West Texas A&M university president Pat O'Brien deserves special credit for putting the issue of a tuition increase front and center with a new blog he just started on 20 January.
So far there's only one category for "Tuition" and only one entry. But that single entry has already generated 38 comments as I'm typing this, including several from the president responding to the remarks of others.
Many of these are quite long. Number 29, a lengthy poem, is the most creative. The others run from senseless rants to quite thoughtful opinion. Needless to say, not many people think a tuition increase is a good idea. Actually, I didn't see any that did but I didn't quite read all of them.
One part of the PR approach here mirrors what colleges often say to explain tuition increase levels in relation to things like cost of living in general or the long-term value of the college degree earned. In this case, the West Texas A&M stance is that tuition at the university is already "below both the average and median of the designated tuition rates of the 35 public universities in Texas." Faced with a tuition increase, almost no students pay attention to arguments like that. And judging from the newspaper editorials cited by NAICU, neither does the media.
Of special interest... the related discussion underway in the comments about the role of athletics and athletes at the university and a recent increase in athletic fees.
Follow President O'Brien's blog as the discussion/debate continues.
And thanks to David Pittman, a reporter at the Amarillo Globe News, for calling for an interview about presidents who blog and alerting me to this one.
See my list of 36 college and university presidents who blog.