OLoughlin: Higher education is worth it


Students walk between Curtiss and Beardshear halls during a snowstorm on Jan. 11, 2018. Despite a 12-hour winter weather advisory, the university remained open.

William Oloughlin

If you’re a student here at Iowa State, then I’m sure you’ve already read the email sent out by President Wendy Wintersteen concerning the Iowa Senate’s plan to withdraw $19.3 million from Regents institutions including University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

However, as an update President Wintersteen said that the Senate modified their plan to only withdraw $14.6 million, and will leave the decisions for which programs will be affected to the Board of Regents. This is following President Trump calling for $9.2 billion to be cut from education spanning from K-12 and higher education aid for the 2018 fiscal year.  

My question is… when did education begin to matter so little to this state?

Iowa used to pride itself on education. Now? We’re not even in the top ten in terms of education among states.

It’s been a tough decade for education through and through. After the recession, the first cuts to take place were in education. Since then, it has only gotten worse. As of 2017-2018, 12 states have cut general funding by 7 percent per student over the last decade.  

I’ve heard stories of teachers pleading with parents to supply their child with crayons, pencils and paper because the school did not have the budget to supply them. Now the students in higher education who have survived 12 years of these awful conditions and still made it through are going to endure even more cuts to their education.

Now I know what you may be thinking, “Who cares? The University of Iowa and Iowa State bring in millions with their sporting events.” To that, I have this retort. Instead of focusing on matters of education, why wouldn’t these colleges instead focus all of their efforts on to these avenues instead?  

After all, if that’s what’s going to pay the bills, then the colleges have every right to put the emphasis on those programs. I, however, enjoyed having the budget to accommodate programs that might not bring in a wealth of money for the college but are still fulfilling in their own way.

Philosophy won’t bring in a small fortune, but it’s good for a student to open their world view and consider other schools of thought. Martial arts won’t ever bring in the money that football and basketball do, but isn’t it prudent for a student to know how to defend themselves? Whatever happened to “Choose your own adventure?”

If the Iowa Senate determines that education is worth robbing, well then I think our “adventures” will begin to be very limited.