College Tuition Based on Major? Yes, at Some Schools

Do colleges really vary tuition according to major? Some do.

Some public universities are now starting to vary tuition according to your major.

The schools claim that academic pursuits such as math, science and business cost more to teach, so those students should pay a higher tuition than, say, a communications major. Science majors may also have lab fees, equipment fees and extra textbook fees added to their total college costs.

Over 140 universities are already using what's called "differential tuition plans," including Univ. of Illinois, Iowa State Univ., Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville, and our own state university, Rutgers. Other schools considering making the move include Univ. of Florida, Florida State, Stony Brook, Univ. of Maryland, UCLA and Cal Berkeley.

Does this make sense?

As you know, I tend to be somewhat cynical in these matters, and my suspicious side says this is just a clever way for the universities to sneak in another tuition increase without calling it a tuition increase.

Sort of like the airlines charging for baggage.

My suspicions aside, I thought we were trying to encourage students to study math and science. If anything, I would argue that math and science majors should pay less - not more. Shouldn't we be showing them a carrot, not a stick?

Clearly, I have no future as an economist - or as a college administrator.

Ian Welham helps students find the perfect fit college and helps parents pay for it. You can find him at Complete College Planning Solutions, on Facebook and Twitter

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris Barber July 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I think that makes cents (pun intended) because some degrees are worth more than others. Paying per major would incentives students picking a major based on interest (no pun intended there) rather than on earning potential. College rates are going up so much these days, I'm for anything that helps mitigate that cost for parents. Like this tool I found that gives parents the ability to ask friends and family to help donate to their child's education. http://collegeregistry.fipath.com/home
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