Mississippi’s state auditor, Shad White, a Republican, has recommended a shift in the allocation of funds for college majors to address the issue of brain drain and better align education with workforce demands.
The Report Says….
In a recent report, White suggested that public investment in higher education should be tied to the state’s workforce needs, departing from the traditional approach of providing funding indiscriminately to degree programs.
White expressed concerns on social media about what he referred to as “indoctrination factories” within social science and humanities degree programs.
He also raised concerns about some academic programs being associated with political radicalization, adding to the ongoing debates about education in the United States.
He advocated discontinuing taxpayer funding for what he deemed “useless degrees” in Urban Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, German Literature, African-American Studies, Gender Studies, and Women’s Studies.
White’s report primarily focuses on prioritizing certain majors over others to curb the outmigration of college graduates from Mississippi.
To address this issue, the report suggests increasing funding for degree programs with high earning potential upon graduation, such as engineering and business management.
White believes this would benefit graduates and inject millions of dollars into Mississippi’s economy by retaining a portion of these graduates within the state.
Simultaneously, the report proposes reducing taxpayer funding for programs in the social sciences, humanities, and arts that are perceived as not contributing significantly to the state’s economy.
It draws attention to a 2023 Texas law that bases funding for community colleges on “measurable outcomes” in high-demand fields.
The report also mentions an analysis by economists Corey Miller and Sondra Collins, who work for Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning.
They suggest that the increasing concentration of college-educated individuals in urban centers and a shrinking population in Mississippi’s largest city, Jackson, may contribute to the state’s brain drain issue.
The report notes that Mississippi has one of the country’s lowest percentages of college-educated residents.
In addition, White highlighted the financial challenges faced by West Virginia University as an example of the consequences of not adjusting education funding.
White does not possess the authority to regulate education funding himself, but his reports often serve as valuable input for the state legislature when evaluating government spending and potential budget cuts.
White has a political science and economics background, having studied at the University of Mississippi and as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
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