Mississippi’s auditor characterized several social science and humanities degree programs as “indoctrination factories,” claiming that the state should reduce funds to many college majors and instead lend support to the subjects that match the state’s workforce needs.
Shad White, Mississippi’s State Auditor, suggested in a recent report that the state needs to change the way it approaches funding for its public universities. One of the suggestions he made was linking public investment to workforce needs, instead of treating every degree program as the same, according to the Associated Press.
White claimed that too many college graduates are fleeing the state after they receive their degree. A way to stem the bleeding would be to align degree programs with the demand in the labor market, according to White. The report was published in September, entitled “Plugging the Brain Drain: Investing in College Majors That Actually Work.”
White took to X, posting: “Students need to keep an eye on which industries are growing when they pick a college major. Taxpayers need to do the same when they think about funding universities. Here’s a look at the Mississippi college majors who had the fastest salary growth over the last few years in their first jobs out of school.”
White claimed that there are many degrees currently offered that are “useless degrees” in “garbage fields.” Some of the degrees he said needed to go were Anthropology, African American Studies, Gender Studies, Women’s Studies, German Literature, Sociology, and Urban Studies. He suggested that some of these degrees are fertile ground for political radicalization, according to the report.
White’s report said that it could be beneficial to elevate certain majors over others. It appears that the primary concern in the state is that students get their degrees in Mississippi, but then flee the state to look for more well-paying jobs and wider cultural opportunities. The report noted that one way to stop this is to have the state fund degree programs with higher earning potential right after graduation, such as business management and engineering.
“Some high-paying degree programs were not likely to produce graduates who work in Mississippi, and this represents a missed opportunity for the state’s taxpayers,” the report said. “Producing more of these graduates and then retaining even a small number of them would inject millions of additional dollars into Mississippi’s economy.”
The proposed degree cuts would manifest in the social sciences, humanities, and arts that are not financially advantageous to the southern state, White said. He went on to point out that a 2023 Texas law bases funding for community colleges on “measurable outcomes,” such as the amount of degrees attained in high-demand fields.
Though White does not have the power to dictate how education funding is dispersed, the state legislature has previously used reports provided by the state’s auditor to evaluate how the government is spending taxpayer money.
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