Skip to comments.Why college costs so much
Posted on 08/17/2010 6:52:31 PM PDT by Graybeard58
Tired of doing your job but still want to collect your full paycheck? Imagine you could require your employer to hire someone else to do nearly all of your work so you only had to show up three to six hours a week and then only do the parts of your job you most felt like doing while your fill-in, earning barely more than minimum wage with no benefits, did all the grunt work.
Imagine further that you had lifetime job security, summers off and six months of additional guaranteed vacation every three years; that everyone in your job category, amounting to most of your employer's work force, had that sort of deal; and that your employer, instead of worrying about the expense, was able to pass the entire cost onto the customers while according you and your colleagues annual pay raises several times the rate of inflation.
As Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus point out in their new book "Higher Education?" that's the deal every tenured faculty member gets at America's public universities and at most larger private schools. Their hired grunts are the "adjuncts." As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hacker and Ms. Dreifus point out "it is immoral and unseemly to have a person teaching exactly the same class as an ensconced faculty member but for one-sixth the pay."
If nothing else, the need to maintain duplicate staffs one grotesquely underpaid, the other lavishly overpaid and underemployed has helped push college costs to the point where students and their parents end up tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Debts of comparable magnitude accrue to the increasing number of public-university students who never attain degrees, though the schools' ostensible primary mission is to make widespread higher education affordable. Indisputable is a college is unaffordable when four years of attendance leave students and their parents with debts exceeding $30,000.
Mr. Hacker and Ms. Dreifus document how America's universities have evolved into asylums run by the lunatics. In Connecticut, for example, the legislature and governor retain the right to intervene decisively, but they have insulated themselves from higher-education governance through layers of independent boards, and those boards are run by administrators and faculties for the benefit of administrators and faculties.
That's been the national trend. As The Wall Street Journal noted: "For all the high-minded talk, Mr. Hacker and Ms. Dreifus conclude, colleges and universities serve the people who work there more than the parents and taxpayers who pay for 'higher education' or the students who so desperately need it.'" Within such a framework, it was no surprise the Connecticut State University system's governors voted the other day to give the system's presidents a 5 percent "cost-of-living" raise to cover a year in which the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the cost of living went down.
This year, Connecticut will elect a new governor and legislature. It's time for those seeking to represent taxpayers to tell them clearly what they will do to restore affordability to Connecticut's state colleges and universities, even if that means taking back much of the delegated authority that has been grossly abused by its college and university governing boards.
A good starting point would be for the governor and legislature to insist upon the end of the absurd and exorbitant duplicate staffing, and that those on the faculty be required to do an honest amount of in-class work for their paychecks.
Ping to a Republican-American Editorial.
If you want on or off this ping list, let me know.
Don’t forget the immense number of Administration positions required to keep the scam going.
What trite BS.
If it were actually true, the best teaching instructors and professors would have salaries remotely comparable to those of the best researchers.
When I went to state school in the late 70s, school was $750.00 a semester. And worth it. My student loan for undergrad and law school was 5G.
Because, it takes a lot of money to support people that live on another planet.
College costs so much because of loans made available to anyone who wants to go. People with their MBA’s and history degrees have driven up costs even for useful degrees.(MBA’s are great if your dad owns a business)
The main reason is Gov’t backed guaranteed student loans.
Of course when you have more demand, and deeper pockets, (students with money, ie, easy gov’t money) you are going to have more rising prices on the supply end.
Same reason why health care costs go up, too.
I'm in the sport fish industry and most fishing guides
I know have a 4 year degree in something that they never intend to use. Just went to college because they were not ready to make a decision on life.
College costs so much because the number of programs has increased dramatically over the last 40 years.
Now you have womens studies, black studies, black womens studies, gay studies, black womens gay studies.. etc.
That means you have to hire professors. That means you have to hire admin.
This crap adds millions to school budgets.
Big Pharma = EVIL
Big Health Insurance = EVIL
Big Liberal Universities = RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS
The gorram books are a rip off.
i LOVE this issue. Something I have always felt, and as a dad of three teenage kids one that is becoming very personally interesting.
I had a professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the 70’s who told us the first day of class that he was there to do research, that he hated teaching and hated students, and that he wouldn’t bother to show up most of the time. He was also my academic advisor - he advised nobody and always made a point of being out of town during registration. A grad student actually did the teaching (and did a pretty good job IIRC). The assistant dean had to sign our registration forms. Of course nothing was ever done to correct the situation.
Another one of those astute analyses of the professoriate that thinks the job description is limited to classroom teaching. According to that kind of analysis, lawyers only work when they are in a courtroom, and corporate CEOs when they are meeting with the board of directors.
I think a LOT of school scholarships are handed out at schools “costing” $50k per year. The expense to the college is less than that, so its in effect a wealth transfer mechanism.
One a**hole responding to this article on Republican-American wrote:
“There are 1010 employess earning over $100,000. (ad 25% for benefits)”
Can’t be much of a cpa if this POS thinks bennies and overhead are 25%.
Assclown obviously never had to do the math for a proposal, his numbers don’t add up and he can’t spell. 25% OH, what world do you think you live in?
College costs so much for a very simple reason - government. When government intervenes in any market, the prices go up - education and health care are the prime examples.
Price goes up and the quality and availability goes down. It will always be so.
oops - they go down. (Must be my government education.)
In his “be good or be gone” speech the president stressed that they were politically and morally conservative (Sarah Palin spoke there last year). Alluding to President Obama and other liberal leaders he said “An educated man without values is dangerous”. Parents cheered. Over 4,000 applied for the little over 300 spots in the freshman class. Close summary to his quote would be “if you don't agree with what we stand for load up your car and go home; you will be happy, we will be happy, and one of those thousands that didn't get in will be happy.”
Talked to my daughter today and she is happy, classes start next week all freshmen go through an 8 day “Character Camp”
He proved my tag line
Deferring to increasing costs of textbooks:
Found out today that used textbooks are no longer “acceptable” at my son’s school.
The new books come with an online account to access supplemental material. The teacher’s guide references these supplemental materials so the kid’s have to go online to access them.
The accounts expire at the end of each semester and purchasing a new book is required for activation.
The last major, substantive analysis by economists I saw correlated virtually ALL increases in tuition not to tenure but to government aid. At my school, that’s certainly the case. Every time there is an increase in federal or state education aid, tuition goes up.
At many colleges, assistant and associate professors teach two classes per semester; full professors teach only one. That is extremely wasteful. However, faculty can make it up IF they bring in the grant $$. Some do to the extent that they pay for themselves, and then some. The problem is that once you are a full professor and tenured, you have much less incentive to chase grants. The large number of hansomely paid administrators most colleges have doesn’t help either. Lots of duplication there (e.g., Deans with mutliple assistants). Lastly, many colleges are on a building spree to stay competitive (with all the others on a building spree).
On the other hand, adjuncts do keep the cost down. Without them, the cost would be really astronomical.
BTW—I am a college professor at a public university. We have to teach four classes per semester (regarless of rank) and our tuition costs are the lowest in the state.
The accounts expire at the end of each semester and purchasing a new book is required for activation.
Too bad such a higher education philosophy can't be replicated everywhere!
Sounds like a wonderful school! Reference bump! ;-)
In marketing, this phenomenon is known as the price-quality illusion. The more expensive brand just has to be better because nobody would pay more for it if it weren't.
Examples of this abound, particularly in consumer goods where quality is subjective (e.g. cosmetics, foodstuffs, beverages, clothing, stereo equipment, gasoline, etc.). Education is no different.
Thanks for the ping Graybeard.
Hm. Are you saying that students aren’t paying tuition for an education? Are you saying that it’s good for professors not to teach their students? Maybe I’m not following you ...
Just one more reason I will not donate to my alma mater.....
I looked to see if someone posted this before I posted it myself. You are correct.
Correct. The "Student Loan" racket simply subsidizes spiraling tuition costs while at the same time ensuring that Universities graduate class after class of new debt-slaves. Graduating with a Bachelor's degree and a mortgage benefits nobody except those who package the paper and the overpriced "product" it finances.
Professors, besides teaching students, typically have a job description that includes conducting research (or doing scholarship in soft fields, or producing art in the arts), advising students, and doing a great deal of what in academe is called “governance”, but in commerce would be called “management”: we make hiring decisions, we make admissions decisions for graduate programs (and, at some institutions, undergraduate programs), set policies for majors and graduate programs, make post-hiring promotion decisions (or at least advise on these), pursue funding for research and educational programs from both public and private sources outside the university,. . .
And, at most universities, the cost of running the place is only about 1/3 funded by student tuition payments, the balance coming from endowments, research grants, or, in the case of state universities, subsidies from the state, which regards the provision of higher education as a public good.
Typically professors’ job evaluations consider teaching to be 1/3 of the basis for their evaluation, which is actually about correct, in terms of what we are actually being paid to do.
If you’d like to condemn the U.S. to lag behind the rest of the world in science and technology, by all means go on advocating having university faculty only teach students and not do research. And you can see to it that even more money (whether out of student tuition or other sources) is wasted by paying yet more professional administrators to take over hiring, promotion, and admissions decisions (even though they don’t know how to evaluate work in say mathematics or physics or chemical engineering or Byzantine history or. . ., while the faculty in the relevant area do).
Ha ha - how refreshing to hear a college president be blunt, but I guess he’s known for that.
I got to see Palin there, and I was impressed with the polite behavior and respectful dress of all the students I saw.
Hope she has a great experience!
I quit donating to mine due to the liberal content of their convocation series being over the top, IMO. They are all about tolerance and diversity and globalism. Whee!
I COULD direct my donations to a specific dept, but instead I decided screw them and their agenda. My charity money is going to conservative causes.