The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much
By PAUL F. CAMPOS


APRIL 4, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. — ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

This is the story college administrators like to tell when they’re asked to explain why, over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars. It is a fairy tale in the worst sense, in that it is not merely false, but rather almost the inverse of the truth.

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. … For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

… If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

Some of this increased spending in education has been driven by a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who go to college. While the college-age population has not increased since the tail end of the baby boom, the percentage of the population enrolled in college has risen significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs has increased by almost 50 percent since 1995. As a consequence, while state legislative appropriations for higher education have risen much faster than inflation, total state appropriations per student are somewhat lower than they were at their peak in 1990. …

… a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

Federal & state mandates and advocacy groups’ lawsuits (and threats of lawsuits)force universities to hire people to gather data to prove compliance and to preempt lawsuits. Government and advocacy groups view the administrative bloat as the universities’ cost to do business. Universities pass the inflated cost of all that non-instructor administrative overhead on to students.

The other big hit against college affordability is textbooks. Between professors requiring usage of textbooks they “authored” and the proliferation of editions that all but make used textbooks worthless, college textbooks have become a big shakedown operation.

[quote=“PeteS_in_CA, post:1, topic:46684”]
The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much
By PAUL F. CAMPOS


APRIL 4, 2015

Federal & state mandates and advocacy groups’ lawsuits (and threats of lawsuits)force universities to hire people to gather data to prove compliance and to preempt lawsuits. Government and advocacy groups view the administrative bloat as the universities’ cost to do business. Universities pass the inflated cost of all that non-instructor administrative overhead on to students.

The other big hit against college affordability is textbooks. Between professors requiring usage of textbooks they “authored” and the proliferation of editions that all but make used textbooks worthless, college textbooks have become a big shakedown operation.
[/quote]Another cost is the spiraling amount of financial aid given to certain entitled groups.

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As well as those who think they don’t have to repay student loans.

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So, what I gather, is that the reason costs are going up is due to too many people in one place who don’t really belong there.

Sounds like Washington, D.C.

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[quote=“Susanna, post:3, topic:46684”]
As well as those who think they don’t have to repay student loans.
[/quote]That’s an issue that doesn’t directly bear on tuition. It does indirectly since the schools receive the proceeds of loans that would not have been granted int he private market. However the issue of loans is a complicated one that cuts in many ways since without them, even without inflated costs the middle class would lose out on going to college.

I have to think about that issue more.

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Yeah, like White People!

Doggone rich white people with their scholarships, getting a free ride…

I think the schools themselves give out some loans.

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I’m thinking the real reason that college is so expensive is because it no longer pays to go there.

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Simply stated, the reason why the cost of college has gone up exponentially when compared to the rate of inflation is largely because there is no downward economic pressure being placed on tuition. The availability of public money has distorted the marketplace.

As an aside, the personnel structure within our colleges and universities has become extremely bloated and top-heavy.

As a further aside, most of our centers of higher education in America - at least those I have visited - have been set within costly, high-maintenance structures and surrounded by opulent grounds. Ever hear of the London School Of Economics? It is considered the best school in the world for those seeking proficiency in the field. Its buildings are set on a near non-descript street front in London. If not for signs you wouldn’t know where you were.

I thought I would save this for another thread and may yet start one.

My own view is that most education post-10th Grade is expensive baby-sitting. As a lawyer I invariably have to retrain people who come out of law school or after short stints of employment. I favor an apprenticeship system, personally. Abe Lincoln was, by all accounts a pretty good lawyer, despite having little formal education. I will allow, though, that John Adams was Harvard trained for his undergraduate. I still don’t think most of high school or all of college or graduate school are necessary.

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From what I read, he had a reputation for arguing cases on the basis of right and wrong rather than points of law, and he wouldn’t take a case if he believed that the prospective client was in the wrong. The modern-day Bar Association would hate his guts…

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:11, topic:46684”]
From what I read, he had a reputation for arguing cases on the basis of right and wrong rather than points of law,
[/quote]For that he would actually make a fine trial lawyer.

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:11, topic:46684”]
and he wouldn’t take a case if he believed that the prospective client was in the wrong. The modern-day Bar Association would hate his guts…
[/quote]Or for that matter John Adams, one of the founders of the party that was a predecessor to Abe Lincoln’s party. A party which, as you know, I dislike intensely.

As I’ve said before, (hopefully not getting old?), I was stunned that few of my inlaws require going beyond the eighth grade, and/or do.
What’s more surprising is how few are not quite successful without having done so.

Yes, many are apprentices of one form or another; farming, carpentry, drywall, builders…

None get married without the ability to provide. They wouldn’t even think of asking.

Turned my thinking around.

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