This practice already exists. For instance, medical school is very expensive, and this is justified by the high salary a doctor can expect in his or her career. I think this applies to law schools, also. But, I don't believe the higher tuition should be so much higher that it discourages students from entering the field.
I believe that colleges should be allowed to charge differential tuition for different programs based on expected earnings, because people weigh their career choice partially based on expected earnings. As a result, it would be more expensive to attract excellent professors for a certain high-earning subject, such as finance - since pay should be competitive with what they would make otherwise - than it would be to attract excellent professors for subjects in which they would otherwise have difficulty finding work, such as classics. Because the costs of offering the program are different, colleges should be able to make the choice of whether or not they choose to subsidize one field with another themselves. If it is not financially ideal to do so, colleges will choose to do otherwise.
Where is the guarantee that having a business degree, as opposed to a humanities degree, is going to lead to higher earning potential? I only answer 'yes' to this because 'maybe' is not an option. If colleges can prove that there is a definite trade-off based on the degree obtained, then it is no different then buying a Lexus over a Honda. My business degree has not earned me higher dividends than most of my friend with varying degrees.
As a person who entered the counseling field and who has held positions which were low pay or no pay soon after graduation to fulfill internship requirements, I am glad that my University did not charge me the same amount as they would have charged a business student who could have gotten a good job right after graduation. Were the colleges to standardize fees so that everyone paid the same, the fees would have drop considerably for all students as many, especially in the social service fields will not be able to make the loan payments otherwise. And, at a time when there is already a tightening of the budgets of colleges and universities because of cut backs in State and Federal funding and because of a decrease in charitable donations, the colleges and universities cannot afford to lower their tuition for the most part.
Whether this would work is a different question, but they are justified in whatever pricing structure they come up with (assuming it's not discriminatory like one race pays more). A college is selling something, just like any other business, and can set their prices based on supply and demand. They should be able to experiment with different pricing options to find out what is going to make them money, and they will quickly give up on the ones that fail.
No, I do not believe that colleges should charge different fees for courses of study. If should no matter which field you are attempting to gain access to the class price should remain the same. In reality many do not finish the degree, so with colleges banking on how much they may or may not make when entering the working world is irrelevant. Semester hours should be set as a price and however many classes you must complete with be the total amount.
I do not think it is appropriate for colleges to charge students simply for a projected salary. There are a number of reasons why I choose to think this way. Many factors play into projections and many factors of life play a part in an actual salary. Colleges should charge for an education and not future salaries. It is unfair to charge a person working in computer repair the same about as a person working as a CEO, if they both graduated with a business degree. The salary range is drastically different and often people do not choose to work in their field of study.
There are no guarantees with any course of college study. As the current state of the economy shows, there is always the possibility of losing a job. Just because you get a business degree, it doesn't promise that you'll make six figures right out of the gate. It would be thoroughly unfair to differentiate tuition like that.
Many courses of study that are more expensive to the college to offer charge fees to offset the differences. These fees are primarily to offset the costs of materials needed for the courses. Certain courses of study, such as business, do not cost more for the college to offer. Thus, colleges should not charge a differential tuition simply because these majors offer the promise of higher future pay. As we have seen in this economy, the majors that were once in demand are no longer as needed. I am not sure that a college would be able to make the determination that certain courses of study would promise higher future pay.
In addition to there being limited variation in how much overhead costs in different college departments, there is no guarantee that a student who earns a particular major will actually become employed in that field. Business majors may choose a career that is not tied to a field that earns huge salaries, for example, non-profits.
Just because the student would make more in one job than another is not, in my opinion, a good reason to charge a higher tuition. I can understand a higher tuition if the class is longer in length, or if it takes more credit hours to complete the course. But, I do not see a justification for higher tuition, if the class is the same as a class that charges a lower tuition, which has the same amount of time spent learning.
I feel that colleges are already expensive enough, and that boosting the tuition fees would be ridiculous. Just because a field of work or employment may pay higher, it does not give a college the right to up their tuition prices. In today's economy, there is no guarantee that a graduate will even be able to find employment in their field of work.
College is expensive enough without schools deciding to charge more for students who enter certain areas of study that could give them higher paying jobs in the future. Just because they enter these areas of study does not mean that they will get a high paying job in that area. Not everyone who is a business major lands a high paying job. Also, with today's economy, graduates are having to settle for lower paying jobs. So if colleges charge them more because of their area of study and they have to take a lower paying job, they may not be able to pay for their schooling. That is why the student loans are not getting paid back. They charge people too much and then they cannot find jobs, so they cannot afford to pay their loans.
There are a lot of people out there with business degrees that don't have high paying jobs right now. It depends on how much effort you put into the work that determines the outcome. This is saying to Americans that if you study to be a teacher you should expect to get paid less and not put in as much effort to succeed and change the way education is done. It's bull.
It would be asinine for a college or university to charge extra tuition for specific major classes. The cost of tuition is high enough. Inventing new ways to raise the tuition would just deter people from attending college, period.