Friday, October 26, 2012

University Of Alaska President Pat Gamble Says Students Grow Debt Through Extravagant Lifestyles, But Gamble Didn't Reject 8.5 Percent Salary Increase In 2011

According to Alaska Dispatch, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble says that UA students are contributing towards ever-increasing student debt by using student loans to finance "extravagant" lifestyles.

In response to a proposal by UA Regent Kenneth Fisher to hold the line on tuition increases next year, Gamble noted that many students were trying to subsidize a lifestyle on top of the cost of going to college. “They've got to have a car, got to have the apartment, got to go to spring break, do all that stuff,” he said. He claims that's been made possible by generous federal student loan programs and loan guarantees. This assessment is also echoed by UAF Regent Jyotsna Heckman, who says that most students are going into debt so they can have a car now, a trip now, and go shopping, with little concern for the consequences.

On the other hand, tuition is scheduled to jump by another two percent beginning in 2013-14, which followed a seven percent for 2012-13 and more than a decade of substantial annual increases, some in the double digits. I don't recall Pat Gamble turning down the 8.5 percent pay raise awarded him by the UA Regents in October 2011, although to quell the resultant furor, Gamble ultimately decided to divert that raise towards student scholarships. If interested, the UAF Sun Star provides access to the University of Alaska salary database updated through April 2011.

One UAA student, Gracie Ferry, not only disagrees with Gamble's broad-brush characterization, but also exposes another problem students must face -- being bled repeatedly by a lengthy assortment of fees and surcharges. Ferry posted the following comment to Alaska Dispatch:

Gracie Ferry | October 25, 2012 - 10:22pm:
I think the comments by UAA are offensive and out of touch with the reality of student life. I'm a full time student taking 17 credits and working part time. Full time students are going to have to use part of their loans to cover the cost of living because it is unrealistic to expect students have time to study and do well in addition to working full time at a job.

My real objection is the absurd fees paid by students. For 17 credits, I pay $3,295 dollars tuition plus a $10 concert fee, $60 technology fee, $65 network charge, $3 student government fee, $11 student media fee, $160 to park for one semester, $190 tele-course fee, and a $10 transportation fee. That is $509 dollars in fees not including the fees for the health center and gym that are built into tuition. Those network and technology fees buy me internet that is so unreliable that I can't participate in my online E-live classes in the UAA library because the wifi isn't good enough.

I work hard at a job that I am proud of earning $15 an hour, but that is not enough. Students like me aren't frivolously buying cars and apartments, we are paying our rent and filling the tanks of our shitty cars so we can drive to class. UAA cannot use the excess and irresponsibility of a few as a response to concerns about tuition increases.

But hey, at least Gracie Ferry can get free contraceptives at UAA. LOL! Thanks, Planned Parenthood -- that really helps with the tuition (NOT)! UAA student fees are listed HERE, and UAF student fees are provided HERE.

A couple of pertinent comments were posted to Dermot Cole's column in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

outtraged 1 Hour Ago:
Classic diversionary tactic.

The issue at hand is why the tuition has doubled in ten years.

The University is starving the goose that is laying the golden eggs. There will be long term consequences for the University if they can't stop the tuition increases.

I would also add that a person living on a hefty Military retirement and a $300K University salary isn't in a position to counsel anyone on frugal living. (I do appreciate that he donated his last raise to the scholarship fund.)

save_alaska 5 Minutes Ago:
There is no meal program provided during any closure including thanksgiving and spring break. The meal plan is about 1800 bucks and housing is about the same. The food on the meal plan is just horrendous and not nutritious by any means. Living off campus isn't causing students to take out more loans it's having to live on campus.

The proliferation of nitnoid fees and surcharges in the UA system represents the "unbundling" mania that has taken root throughout part of corporate America, most notably in the airline and banking industries. In the old days, one plunked down a check for an airline ticket, and then boarded the plane without a second thought. Now, there are different charges for different seats; an aisle seat may cost more money than a middle seat in cabin class. Then there are separate charges for meals, excess checked baggage, and even carry-ons. Banks that once paid interest on accounts because they were grateful one would deposit money with them now gouge customers with an endless assortment of nitnoid fees. This trend reflects libertarian influence; while socialists want us to pay for everyone else's problems, libertarians want to attach a surcharge to every breath of air we take.

This is why I consider Ayn Rand just as evil as Karl Marx. While socialists oppress our lives, libertarians unnecessarily complicate our lives. Of course, when I mention socialism here, I'm talking about raceless, borderless international socialism, which seeks to establish a worldwide dictatorship of the "proletariat" in which no evil could be restrained. National socialism, on the other hand, respects national boundaries and racial differences despite the catastrophic breakdown of the German experiment; in fact, the American Nazi Party actually recruits non-white sympathizers. The ANP are not "your grandfather's Nazis".

Obviously, the University of Alaska system faces rising costs which must be recovered from the public at some point. But do UA personnel really need "windfall" pay raises just to "compete" with other campuses? The mission of UA is to put Alaska's needs ahead of international market expectations. And if it is necessary to boost tuition so frequently, how about providing more value for money by eliminating some of the nitnoid fees and surcharges? What's the reason for a "concert fee", anyway? And Alaskan parents of prospective future UA students must better prepare their kids financially by directing up to half of the child's Permanent Fund Dividend to the University of Alaska College Savings Plan. A child's PFD is supposed to be used to benefit the child, not to buy plasma TVs for the adults.


  1. Isn't the University of Alaska incorporated(corporation)?

    A division of the State of Alaska Corporation?

    We should all know that Corporations only care about the "bottom line". Right Pat Gamble? CEO of University of Alaska Corporation.

    And the hokum-peddlers keep flim-flaming the people.

  2. I suppose that if I was given a house to live in and a $70k bonus for not quitting my $300k job then I would view things such as a dry cabin and clapped out Subaru as "Extravagant"....

    Why doesn't he donate his pay to the UA system instead of making cuts? I'm sure his Military and Railroad retirement take care of his needs...

  3. Shame on him. For months at a time we hear nothing from him, but when we do, wow it is over the top. As a spouse of a former UA employee who tried to work with this man, I feel horrible for anyone still there, including the students,It is time for the student body president to demand a series, not just one to make Gamble look good, but a series, of face to face meetings with students so they can tell him just how lavish a life style they are living. SO out of touch....

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