Are Taxpayers Subsidizing Learning or Partying?

The good news: Penn State is no longer the #1 party school in the US, according to the Princeton Review’s (user account) annual student-produced rankings. It has fallen to #3.

The bad news: Pennsylvania’s 2010-11 budget still allocates about $333.9 million to the institution, a number only slightly lower than the 2008-09 expenditure. Temple will receive $172.7 million and Pitt will receive just under $168 million.

Legislators should reconsider state funding for colleges in light of “Leisure College, USA,” a new paper published by two California professors. The authors find college students are studying on average 10 hours less than their 1961 counterparts and are still receiving good grades. They identify technological advancement and relaxed standards as the culprits- allowing students to get by while maximizing leisure time.

Patrick Allitt elaborates on the study, concurring that educational standards have become lax. If students spend only 14 hours per week studying, they have time to pursue many other activities. At Penn State, one of these seems to be drinking, as the school ranks #2 in the “Lots of Beer” category.

Facing massive budget shortfalls, lawmakers should question the efficacy of higher education subsidies. Are we funding learning or partying?