Majoring in money.

So, I figured what, roughly, we will need to cover Kate’s schooling, should she make it into the prestigious college 55 miles to the west. All in? About $25,000 a year. For a public university.

Meanwhile, though, happy news! The University of Michigan accepted an enormous gift this week – $200 million from a distinguished, and very rich, alum. The bad news: It all goes to the B-school and athletics. Which moved Laura Berman to write this column raising a few questions:

But for all the fabulousness these gifts portend, they are also exclusive, directed solely toward future moguls and managers, football players and star athletes. The $100 million athletic donation will benefit a few hundred athletes on a campus of more than 42,000 students.

No future doctors, engineers, biologists, teachers or social workers will likely be touched by Ross’ beneficence. Honors College students — the best and brightest of the liberal arts undergrads — reside at West Quad, a 1937 dormitory lacking an elevator. Professors are tucked into warren-like offices in historic buildings that have scarcely been dusted for decades.

U-M athletics and the business school are heavily endowed, but destined to be more so, even as the public funding that built most of the campus shrinks. The passions of the wealthy begin to drive university priorities and to turn students’ heads. Who will opt for the dingy school of education when the ritzy Ross-Carlton campus beckons?

You should read the comments on that story. (No you shouldn’t.) Overwhelmingly opposed. I thought it was pretty thoughtful, myself.

Of course, you don’t have to send your kid to a big football academy. But half my high school class went to Ohio State. (I went to a marching-band academy, myself.)

Meanwhile, yeah, the tuition is too damn high. Check out that pool at Purdue!

This week has taken it out of me — and it was only four days long. I think I might be anemic.

But time to rest up for the Pooch Prance. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

45 responses to “Majoring in money.”

  1. Prospero said on September 6, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Football pays for that, even though Purdue is inept since that griesball went there. Bigtime football pays for all kinds of good stuff. As for me, I’ll help with Kate’s tuition if I’m allowed and in dribs and drabs and mostly through my addiction to buying new books.

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  2. Linda said on September 6, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Football indeed pays for some stuff, but this is eye-opening. Every college without a football program lost money, but only 14 of the programs with football made money. In fact, sports survives in college largely because it is subsidized by other sources. It helps that the main money generators in college sports–the players–are forbidden to profit in any way but their scholarships.

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  3. Brandon said on September 6, 2013 at 4:03 am

    I made it a point to find and donate to a classics program after reading this George Will column a few years back, in which he says:

    If boosters stop donating to football, they will not start donating to classics departments. The late Bear Bryant, Alabama’s coach, correctly said, “It’s kind of hard to rally ’round a math class.” So a droll University of Oklahoma president was not quite kidding when he said, “We’re trying to build a university our football team can be proud of.” The wit who said football has about as much to do with education as bullfighting has to do with agriculture was more amusing than accurate.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 6, 2013 at 7:07 am

    To your call, once more we rally; alma mater hear our praise! Where the Wabash spreads its valley, filled with joy our voices raise . . . c’mon, who’s singing with me?

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  5. joe k said on September 6, 2013 at 7:11 am

    You will never get a 100, 000 + in the big house
    To watch a kid take a math test
    Pilot joe

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  6. Deggjr said on September 6, 2013 at 7:13 am

    The Marching Band video is fantastic! The best YouTube since “I want a girl like the girls on Fox News”

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  7. coozledad said on September 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Business and football? So we need more people who don’t know how to do anything but kiss ass, and a few large ones to kiss theirs?

    I thought one of the functions of college was to make sure enough people could read and write they could keep an eye on the stupid/evil ones.

    And what business does a Republican child have taking a creative writing class, besides thought policing?

    I would have welcomed such a moment of honesty when I was in school. If you tell people the truth, it can save them countless hours of discussions with hopeless dumbasses, in a country increasingly awash in them.

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  8. coozledad said on September 6, 2013 at 7:43 am

    You might not get 100,000 people in a stadium to get shitfaced and watch a production of Macbeth, either, but all that says about that hundred thousand is they’re not at home watching people fuck at that specific moment:

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  9. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Cooz – you got me laughing; and I’m afraid to click the link!

    What a world, eh?

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  10. alex said on September 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

    If nobody posted it here previously, here’s a piece from August 10 that implicates Mitch Daniels in the scheme that sent public university tuition into the stratosphere. There’s a special place in hell for that sumbitch.

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  11. beb said on September 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

    The self-interested donation to UM is why I believe in confiscator taxes on income over five million dollars. No one needs that much money and they will never spend it wisely.

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  12. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Alex, an excellent article.

    To me, public education is Issue Number One; it is every bit as important to our nation’s current and future success as infrastructure and defense.

    I hope someone like Mitch or Jeb gets the Republican nomination for president in ’16, because they represent the “not crazy” (supposedly) wing of the Republican party nationally – and the spotlight needs to shine on their ‘vision’ of public education (ie – the best avenues of attack against those institutions).

    And let me just say – this is one issue upon which I flatly disagree with President Obama (Race to the Top, Arne Duncan, etc)

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  13. Peter said on September 6, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Seeing as I have a freshman son in an aviation program, any discussion of college costs will put me in orbit.

    Two items in particular make me seethe:

    1. Sure tuition hasn’t gone up much at public universities – they pass off increases as fees. One of the fees we had to pay was $310.00 for varsity athletic support – the sports program here doesn’t break even, so students pony up to cover the shortfall. That’s on top of the fee for student athletic support. Sure, they get discounted (or free) tickets to sporting events, but you’d have to buy a lot of tickets to make that $310.00 fee look like a deal.

    2. The one thing that REALLY gets me is “financial aid”. By a huge margin, the biggest component of financial aid are student loans; how is that defined as financial aid? Even car dealers don’t call their interest free loans financial aid. Talk about truth in advertising.

    My wife’s coworker has two kids in college, and when my wife complained about our tab, she informed her that she has to pay the full ride on her two sons, “and I’m a single mother – and black!”

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  14. Connie said on September 6, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The RV company owners in the Elkhart area funneled most of their philanthropy to Notre Dame. Got them great football tickets after all.

    Nancy, my cost for Butler University was much lower than your estimated cost for UM. They were very generous with both merit based scholarships and need based financial aid.

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  15. Beryl Ament said on September 6, 2013 at 9:40 am

    The article in the WSJ on Mr. Ross’ donation started a big discussion at our breakfast table. Our verdict was—give it all away in scholarships. And Brandon . . . the Wayne State Classics program would appreciate some money. It’s an inner city program working hard and getting results.

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  16. Bob (not Greene) said on September 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

    The cost of college and the burden it is laying on not only the students, but parents, is infuriating. The transformation of a college education into vocational training, to me, is also our doom. We are churning out a generation of students who view education not as a way to learn about themselves as human beings but as a way to fit into the corporate machinery. Joe K.’s quip illustrates this perfectly. Ha, ha, no one wants to see someone take a math test. So fuck that, be a marketing major and gin up some campaign to get people to buy some junk food. I know it’s not an either-or proposition, but it’s relentless. Why study philosophy or literature or a science? Forget about become thinking, responsible, complete human beings (BORING!), what job will it get you?

    And then to cut the funding to the point where a student has no choice, unless he’s rich or one of the few who get some sort of full-tuition scholarship (the middle class is completely screwed here), to go into hock for an advanced degree. You are forced to treat your education as a way to get a job. “Higher education” are dirty words. It’s a threat to those who want a compliant, overburdened populace so they can steamroll society and make it conform to their warped vision where their wealth and power is the only end worth considering.

    Anti-intellectualism is this country’s national religion. It’s a crime and it’s our ultimate downfall.

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  17. Prospero said on September 6, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Football pays for talented kids in other than FB to enrol, Nancy. It is in no way a drain, it’s distinctly a money machine. It also clearly pays the way for Title IX sports like womens hoops and gymnastics. The cost of a college education is largely a function of the interjection of money vampires inserted by the GOP in the form of the education lend-lease bidness, and the bastards recently jacked the interest by more than 100%, while lowering the interest rates for Lehman Marcus to less than 1%.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on September 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    We helped our kids all we could and they applied for every scholarship possible, yet their student loan debt is strangling. For baby boomers counting on millennials to buy their homes, this may make for a rude awakening come downsizing time.

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  19. Deborah said on September 6, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Brian, don’t be afraid to go to that Coozledad link about porn trends, it’s hilarious.

    And what in the world is Hentai?

    OK one last Beaver Brook link, check out the cool time lapse video of the construction of the bath house at

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  20. nancy said on September 6, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Good conversation today.

    My objection isn’t to football, or to sports, or to anything else. It’s only about our priorities. A man with $200 million to give away has a great deal of options. To put half of it into what’s already a top 10 B-school is one thing. To put the rest into athletics — and only athletics — at a time when the average UM student graduates with about $25K in debt? It’s not like the athletic program is suffering; it’s already generously endowed, with the biggest stadium in the country, blah-blah-blah.

    Remember, Prospero, I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I know a thing or two about what a relentless emphasis on athletics does to a school’s soul.

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  21. coozledad said on September 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I think Hentai is some kind of Japanese cartoon porn with phallic robots. I’ll have to look it up.

    I think this was translated clumsily from the Japanese, but Hentai appears to be any perverse sexual act. So I guess Virginia is still into bukkake, all these years after the Civil War.

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  22. beb said on September 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Hentai is a Japanese word meaning ‘perverted.’ It refers to hard core cartoon pornography.

    The real scandal in college eduction apparently is law school where the annual tuition of much higher, student loaons more greater and the chances of actually working on the law surprisingly slight. I guess the reason there are so many lawyers in Congress is because they couldn’t get a job in law…

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  23. MarkH said on September 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Kirk —

    Did this get past you? Or, is there really a ‘Columbia’ Dispatch? Can’t believe this guy called out the humorous headline error, then got the paper’s name/location wrong.

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  24. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

    So today I learned the word hentai.

    As lunch approaches – this makes me think Pam and I should grab some chicken pad thai….or something!

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  25. coozledad said on September 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Bob(notGreene); i always wondered why they put business schools in with the general population at universities. Is it to forestall the inevitable segregation of people who read versus people who don’t?

    I could have done without exposure to business undergrads, except I wouldn’t have had the reliable source of cigarette money I got writing English or history term papers for drunk, bloated morons.

    As for the football players, they nearly killed a friend of mine just for the hell of it. Nicest guy you’re likely to ever meet, and they broke four ribs and cut his face up with their fists just because they could. Granted, it was a dummy school to begin with, but everyone knew the football team took all its classes through an extension program at Pitt Community College. They had no business on campus with the kids who were there to learn.

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  26. Judybusy said on September 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I heard this story on NPR the other day about how poorly educated college athletes can be, and the lengths schools have gone to to keep them eligible. It’s just over three minutes long.

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  27. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 11:58 am

    From Deborah’s interesting link, there is this – which I am still pondering:

    It’s my experience that artist communities are almost always camps because they appropriate space that nobody else wants (at the time), but by virtue of a creative progressive view of neighborhoods they create a demand from others that ultimately marginalizes them, so they are forever transient.

    James Lynch, founder of Fforest Camp.

    I bet Mr Lynch uses that line to start bar-fights…but only after too much of the right wine (or put another way, I think he’s missing the Fforest for the Ttrees)

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on September 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    What I can’t stand is how these poor kids graduate with tens of thousands in debt, into an indifferent job market. America is the richest country in the world, but what the fuck do we spend our money on? Football?

    The whole college tuition situation is depressing and infuriating. I’m going over to Wonkette because I need a laugh.

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  29. Deborah said on September 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Brian, the statement about artists going into places that no one else wants is quite true, many down and out areas in cities are inhabited by artists and they turn them into vibrant, interesting neighborhoods. Then the people with money want to be there and the areas become gentrified and the artists can no longer afford to live there. Also the artists are usually unconventional in thier lifestyle and the gentry don’t want them around. Soho in NYC is a classic example of this. I don’t exactly know what that has to do with Beaver Brook though, I know the quote is on the website. I’ll have to ask Zach sometime.

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  30. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Deborah – I think I tripped over his use of the word “marginalized”…

    I misinterpreted that as almost self-pity/pushed out of the (cultural) main-stream….but I missed the idea of being priced out of an area.

    As always (and especially on a Friday!), I was in need of setting straight

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    This is PURELY speculation, and NOT based on any INSIDE information whatsoever, NO it isn’t . . . but if you are a member of the Board of Trustees, or their staff support, at a prestigious liberal arts college with almost NO real history of football or basketball excellence (now, swimming & diving is another matter), you would LIKE to think that most of the alumni & donor feedback you would get, and the most vocal, repeated, forceful inputs, would be about teaching excellence, achievement in research, and all around scholarly quality for your 175 plus years of pedagogical impact.

    But no. You hear over and over and over and over from alums unhappy about a 6-4 record, let alone when it’s a 4-6 record in the fall, and during the winter about poor shooting percentages, then as the snow melts, inquiries abound as to how well the football team is preparing for the next season . . . and you are Division-Flippin’-Three. Cut back the Classics Department, maybe get one call, maybe not. Worry about your overall student interest in academic honoraries like Phi Beta Kappa, but that’d be your worry, not a metric that anyone else even notices when it goes well.

    If those of us who value literature and reading and reflection and arts were as persistently present in the viewscreen of the leadership of colleges & universities as are the athletic supporters, we might get more attention. But we’re not even on the voicemail. So for vocal, emphatic support for the humanities, we have to turn to an illegal alien, dang it:

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  32. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    A moment of silence descends at the estate of Oxy-Rush and Shit-for-brains-Sean; because, really, the Austrian postcard painter continues to be intentionally misunderstood by the lefty/commie/pinko/ivory tower professors and revisionist-“historians”. THIS guy knew the truth, though

    Misch and comrade Johannes Hentschel accompanied Hitler almost everywhere he went — including his Alpine retreat in Berchtesgaden and his forward “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters. He lived between the Fuehrer’s apartments in the New Reich Chancellery and the home in a working-class Berlin neighborhood that he kept until his death. “He was a wonderful boss,” Misch said. “I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him … we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night.”


    At age 87, when he talked with the AP, Misch still cut the image of an SS man, with a rigid posture, broad shoulders and neatly combed white hair. He stayed away from questions of guilt or responsibility for the Holocaust, saying he knew nothing of the murder of 6 million Jews and that Hitler never brought up the Final Solution in his presence. “That was never a topic,” he said emphatically. “Never.”

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  33. brian stouder said on September 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    And when it rains, it pours, apparently! Oxy-Rush explains American history!!

    Here’s the part that threw me, though. Apparently the word “exceptional” means something different to ditto-ians than what the dictionaries would tell us –

    On his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh explained why he wanted to write an educational book. ”We live in an amazing free country, founded by people with unwavering spirit and determination to triumph, regardless of the hardships and obstacles they faced,” he said. “But our president, President Obama, recently said exceptional Americans are few and far between.”

    Damn our socialist Kenyan president anyway!

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  34. ROGirl said on September 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    L’shanah tovah, everyone — Happy New Year.

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  35. Hattie said on September 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I’m glad my daughters and I went to colleges that don’t have major sports teams. It’s disgusting. And these rich people with their stupid ideas infuriate me!

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  36. Brandon said on September 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Beryl, thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out.

    I went to the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the mid to late nineties. It was a good-sized liberal arts college with strong programs in astronomy, volcanology, Hawaiian studies, and Asian studies. Just about all my instructors were full or associate professors (no TAs) and in-state tuition, if I recall, was $1,500 a semester.

    Nowadays, they’ve boosted the enrollment and the tuition, and built up the campus with huge buildings. I’m glad I attended when I did. The big sport at UH-Hilo is basketball, but it’s not the center of things, because a lot of the students are older and live off campus. In other words, UHH was not a jockocracy.

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  37. Brandon said on September 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    brian, I remember a George magazine article about Rush and its mention of a proposed “Rush Limbear” teddy bear. Maybe there’s a picture online.

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  38. Prospero said on September 7, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Remember Jobs, jobs, jobs?

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  39. Kirk said on September 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    MarkH @ 23: Columbia Dispatch, Columbus Post-Dispatch, etc. The Dispatch gets misnamed all the time.

    Thankfully, I wasn’t working that night. Sadly, that kind of stupidity is tolerated far too much.

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  40. brian stouder said on September 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Kirk – here’s an ERROR ALERT!! ERROR ALERT!!

    Three sentences from the end of (currently Prancin’) Nancy’s daily download, she says “Check out that pool at Purdue!”

    BZZZT!! That pool is in Iowa – and Purdue merely covets it (for the moment).

    just sayin’

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  41. Kirk said on September 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Lot of difference between a general-circulation newspaper and somebody’s blog, Brian.

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  42. brian stouder said on September 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Well, yeah – but…but….

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  43. Dorothy said on September 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Hey Kirk, I presume you know another (former) Dispatch employee is now working where I work? Same division! We’re going to have lunch next week one day.

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  44. Kirk said on September 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Yes, I do. She’s a lovely person. I will miss having her around here to talk about cooking.

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  45. Prospero said on September 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

    You conveniently ignored my point, Nancy.

    football pays for gymnastics, except for UGA, where Gymnnastics pawys foe itse;f because of that soul-killing school spirit. Every GA football fan is a Gym Fan and a swim fan and a track fan.

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