The $8 Million Meeting That Didn’t Happen

During my junior year in college, my business school introduced something called “differential tuition.” 

Differential tuition (DT) required business students to pay additional tuition per credit compared to other non-business University students. Most people took it and paid it. I and some other students decided to ask the Dean what the deal was first…

I scheduled an appointment with the Dean with the intent to understand what DT was and why we needed to pay it. In a somewhat rushed meeting, he told me it was so the business school could offer competitive salaries to higher quality professors and subsidize other “high quality” features of the business school. 

“What about all the extra fees I already pay for business school?” I asked.  He assured me the DT would be worth it.

I can only speak for myself here, but DT was not worth it. It felt insulting, actually. It felt insulting for two reasons:

1) The attitude I got from the Dean about the DT was one of “look, we know what we’re doing, just shut up and pay it.” Maybe that’s just me, but that’s how it felt…

2) $8 million in DT was paid to the school and the committee formed two years prior to make decisions on how that money should be used never actually met. Yet, they continued to spend the money and charge unsuspecting students for it.

I like to imagine a bunch of empty chairs and the sound of crickets sitting around a pile of $8,000,000 in cash. But that’s just me.

Sounds like really good business practice by a business school, right?

Turns out all of us, even our precious universities, can. get better at customer service, communication and holding consistent and helpful meetings.

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