It should really come as no surprise that centers of higher education across Missouri are preparing to reduce the number of degree programs available. And it is apparent that the reductions are long overdue.
Only in tough economic times do bureaucracies begin to explore ways to reduce expenses. In Missouri, a tight budget resulted in cuts to education spending. That forced all levels of education to examine those areas where expenses could be reduced. As a result of that process, every college in Missouri has announced plans to review their degree programs and perhaps eliminate some of those with very low enrollment.
SEMO in Cape Girardeau last week announced they were reviewing 21 degree programs which each attract less than 27 students annually. The University of Missouri-Columbia campus is reviewing six programs for elimination while the Kansas City campus has targeted four programs. The University of Missouri-St. Louis has said seven programs are being examined.
When money is plentiful, universities can afford to subsidize programs with small enrollment. But when the money begins to dry up, those are the first programs under review. And that's exactly the way it should be.
State government and the feds as well should take a serious look at the moves in higher education. If only two dozen students out of a 12,000-student-campus express interest in a specific major then perhaps the school should simply recognize that there is insufficient interest and not offer the program. State government should do the same - examine all areas of spending and target those that get no bang for the buck. And then eliminate them.
We are approaching a time in this country when we will be forced to live within our means. The days of offering everything to everyone should quickly fade into the pages of history. Whether it's education or social programs or law enforcement, we must receive benefit for the tax dollar and without that benefit, the money can best be spent elsewhere.
I for one applaud the colleges in Missouri for taking the tough measures that are essential in today's world. What might seem like a hardship for a few can most certainly benefit the majority by spending dollars where they are most needed.