There were once-time travelers. Their name is not important. For unknown reasons they traveled through time back to Emporia.

They had always wanted to get to be a certified teacher and what better place than Emporia to do so? (Certified teachers went to class for much less than the four years for a bachelors). This traveler knew that they had to keep working toward their degree to be a licensed teacher.

The same type of rapid certification was available for other professions too. After all, how many needed classes that increased cost and really did little to gain knowledge in one’s profession? But for years the higher education community argued about how important having an extended educational background was to everyone. The thing was that then there were very few students who left the Normal School, or Kansas State Teachers College with tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

Upon their time travel to Emporia, they were amazed by all the new stuff, but was most surprised at the “college” in Emporia.

Upon stepping onto the campus, they thought that they had entered a King’s property. The opulence was staggering for what a “proletariat” school attempted to be in his time. When they asked what prompted this; they were told that schools just had to “keep up with the Joneses.”

They were staggered at how much tuition had risen from their total of $75 for the entire semester. (No limit to the hours taken either.)

Glistening buildings that even had fabric wall to wall on many halls and room floors. They were amazed because where they came from, no one would be able to afford the initial investment. Plus the fact that such carpet would certainly have to be replaced every 6-10 years. They were amazed at the waste.

When they walked through the halls, they found something called “television” everywhere they looked. They could hardly keep from watching it. But the amazing thing was that in many cases no one was watching most of them. But the televisions were everywhere one looked.

They did think that air conditioning was great, but had no concept of its expense. They really didn’t want to bring up the expense because it sure felt good. It felt so good that air conditioning in what were almost empty buildings during the summer should be kept on the QT. They found out that all the vacant buildings during the summer were due to the demise of students needing to return to summer school. Even the parking lots were mostly empty in summer, but don’t tell anyone to combine departments and shut off A/C was not needed because it just felt so good. They were amazed at the concept of parking lots too, but the good point was that there was way less horse manure to remove.

They loved the idea that the campus was sure a lot more accessible than the Normal School that they remembered. They thought that elevators everywhere were a grand idea. From what they heard, guys by the names of Pres. King and Pres. Visser were way ahead of the world in doing this outstanding accommodation. This was a great draw to those who needed such accommodations. But wait, they found out that the whole country now had to make such accommodations, which was good; but that the Normal School (ESU) got no relief from new regulations, nor any compensation for its previous expenses.

Next, the time traveler spends a bit of time in the area of sports. Their world had far less emphasis on sports. They were amazed that basketball games scored more than 30 points for both sides. What amazed them most was that some directors and/or coaches made a bigger salary than their school’s president or even that of the U.S. President. Yet the players were paid nothing but a scholarship that barely covered expenses. They just heard that the Supreme Court might have just changed this plantation mentality toward student-athletes.

Their full intention was to get a campus job that would cover a large portion of their expenses. After all, the Normal School was set up to allow the working-class to afford an education. How they were distressed at what they found to be the tuition. They could not believe that it was above the $97 per semester (actually a little high for them as this was the tuition in 1968 at KSTC) they knew that tuition could take a toll from inflation, but they were not surprised to hear that higher education tuition inflation outpaced all other inflation in the U.S.

Higher Education’s expenses had grown by a factor of 3.64 times faster than the nation’s inflation. They read that a Stanford University tuition in 1972 was $2,850 and that today it’s $62,000. If tuition had followed national inflation it should have been around $17,000.

Then they thought that this might all work out because their goal was to become a certified teacher. They could start teaching after taking about a year of coursework. Then they would just come back every summer to get their bachelors. After all, they had great certified teachers. R.N.s and C.P.A.s and other professionals were very well trained after taking only the courses in their field. Then they could stand their exams to go into their professions. They recalled that, at one time, no one could tell when summer school began and the spring semester ended due to all the returning summer school students to the Normal School (aka KSTC). But today, summers seem to result in a ghost town at the Normal School.

The time traveler, of course, needed a place to stay. They understood that a month’s room and board in the dormitory was once about $100 a month.

Then the rug was pulled out from under them. (After seeing fields of wall-to-wall carpet the thought of rugs was quite distressing!)

They were told that there were no programs now that required only a year’s education to enter a profession. They were told the tuition, room and board and were floored. Oh, but they could take out a loan, they were told. They then discovered that upon leaving, many graduates had a $50,000 - $100,000 debt. But why worry, they were told, because one’s debt obligation was lower at Emporia State.

This was the last straw.

They longed to go back to Normal. They could not imagine becoming an indentured servant to the institutions if they stayed. How was this different from where they came from when folks never got really ahead of working for “the company store”?

It just didn’t appear that saving a buck was any priority to the various institutions. Everywhere they looked, folks were on the take for more money. Nowhere did folks talk about the money saved or that they had cut tuition or costs. They wondered if anyone had “any skin in the game”?

(11) comments


Of course, the state support for schools has dropped substantially. If the state refuses to underwrite the cost of education, then of course the schools are required to raise tuition, reduce offerings, or some combination of both. The real villains in this Normal story are the policy-makers who have shirked their duties to adequately fund government functions.(Didn't Emporia have a state rep several years ago who rather eagerly agreed to a huge budget cut for ESU?)


Well, Nationally...including Donnie Trump hate College & Republican Politicians only want what they want taught...PLUS in Schools, Republicans TOTALLY HATE TEACHERS UNIONS!


Perhaps your time travelers would like to enlist in United States military service for a hitch. Afterwards, they will be eligible for tuition help through the GI Bill. It won't pay for all of it, but it sure will help them out. My own education was completed with GI Bill help and it was the best boost I have ever received.


According to Republicans, the GI Bill is SOCIALISM, and Republicans are opposed to Socialism, as they are SOCIAL SECURITY and MEDICARE. Also, the FDIC is Socialism,according to Republicans.


Name me any Republican who is eligible for any of these and has refused to accept them. Rich ones don't count. Republicans are famous for talking a big game that they never play in.


A Good Idea...

I am a Veteran...going back to 1958-60 (plus 4 reserve years). But, never utilized the GI Bill. Sadly, I never looked into it.


Is it too late now? You haven't used the benefits yet; you may be able to take advantage now.


Well, I am 81. Could graduate @ 85....marry a 19-year-old girl and buy a house close to grade school!


Nola Ochs got her Bachelor's at 95, her Master's at 97, and was a GTA when she was 100.

Go for it, '81. You earned the GI Bill benefits. You're entitled to them. Take them.


Well, I did get a VA guaranteed Home Loan in 1992. I am planning a switch To Veteran's Medical care next year.


They are earned benefits, '81. You deserve them. Take every benefit offered.

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