Pilot for United Airlines
There's growing controversy over present trends to de- fund higher education. What are your thoughts? The cost of everything has skyrocketed, and there are budget constraints on the state Legislature. But higher education is an indispensable part of our society. Funding levels should remain healthy, but those dollars need to be spent wisely and efficiently.
Why is college important? College is the entry- level education required in so many fields today. College is what high school was 30 years ago -- the minimal necessity.
Do soaring tuitions affect you personally? I have a kid at University of Northern Colorado and one at the School of Mines. Tuition at each is about $7,000 per year. My wife and I both work and we saved for 20 years for college for our kids.
What was tuition when you attended college? I attended the Air Force Academy, so I paid for my education with blood, sweat and tears, and the next 25 years of my life.
What accounts for recent declines in funding for higher education? Bush tax cuts for the rich, the cost of the war in Iraq, and misplaced spending priorities. I'm a big proponent of higher education.
What's the value of college? The world has grown a lot more complicated. The [better] your education, the better living you can make. Also, more and more youth in other countries are attending college. Those countries are our competition.
Do soaring tuitions foster inequality? We're on our way to being a country of haves and have-nots. We should be lowering the affordability threshold, particularly for those who worked hard to get the grades to get in.
What's your view on current trends to de-fund higher education? I have the job I have only because of higher education. I'm a big supporter.
Where did you go to college, and what was your tuition? I went to Berkeley, class of '80. In-state tuition was roughly $350 per quarter. Now it's 10, 20 times that.
Are soaring tuitions creating a two-tiered society? Those who can't pay the tuition are out of the running for really good jobs.
What are the benefits of college?Both social and book learning. I'd never have the opportunities I have now without college.
Southwest Colorado Springs
What do you think of the rising costs of tuition? It's going beyond the regular inflation rate, so it's a little scary.
Why is tuition rising? Obviously, there's more kids going to school. The whole supply and demand thing is a little out of whack.
Does soaring tuition affect you personally? It will. I have young children and we will have to figure out how to pay for it. I'd rather use cash, but will probably take out loans. I hope they do well in school, too.