|Governor Mitch Daniels|
During that quarter century the price of tuition and expenses such as for books has soared, far above the rate of inflation. Meanwhile college campuses have modernized considerably, building often opulent facilities for their students.
When people talk about the enormous cost of higher education, the focus is always on how to make more money available to students, either through grants or loans. No one ever challenges the spending by colleges and universities, demanding that they hold the line on costs or educate students for less.
I have at times complained about Governor Mitch Daniels' failure to exercise strong oversight over state agency officials and the decision to ignore whistleblowers who have pointed out problems at the agencies. It is frustrating to me that Governor Daniels otherwise excellent tenure is marred by scandals and mismanagement that were entirely avoidable. But where Governor Daniels has excelled is on budgetary matters, characterized chiefly by a steadfast demand that state government hold the line on costs. He was even willing to touch the third rail of Indiana politics - K-12 education - which for years have had their budgets increased far above the inflation rate.
I don't buy for a second that Governor Daniels hailing from a non-academic environment is a bad thing. There is a reason the term "ivory tower" is part of our lexicon and most often applies to colleges and universities. Too often administrators and faculty at those institutions are oblivious to the practicalities of living in the real world inhabited by their students. It is about time we had a university president who demanded that the school hold the line on spending and offer a more affordable education product for its students. Governor Daniels' insistence on controlling costs at Purdue, as he has as Governor, has the opportunity to revolutionize higher education in Indiana.