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Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:14 AM

How Did College Education Become So Ridiculously Expensive?

http://www.alternet.org/education/how-did-college-education-become-so-ridiculously-expensive



The student loan crisis is a new phenomenon. Despite its huge impact, as recently as the late 1980s there was no student loan crisis. Then, middle and working class students suffered from cutbacks and had difficulty financing their educations, but overall, while the system of paying for college was beginning to break down, it had not yet become the disaster it is today. The crisis came because in later years the cost of getting a higher education rose many times faster than the overall cost of living. To make matters worse, wages were stagnant and the real purchasing power of working Americans was in decline.

The crisis now centers on the inability of borrowers to repay their student loans, but those borrowers only needed loans in the first place because in the mid-1990s the cost of tuition escalated so dramatically. By the first decade of the new century, it virtually went through the roof. What drove this sudden and rapid increase?

When I was a young man in the late 1950s, many families could afford college even though far fewer than today thought it necessary. The son or daughter of a working class family could attend a public college or university where the cost of tuition was almost negligible, even for families with limited funds. Working class kids with enough talent could win scholarships to attend the more elite private universities, as I did. But even those private universities kept tuition low enough for middle class families to afford. I used my scholarship at the University of Chicago, one of the most expensive institutions in the country. Tuition was $870 per year when I enrolled in 1958 (just under $7,000 in 2013 dollars).

Young people in my time had access to an additional advantage students are unlikely to have today: part-time jobs during the school year and full-time temporary jobs in the summer. The extra money allowed me to pay for my own living expenses and graduate without debt and without having burdened my parents. I was typical. The robust American economy at the time allowed many students like me to “work our way through college.” That phrase sounds quite hollow today since most of those jobs no longer exist.

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Reply How Did College Education Become So Ridiculously Expensive? (Original post)
xchrom Mar 2014 OP
beachbum bob Mar 2014 #1
MannyGoldstein Mar 2014 #9
llmart Mar 2014 #15
fleabiscuit Mar 2014 #19
kemah Mar 2014 #27
Stuckinthebush Mar 2014 #31
FloridaJudy Mar 2014 #58
uponit7771 Mar 2014 #53
Jeff In Milwaukee Mar 2014 #67
liberal N proud Mar 2014 #2
rurallib Mar 2014 #22
exboyfil Mar 2014 #33
former9thward Mar 2014 #48
treestar Mar 2014 #3
Thor_MN Mar 2014 #11
joeglow3 Mar 2014 #25
starroute Mar 2014 #28
joeglow3 Mar 2014 #29
Gidney N Cloyd Mar 2014 #44
marmar Mar 2014 #4
Savannahmann Mar 2014 #5
bemildred Mar 2014 #6
Adrahil Mar 2014 #7
jsr Mar 2014 #51
uponit7771 Mar 2014 #54
OmahaBlueDog Mar 2014 #69
Adrahil Mar 2014 #70
OmahaBlueDog Mar 2014 #72
Starry Messenger Mar 2014 #66
RoccoR5955 Mar 2014 #8
Sancho Mar 2014 #10
raccoon Mar 2014 #12
Turbineguy Mar 2014 #13
llmart Mar 2014 #14
rurallib Mar 2014 #24
Enthusiast Mar 2014 #16
freebrew Mar 2014 #18
Enthusiast Mar 2014 #36
MisterP Mar 2014 #63
alc Mar 2014 #17
Demeter Mar 2014 #20
xchrom Mar 2014 #21
marble falls Mar 2014 #23
jsr Mar 2014 #52
MineralMan Mar 2014 #26
liberal N proud Mar 2014 #34
MineralMan Mar 2014 #37
liberal N proud Mar 2014 #42
MineralMan Mar 2014 #43
n2doc Mar 2014 #30
QC Mar 2014 #32
HughBeaumont Mar 2014 #35
FarCenter Mar 2014 #38
Gidney N Cloyd Mar 2014 #46
FarCenter Mar 2014 #50
jeff47 Mar 2014 #39
Divernan Mar 2014 #57
Divernan Mar 2014 #40
Vashta Nerada Mar 2014 #45
FarCenter Mar 2014 #47
Divernan Mar 2014 #49
FloridaJudy Mar 2014 #60
alp227 Mar 2014 #65
lumberjack_jeff Mar 2014 #41
tammywammy Mar 2014 #55
Silent3 Mar 2014 #56
taught_me_patience Mar 2014 #59
Warren Stupidity Mar 2014 #61
stopbush Mar 2014 #62
mike_c Mar 2014 #64
OmahaBlueDog Mar 2014 #68
Douglas Carpenter Mar 2014 #71

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:17 AM

1. the availabilty of loans drove prices up as colleges

 

now saw the business opportunity of enrolling as many students as possible and throwing students loans out in mass combined that with the already bloated higher education system that gives sabbaticals left and right and relied more and more on teaching assistants (grad students) to do the daily grind


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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:53 AM

9. +1 nt

 

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:50 AM

15. Very true.

From what I see from working at a public university, the term "sabbatical" means something different than it did years ago when it was an opportunity for a professor to take some time off to do valuable research in his/her topic. Now for many it's a paid vacation, sometimes for an entire year. I know of one professor who schedules his sabbatical every year for the summer months when his children are off from school and they can spend it in Hilton Head.

Also, as someone said elsewhere in this thread, there are way too many administrators who are getting paid way too much and do nothing of importance.

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:12 AM

19. There's the trees getting in the way of the forest.

I find arguments that migrate to the picky details instead of focusing on the structure distracting, although you are apparently fortunate to have a "bloated" higher education opportunity where you are at. I don't find a large "bloated" education problem in my state. Conformity to a process started with Carter would be an interesting argument IMHO.

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:52 AM

27. Loans did not drive prices up. Tax cuts to education drove prices up

When GOP slash higher ed taxes, the money has to be made up some where.
I went to San Diego State before Reagan and it cost $80 per semester tuition. After Reagan the tuition soared.

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Response to kemah (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:15 AM

31. ^^^ THIS

Truth.

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Response to kemah (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:58 AM

58. Yup.

I went to UC Berkeley in the early sixties before Reagan tried to destroy it. Tuition was about $75 a semester.

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:40 AM

53. This is false on it's face, there's less money going to colleges from state and feder government ...

...along with a 1%er attitude of school admins getting paid as much as CEOs in medium to large companies.

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 12:57 AM

67. Complete and unadulerated Horse Shit...

You know who says that "student loans cause tuition to increase?" Piece of shit legislators who keep cutting the funding to higher education and who are, as a result, desperate to find somebody to blame for their own stupid decisions.

In 2011-2012, states ON AVERAGE, decreased funding to state colleges and universities by 6.7% -- and over the last thirty years, when adjusted for inflation, states have decreased their support for higher education by (in some states) more than 50%.

Yeah. It's the fault of the loans. That's like blaming bandages because the patient is bleeding. There is nothing about the soaring cost of higher education that cannot be traced directly back to the decisions made by politicians to defund public education.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:20 AM

2. I blame the neo-conservatives who took an axe to the taxes and budgets

Colleges had no choice but to push the cost to the student.

Education no longer is seen as a vital segment of our society. Educated people tend to come to their own conclusions for the most part and that makes it more difficult to push through corporatist laws and policy.

We got what we were willing to pay for! or at least what a few radicals decided we were willing to pay for.



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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:23 AM

22. In Iowa taxes on corporations were cut so far

that at least the top ten earner corps now pay no taxes. The top three or four get huge rebates for "research."
My youngest graduated in 2001. We had saved for their education, but oh man we just missed the worst part.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #22)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:24 AM

33. My oldest starts in August at Iowa State

One piece of advice I would give to students is to do absolutely everything you can in terms of credits before going off to college. All three state schools offer online classes (Iowa State offers several sophomore and junior level engineering and science courses for example). The community colleges have strong articulation agreements with the state schools. Community college online courses are also available.

Before you take an AP classes determine how it will apply for your major. Many AP classes are useless at the public universities in Iowa. For example AP Biology cannot be used at Iowa or Iowa State. AP Chemistry only gets you out of one semester at Iowa (and that is with a 5 on the test) and you have to go through a review at Iowa State. AP Language is useless at Iowa or Iowa State.

Also consider CLEP credit. CLEPs are more convenient since they can be taken at any time. Make sure they actually help towards your desired degree though.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:20 AM

48. Colleges had no choice?

They had a choice not to fill up their payroll with countless administrators who do little if anything of importance. They had a choice not to pay bloated salaries to professors doing little work. When I was in law school my professors were making 175k for teaching one or two courses. Ridiculous. No, the colleges made a choice to off-load their excess onto students with easy to get loans.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:24 AM

3. True, maybe it is all the technology?

The computers and the things now deemed necessary. I went to college when computers took up whole rooms and used punch cards. We needed pens and notebooks, and didn't have laptops or tape recorders. I imagine every science lab has gotten way more sophisticated as to expensive machinery.

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Response to treestar (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:07 AM

11. Out in the world, computerized instruments have driven massive productivity gains.

 

Back when I started working as a chemist, most tests involving an instrument meant giving the machine a sample, pushing a button, writing down a number into a log book with a pen, then using a calculator to get the final results. Now, one loads the samples into a robotic sampler, enters the sample numbers into the computer, hits the run command and then comes back later to collect the final results. The workload capacity of labs went up so much in the 90's that there was a shakeout - too much capacity chasing too few samples.

I got out of chemistry as the environmental testing industry was collapsing. True that the computerized instruments cost more, but they allow for so much more throughput that they more than make up the cost. Technology has driven costs down.

I got government student loans with very low interest (relative to prime rate) while I was still in school. Once I was done, the interest rate went up, but was still quite good compared to the prime rate.

My nephews, on the other hand, have to get bank loans at outrageous rates, because the government student loans really don't exist any more. One nephew asked me to co-sign a loan for $2000. The bank, which turned out to be the same one I have an account at, wanted 10% interest from the first day, that being about 4 years ago. The bank was getting essentially free money from the government and they had the money sitting in my account, for which I was getting about 0.2%. They were going to be loan that to my nephew at 10% interest, giving the bank over 9.8% interest for doing almost nothing. I gave him the money, rather then let him get screwed by the bank.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:43 AM

25. Most items I have read disagree with you

 

It is not that the technology has not provided gains. It is that colleges feel like they need to compete for students, so instead of using the existing technology they have for the life of the technology (as short as it may be), they are CONTINUALLY updating it to have the latest and greatest. Add this to the insane amount of money they are adding for student amenities and it is easy to see how even state budgets couldn't keep up with this wasteful, runaway spending.

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Response to joeglow3 (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:05 AM

28. The "competing for students" part is exactly right

And it's not the hard-working, upwardly mobile children of the poor they're after. It's the offspring of the 1% who might be persuaded to offer generous donations and endowments to their children's alma mater.

When I was in college, dorms and other housing were relatively spartan even for the children of the rich. I gather that's no longer the case.

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Response to starroute (Reply #28)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:10 AM

29. In the 90's our dorm room was tiny

 

And, when built years earlier, it was one of the largest, square footage wise, available. Even then, they were using this as a recruiting tool. Since then, dorms are seen as obsolete. Nowadays, they are spending all their money on college apartments. The space allocated to two students today in some of these apartments is equivalent to the space 8-10 occupied 20 years ago. Add it all the other amenities like garage parking (if you wanted a car at college, you parked it five blocks away, meaning few brought cars to college), swimming pools, MULTIPLE new state-of-the-art work out facilities, etc.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:08 AM

44. It's both the instructional technology and the student information systems that have grown.

The productivity gains by sophisticated SIS are more than offset by the IMMENSE increase in data that 1) must be kept, 2) must be kept incredibly secure, 3) must be reported, and 4) must be analyzed more and more and more.

Instructional technology is at the point where every classroom must be a "smart classroom" with minimally a computer and projector hooked up to high speed networks. Add on classroom management tools for both permanent labs and convertible rooms. Back it all up with course management software. Throw in ADA support for good measure (among the myriad examples of expanding student support).

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:27 AM

4. k/r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:29 AM

5. Are you saying we should be looking at Big Education?

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:32 AM

6. Same way housing did, easy loans create a bubble. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:35 AM

7. Administrators are part of the answer.

 

At my wife's University, in the last 20 years, the size of he faculty has increased increased 5%. Faculty salaries have decline 4% in real dollars. Student enrollment has increased about 20%. The number of administrators has TRIPLED, and their average salary has quadrupled in real dollars. BTW, almost all of this expansion has occurred ABOVE the Dean level. It's not a mistake that some University Presidents are now referred to as CEO's.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:29 AM

51. +1

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:41 AM

54. YES!! There's NO FREAKIN REASON the head football coach should get paid 5 million a year!

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #54)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 01:07 AM

69. There is EVERY FREAKIN REASON if their program brings 10 million in revenue to the school

Medical profs get paid a fortune -- why not coaches?

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Response to OmahaBlueDog (Reply #69)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 05:31 AM

70. Football programs are only "profitable" at the top football schools.

 

Most schools "lose" money on football programs.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #70)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 02:46 PM

72. Coaches only get $5 million per year at top football schools

...so it balances out. The football coach at South Dakota State isn't making nearly that much.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 12:48 AM

66. Yup.

We add more admin seemingly every year, with rubber stamps on their step raises. In the meantime, faculty fight for every single digit percent raise.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:53 AM

8. It's simple...

 

Like everything, it's all about the greed of the 1%, and the failure of capitalism.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:04 AM

10. The biggest problem is change in state support for college.

Conservative legislatures for about 30 years, and particularly in the last 10 years, have cut support for higher-education. All public colleges (community, state universities, etc.) in the 50's would pay for the majority of costs - up to 80%! In the 60's and 70's, colleges also generated lots more money with two "new" areas: research grants (usually an expanding federal investment) and athletics (TV revenue). Both of those dried up in the 80's.

Motivated to make colleges "privatized" and also to use tax money for pet projects instead of education, many states reduced the proportion of support for college. Many colleges now get the majority of funding from tuition and fees, where it used to be provided by an appropriation from your state government.

Private colleges have always depended on tuition and whatever foundation accounts they can create, but the cost of private college is usually 3 to 4 times the cost of public universities.

In real dollars, faculty salaries are no better than several decades ago, and actually have decreased for many professors. Administrators and coaches have done better than the faculty.


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Response to Sancho (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:15 AM

12. At my local community college, state support has been cut WAY back in recent years.


The result, tuition increases. You've got to make it up somewhere.





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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:19 AM

13. It's probably always been expensive.

But it was considered a societal good to subsidize it since those who were educated tended to earn more and pay more taxes.

This is precisely the sort of thing that government is good at since it does not have the tyranny of the quarterly statement.

Politicians of the "government should be run like a business" ilk figured out that they could give money back to taxpayers (who have no idea or are misinformed about what their taxes are spent on) and make themselves look good. Given the latency of cause and effect on things like education, it takes years for bad policy to show up. And it takes even longer to repair the damage.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:46 AM

14. Very well thought out post......

especially the statement "it takes years for bad policy to show up."

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:28 AM

24. not only do the educated earn more and pay more taxes - they are often

the inventor or innovators that keep the pipelines filled with the next hot doo-dads that drive the economy.
As the education system dries up innovations will more and more come from areas of the world where education is valued.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:51 AM

16. This is yet another result of corporate rule.

How much longer are we going to put up with them ruining the nation?

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:07 AM

18. Don't forget the H1B visas...

companies can now hire foreign workers, with degrees for much less than Americans and those workers are happy to get the smaller amount as long as they can stay here. The result: expensive degrees that won't get you a job.

Outsourcing to other countries and even to other states that have done away with worker protections has also condemned an entire generation to work for next to nothing. The only jobs available in my area are retail jobs. The management jobs go to friends and relatives of other managers regardless of ability.

I see ads promoting tech schools all the time. One disturbing thing about them is the 'students' on the ads tell us they don't know why they need these other courses that aren't relative to the jobs they are seeking, like English Comp or History. Such useless subjects, without which these people are so much more moldable to the corporate mindset.



"Everything management says is a lie!" -Boehmer

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Response to freebrew (Reply #18)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:28 AM

36. Bad policy is hurting us in many ways.

These bad policies are the result of poor decisions and wrong priorities.

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Response to freebrew (Reply #18)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 03:34 PM

63. yes! especially on the 3rd paragraph: everything valuated strictly on dollar terms

history doesn't rake in the cash (and radio astronomy and paleo-cladistics even less so): by applying cost-benefit to knowledge itself the corpos tank the whole notion

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 07:55 AM

17. demand

In the 70s, it was very acceptable to plan on a vocational school or junior college or start working (plumber, electrician, hvac) right out of high school. I still live near my high school and I'd be shocked if over 5% of the kids have plans other than college. It was 20% when I was in school and my wife says over 50% from her graduating class didn't go to college. My kids are in college now and I haven't met or heard of a single one of their friends who didn't go to a 4-year college and all of them tried for a "major" college.

There are still good jobs that don't need a major 4-year college but kids are told that the major college is a must even when it's not right for them - I know a number who have predictably failed out.

Since everyone "has to go to college" it's only fair to make loans cheap/easy. The college ate up the combination of high demand and ability to pay. The "best" colleges actually brag about how much they spend on various things in the sales literature (why is sales/marketing even needed) that my kids got. The top colleges actually compete to be the most expensive as if it's a good thing (unfortunately some parents I know do rate the quality of schools on cost). When the top-tier raises costs the next tier follows and it trickles down.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:14 AM

20. Why does a college president get paid a million bucks?

 

The retiring president of University of Michigan, Sue Coleman, and her husband donated ONE MILLION DOLLARS CASH for scholarships. In my opinion, if you have a million bucks to give away before your death, you are paid too much.

The new president is coming in at a base salary of $750,000, 87.5% more than the President of the USA who is paid $400,000. That's absurd on its face. That's $150,000 more than Coleman made at her best, by the way, a definite slap in the face for women's equal pay, as well.

And of course the football coach and the hospital/medical school people are also absurdly compensated....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #20)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:20 AM

21. +1

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Response to Demeter (Reply #20)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:24 AM

23. UT has over $8Billion in its endowment. Why are student fees going up every year?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:46 AM

26. Ronald Reagan and his ilk.

As states scaled back funding for public colleges and universities, the cost of attending those schools rose. Private colleges and institutions no longer had to compete with what was essentially free education, so they raised their tuition and fees accordingly, as the public colleges began charging higher tuition.

This benefited the banks and other lenders, who took advantage of these higher costs to make student loans.

Reagan, as Governor of California, set this whole process in motion, at the same time he cut funding for mental health facilities and other public functions. All in the name of cutting taxes. We all suffered from those decisions.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #26)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:25 AM

34. That fucker is to blame for 90% of our problems today

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:35 AM

37. Well, it's less him than those who supported and controlled him.

Reagan was an actor, and he read the lines that were fed to him. He got elected because he was a likable-looking, familiar face, and he spoke in a way that people liked.

I doubt if any of his policies were his idea at all.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #37)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:02 AM

42. He is still at fault

If you allow others to commit a crime when I hold the most powerful position in the world, you are to blame.

Regardless of how clueless he was, his name is all over it. Not to hold any of the rest of his regime in any lest contempt.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #42)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:05 AM

43. I'm not supporting him here, or anywhere.

But he was still a figurehead of something much larger.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:13 AM

30. Good article, but I wish people would proofread these things

BTW, Harvard has over 2 million per student in its endowment. It has no need to even charge tuition. Yet it does.


What we have gone to is a 2 tier system- one for the 1% and a few of the most talented with all the traditional resources and best tech, and one for the rest that is headed towards becoming just a diploma mill.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:15 AM

32. A colleague at my small state college recently retired

after almost forty years here.

She told me that when she left this place we had roughly the same number of faculty as when she arrived in 1973, but more than four times as many administrators and support staff.

There's a major part of the problem.

We have about four hundred people on the full-time payroll here, but only about eighty of them teach.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:27 AM

35. "You NEED this diploma, sucker, so COUGH UP!!"

In one sentence.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:42 AM

38. It is a personal service industry that has not increased productivity.

 

Personal services jobs are those that involve an employee interacting directly with the customer being served. It is very hard to increase productivity in those jobs -- basically you are dividing the employee's compensation by the number of customers served in order to get the cost per customer.

The only way to increase productivity is to either reduce employee compensation or to increase the number of customers per employee.

While auto manufacturers or brewers have managed to increase the number of cars or cans of beer produced per employee, higher education has not.

I'm part way through two MOOCS from MIT and U Washington. They are really quite good. There is hope for increased productivity in higher education.

PS - higher education also has high real estate occupancy costs that they resist doing anything about while they pursue monumental architecture on campus -- even the local CC does this to memorialize various pols.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #38)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:17 AM

46. But the services have broadly expanded also.

Tech support, disability services, expanded counseling, remedial tutoring, lobbying (yup!), public safety (as in gun crazies and other predators), the list goes on and on.

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Response to Gidney N Cloyd (Reply #46)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:22 AM

50. And at research institutions, administrative cost have risen

 

Despite raking off high administrative fees from research contracts, it's not clear that all research costs are covered.

There are a lot of costs in making proposals, selling proposals, contracting, administering contracts, reporting, etc. that probably bleed into general expenses and hence student tuition. Any business that gets involved in government contracting will find high costs in dealing with an overwhelmingly complex bureaucracy.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:43 AM

39. They've always been expensive. Back in the 1950s the government paid

which is why the author's college was so cheap.

The Reagan Revolution put an end to that terrible problem.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:53 AM

57. In the 80's University College Dublin (public school) subsidized the following:

My daughter, an American citizen, enrolled directly in an undergrad liberal arts degree program, ending up with an honors degree in economics. She shared inexpensive off-campus housing with other students. Her annual tuition was around $600. Depending on what student activities she chose, she had the totally free use of an ocean-going yacht (sailing club), horses to ride on cross-country hunts (riding club), trips to visit the Bank of England in London and to Strassbourg to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Things are different now - no such tuition breaks available to non-Irish, or non-EU citizens.

But only a year ago, I was ending a visit to the wild Scottish highlands with a night at the symphony in Edinburgh, Scotland. I got in a very interesting conversation at intermission with three Chinese, university-age students who were seated behind me. We continued our talk afterward. Their government had sent them for a four month stay in Edinburgh so they could improve their English and learn the customs and mores of Europeans so they would be equipped to effectively interact with them later in their careers. This was part of their govt. subsidized higher ed. Gee! Investing in the future of your country and your country's economy by educating the young to function in an international economy.

Oh, never mind, as long as young Americans can have 76 cable channels & flat screen TVs in their dorm suites and rock-climbing walls & gourmet food in their dorms, and come out saddled with debt. That's the ticket!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 09:46 AM

40. Public universities w/ obscenely luxury dorm facilities; for one percenter wannabes?

Safe to say, the bulk of tuition is going to administration and housing costs, not faculty salaries, especially with the trend to part-time adjuncts instead of tenure stream faculty. Further, you'll note that these obscenely luxurious facilities are found in 2nd or 3rd rate schools, where administrators have opted to go for posh amenities rather than academic excellence.
University of Central Florida
When it opened in August '13, the new dorm pushed the bounds of cushiness. Every room has en-suite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Suites have island kitchens with stone countertops, washer-dryers and walk-in closets. Duplex units feature spiral staircases and two-story atriums. There is a resort-style swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center, sauna and game room. The parking garage is seven stories, ensuring that no student will have to take an elevator or brave the Florida elements on the way from their cars to their dorm rooms.
Living large on campus


Growing competition for students who have more sophisticated tastes means that schools are trying to outdo each other with ever-tonier campus housing. And keeping up in the luxury dorm race is now critical to a school's bottom line. A 2006 study published by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers found that "poorly maintained or inadequate residential facilities" was the No. 1 reason students rejected enrolling at institutions.

Private universities get most of the mentions on lists of schools with great dorms, as recent ratings by The Princeton Review, College Prowler and Campus Splash make clear. But a few state schools that have invested in new facilities are starting to show up in those reviews, too.

While many schools offer first dibs on the nicest digs to upperclassmen, as the war for student dollars ratchets up, even first-year students at public colleges are living in style. Click ahead for a look at 10 on-campus dormitories at state schools that offer students resort-like amenities.
http://money.msn.com/family-money/public-colleges-with-luxurious-dorms

Penn State University: Eastview Terrace

This complex offers upperclassmen fully furnished single rooms with private bathrooms. Rooms are wired for cable TV, with dozens of popular channels and Internet access. There are also refrigerators and microwaves. All of the buildings have mail pickup and delivery. One senior told the university's student affairs office, "When I saw the room, I started jumping up and down."

University of Michigan: North Quadrangle Complex

This $175 million development at Michigan, now 2 years old, offers 450 rooms for upperclassmen: singles, doubles and triples, all with Wi-Fi access and central air. An internationally themed dining hall won the National Association of College and University Food Services' gold status last year for presentation and menu, according to a CNN report. Entries include salmon fillet, tortellini with walnut pesto sauce, lamb and shark. Students can also hit the Java Blue cafe and coffee shop for late-night cram sessions or take a break in the art gallery. An airy, ballroom-style multipurpose room with armchairs set in circles lets students work on group projects in comfort.

Georgia State University: University Commons

Students (most of them freshmen) at this gated-community complex of 8- to 15-story apartment buildings get a fully furnished private room in a suite that includes either two or four bedrooms and one or two baths. Each suite comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a living room. Bedrooms are wired with high-speed Ethernet, a high-speed voice link and cable TV. Wi-Fi also is available throughout the complex. There's a convenience store, mail delivery, a health clinic and 24-hour security. "We also have some of the best views in Atlanta," one resident told the school newspaper.
There are people who pay thousands of dollars to get views like ours."

University of Cincinnati: Campus Recreation Center housing

Opened at the University of Cincinnati in fall 2005, this student housing is a dream come true for upper-class fitness nuts. They can pick from a 40-foot climbing wall, a fitness center with more than 200 machines, an Olympic-sized lap pool, a current channel (an indoor river for those who want an upstream workout), an indoor track and a six-court gym. The complex offers private bedrooms, but bathrooms and living rooms are shared. It also includes a convenience store and a dining hall with seven taste stations.

Colorado State University: Academic Village

Built in 2007 to house first-year engineering and honors students, the Academic Village offers climate-controlled single or double rooms that come with their own bathroom. The Colorado State building houses a 44,000-square-foot dining commons, which seats 700 and offers themed menus with selections like Mongolian Grill, Sizzling Salads, Tex-Mex and other foods. A fireside lounge offers a spot to study or chat around a roaring hearth during frigid Colorado winters. Forget waiting around in the laundry room for an open machine -- high-tech washer-dryers let students check online for machine availability.

Montclair State University: The Heights

This university's newest residence hall, which opened in the fall 2011, is the largest residence and dining complex in New Jersey. It features single and double rooms, a community kitchen, multiple game-recreation spaces and closed study areas on each floor. All rooms have wireless access and 78-channel cable TV. The 24,000-square-foot dining hall has stations with names like Bella Trattoria, Flying Star Grill, Wild Mushroom and Magellan's World Cuisine (which rotates ethnic menus throughout the semester), as well as a vegetarian cuisine station. Breakfast is served all day.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #40)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:13 AM

45. My college spent millions on a new housing complex...

 

and, four years after being built, it is still only half full. Why? Because they charge $11,000 for 12 month lease. Most college students can pay 1/2 that off - campus.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #40)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:18 AM

47. Lifestyle and amenities on campus are better than almost all will be able to afford after graduating

 

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #47)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:21 AM

49. I have 3 degrees & it's better than I can afford right now!

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Response to Divernan (Reply #40)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 11:22 AM

60. Holy crap!

When I went to UC I shared a 9x12' room. Bathrooms/showers were down the hall. There was one black and white TV in the lounge area shared by four dorms (we Science Fiction fans commandeered it). The cafeteria food was godawful; breakfast was about the only palatable meal, and they only served that from 7-8:30 am. Otherwise count on canned veggies, mystery meat, and limp iceberg lettuce. One coin-op washer/drier per dorm.

Oh, and I had to hike over two miles to class. Uphill, both ways! And I liked it, by gum! Now get off my lawn.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #40)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 12:37 AM

65. Geez, who built these? Cronies of big wig admins?

i thought colleges were supposed to be places for young people to experience the real world...turns out these colleges appeal by those who wish to be sheltered from the adversarial parts of living.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

41. Because there are too many workers.

 

Almost every social ill in the US boils down to that one observation.

In the case of higher learning, for decades people who are out of work have been sold the idea that it's their own fault because "they lack the skills to compete in the new economy". At one time, workers were scarce enough that employers had to train them, and offer incentives (retirement plans) to keep them. Not today. Today, employers require large amounts of arbitrary education to obtain jobs that normal intelligence and a high school reading ability enables workers to perform (did you know that a "bachelor's degree in social networking" is a thing?) This displaces the costs of labor onto the employees, and it's intentional.

Lower the workweek to 32 hours and raise the cost of overtime to 2x. Two simple changes to FLSA law that would fix everything.

It would be simple if the government actually worked for the people.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:42 AM

55. Government cuts to education spending. n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 10:45 AM

56. A better question might be: Where does all the money go?

Sure, things like loss of subsidies for state schools is part of the problem, but it doesn't explain a tuition increase from, say, $7000/year to $30,000/year -- state subsidies were never covering $23,000 for every year one student was attending college.

When you figure instructor pay divided by the often large number of students on instructor must teach, some tiny fraction of the cost of the buildings, utilities, and other facilities used, reasonable administrative costs per student... I don't see how you ever get to many tens of thousands of dollars unless there's also a lot of unnecessary bloat -- like huge executive salaries and expensive athletic programs.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 11:02 AM

59. Boomers realized they didn't want to pay the taxes to fund them.

 

State university budgets are the first things to get slashed in budget shortfalls.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 11:38 AM

61. Working class income stagnated

 

And a combination of privatization and defunding of higher education benefits. All part of the reaganization of our society and political parties.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 11:58 AM

62. I attended state university in OH from 1972-76.

We were on the semester schedule. Tuition was $269 per semester. That allowed you to take a full-time student number of courses, which was 12 hours/credits-worth of course work. IIRC, at that time, one course hour was worth one credit. You could take up to 21 course hours per semester for the same $269, but you had to get the massive load approved by your faculty adviser and maybe the dean. I never took less than 12 hours and often took 21. My degree required that I take 192 hours of course work in 4 years. I ended up taking 240. Most of my tuition was paid through scholarships. The rest I made up through work-study programs and getting paid under the table to play oboe in the school chamber orchestra.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 08:28 PM

64. public disinvestment in higher education...

...has been shifting the burden of costs onto students for decades. College has gotten somewhat more expensive, just like everything else. But the perceived increase is mostly due to state legislatures cutting funding for higher ed, so that universities are forced to raise tuition and fees to make up the loss. That accounts for the bulk of the additional cost to students. Taxpayers-- or just their representatives-- are deciding to pay less, making students pay more.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 01:04 AM

68. Funny you should ask, since we're college shopping

Preface: When I was a kid, the low cost option was your state school. The next option on the cost list was a public school, out-of-state. Then was private school.

What we're finding now: The game has changed. The first, best option (from a pure cost perspective) is still your state school. What we find (and we've read the fine print) is that high end private schools are now the next best choice. Why? Because most of them give very substantial aid to families with $95K or less AGI (YMMV). I'm not talking about schools you've never heard of; these are schools like Vanderbilt, Emory, and the Ivies. So to answer your question, in the case of private schools, there is a certain degree of soaking the rich to pay for the poor. The trick, of course, is being one of the lucky few to be admitted.

The other thing we've seen is friends who have sent kids to smaller private schools who (essentially) negotiated tuition like it was a used car deal.

Yes.. times are different than when my parents and grandparents went to Cal ...for free.

The worst option. If you are making less than $95K AGI, public school out-of-state is the worst choice. Why? States are hard up for money, and for the well-to-do, Cal or UVA or Chapel Hill out-of-state will run you a helluva lot less than Emory or Vandy or any of the Ivies -- where your income is too high to qualify for grants, but too low to really call $0K per year in tuition "affordable".

So what I see now are kids going to commuter school or JUCO for their first 2-3 years, and then transferring. I have a niece who has a deal at a small, private school to do 3 years there, and then finish out her final two years at a big-name tech school. She'll go 5 years, and get two BS degrees at completion.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 05:49 AM

71. MBA's and other financial wizards took over colleges and hospitals and developed a long list of

new techniques for cooking the books and milking the system. In time they created a new norm where those who do not sufficiently cook the books and milk the system cannot compete with those who do

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