connections are to individual schools. Students and alumni think of their alma mater. Business and community leaders have local or regional perspectives. School leaders need autonomy to serve their communities.

We shouldn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars to find out that most alumni don’t think in terms of MnSCU. Alumni know that they think in terms of their alma mater.

Erlandson’s spin is insulting. Spending money without demanding that the money be spent efficiently isn’t tax relief. It’s taxpayer theft. FYI- Stop past tomorrow to learn more about how MnSCU is ripping off its students and Minnesota taxpayers. Fiscal conservatives who read this series will be furious.

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2 Responses to “Taking issue with Mike Erlandson”

  • Chad Q says:

    When is the State or Federal governments going to bring in Big Education for a grilling like they have done to big pharma, big oil, big tobacco, etc. to find out why their prices have exceeded the cost of living and inflation?

    When are we as a state going to stop dumping money down the rat hole of education without first asking where the positive results are for all the money spent?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Q: When is the State or Federal governments going to bring in Big Education for a grilling like they have done to big pharma, big oil, big tobacco, etc. to find out why their prices have exceeded the cost of living and inflation?

    A: When we complain loud enough. Complaining on blogs is one thing but it isn’t enough. Attending the legislators’ townhall meetings & grilling them publicly will send the message that we’re “mad as hell” & we aren’t “going to take it anymore.”

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