C'mon Down to Rick's Sheepskin Bargain Warehouse!

Paper chase: So, Raymond Paredes, Texas' higher education commissioner, says Governor Rick Perry's call for a $10,000 bachelor's degree is "entirely feasible" and wants to see some proposals by 2013.

Education experts scoff. Can't be done, they say, unless you're talking diploma mills.

"I know Texas' [Higher Education] Coordinating Board said it could be done," says Jane Wellman, executive director of the Washington-based Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability. "I want to look at their numbers...There's nobody on the planet at this moment who gets close to a $10,000 baccalaureate degree."


Rick Perry

Ah, but this is Rick Perry's Texas, a different planet entirely. If we entrepreneurial Texans put our noggins together, surely we can cut tuition costs by 80 percent or so in no time. Heck, even Buzz has a few ideas. To wit:

1. Replace Paredes with William Shatner, Priceline Negotiator: That guy will kick in a damn door to get the best deals.

2. Value pricing: Bill class hours for what they're worth. Why should a future barista in a French literature course pay the same hourly rate as a student taking a valuable class in computer programming? We could set up whole degree programs this way and aim for an average four-year tuition of $10,000. For example: $19,980.05 for an engineering bachelor's and $19.95 for a journalism degree averages out at $10,000. Voila!

3. Volume, volume, volume: Of course, we'll need savvy marketing to keep the classrooms full, since some kids—i.e. those who expect an education—might look down on a bargain Texas diploma. We figure the gov himself could lead the charge with a little late-night cable advertising. Can't you just see a Stetsoned "Rowdy Rick" Perry hawking a Texas degree like it was a vintage Chrysler? We've even written the jingle:

Oh, when you need some learnin'

Piles o' money you'll be burnin'.

On this one thing you can rely

Texas knows its B.S.

Just like we know what cheap is

So we say give Rick's diploma mills a try.

Y'all come! (Y'all come!)

Y'all come! (Y'all come!)

We'll git you a sheepskin at a bargain.

Y'all come! (Y'all come)

Y'all come! (Y'all come)

So, come on down and git yore learnin' on.

Of course, none of this will be necessary if Perry's proposal is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to distract us from the vicious cuts being made to the state's higher education budget. But what are the odds of that?


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