"You don't need any math more complex than simple algebra."
I can only partially agree with this statement.
Software implementations do not live in a vacuum. If the domain you are developing software for depends on higher math then the software engineers working in that domain NEED to have an understanding of higher math, physics, etc. depending on the domain. I have seen disasters when this is not true. For instance I know of a software team that was charged with computing locations based on the TDOA algorithm for the US military. However earlier in their data pipeline they had truncated nanosecond accurate times to milliseconds because that programmer couldn't conceive of why anyone would ever need time to be more accurate than milliseconds. The team as a whole could not understand why their location results seemed random (+/- a continent). They had no understanding of hyperbolic math, the implications of the speed of light or any of the other basic things they needed to understand to solve the problem. They had been handed an algorithm which they had dutifully translated into code, so in their mind the problem must lie with the mathematician that gave them the algorithm. The mathematician was not a software engineer and was not in a position to use a debugger to notice that the times had been truncated. When the team was told what was wrong via a very specific bug report regarding the truncated times, they, as a group were angry and killed the messenger.
You are right and wrong. For Texas schools at least, the real number is 4X and that is bad enough without the hyperbole. First, we need to accept an inflation factor and I think the best one in this case is the minimum wage that most college students would make on a part time basis. In 1981 a year of college cost around 716 minimum wage hours (based on my actual expenses). Today a year at UT costs around 3,000 minimum wage hours according to UT's estimates. What has changed? All of the facilities are much nicer and the square footage of facilities per student is at least 2X what it was in 1981. In other words all that tuition and fee money is going to construction companies, not to educating students.
In this light, I am afraid that providing money to the universities via taxes will just perpetuate the current insanity when what we really need is for universities to once again become efficient at providing education.