“According to the board, colleges spend about $7,600 on each high-school student completing a full-time program.”
What the Times wants us to believe is the community colleges are spending an extra $7,600 per student (~$35 million overall) to fund a Running Start program. In other words, dismantling the program would save the community colleges about $35 million per year, overall.
But that’s because the Times (and probably whoever gave that number from the community college) doesn’t understand what marginal cost is. The truth is probably more along the lines of, the university spends, on average, $7,600 per student, Running Start or not. Adding an additional student doesn’t cost the system $7,600. It probably costs around $150 in time spent registering them.
However, dismantling the program would cost the community colleges about $76.5 million…in taxpayer money. Why?
“…the state reimburses them just $4,500 for each student”
Which means we’re (taxpayers) paying the colleges $4,500 for each Running Start student, when the marginal cost of that student is probably negligible.
Well, at least the students (or their parents) are covering a share of this burden with their tuition payments.
“…more than 17,000 high-school students are taking free classes at community colleges”
Maybe we should call the program, Running Handout.