after a carreer as a Prof. can anyone tell me (us) why college is so expensive? Why are the books allowed…..
then consider the grants from big pharma, defense dept, corporations, etc and then look at the billions in reserve funds that the big schools have i.e. U of T, Rice, Tx Tech, and Tx A&M….these are state ultra-rich schools all who have raised tuition every year for decades.
The number of students in colleges has dramatically increased over recent decades. That means more dorms, more classrooms buildings and labs, and students today demand much more in the way of facilities… gyms and computer centers… that didnt exist years ago. As everyone knows the price of health care, the price of real estate, and the cost of hiring top technical people has skyrocketed over the last 25 years. The idea that schools are ultra-rich and have piles of money sitting around while they bilk their students is just nonsense. That doesnt happen. And especially in many states, the support for the state universities has declined over the years in terms of dollars per enrolled student.
Most schools have been desperately trying to increase their endowments by every possible means so that they can use the earnings from that class of investment to reduce student costs. It is constantly discussed in the administrative offices of every school.
And faculty are very concerned about the cost of texts… the last time I was involved in a textbook decision we read more than 30 texts and argued about the adoption for more than a year. The text we chose cost over $150. So, some students complained. But we used the text a lot in class — if you pay thousands for a course and then pay another $150 for the book, that isnt a very great percentage added on….
College financing is a very complicated question that has engaged the attention of high officials at every school. While the schools are trying to provide basic needs, the students are arguing about rankings and which dorm has the best games room. the enitre complex controversy is not going to disappear any time soon….
Since you have an interest in this area, perhaps you have a career ahead as a member of the Provost’s office at a big name school!!!!
I’d add that students want and demand more from universities every year. It used to be that dorm rooms were simple cement block rooms with a pine desk and a 4-inch mattress. The food was always rice and grade-d meat of the day. Today, dorm rooms are slick apartment style units with private baths, furniture from Ethan Allen (or similar), internet access, multiple phone lines, cable TV, and maid service! Instead of cafeterias, they have food courts with five or six choices of food available at each meal, and “off-hours” dining options are a must.
It’s all pretty crazy, but sadly, it seems that much of the cost is driven by the demands of you students and we parents who are willing to write the ever increasing tuition checks. Perhaps if we (the parents) simply refused to pay for all of the extras, those costs would come down!
At my institution, for example, our health insurance increased by 40%, 24%, and 20% over three years. In those same three years, our property insurance increased by 125%, 85%, and 55%. The institution’s response was to **cut** faculty and staff members’ health insurance benefits dramatically, our retirement benefits have been cut every year for the past five years, and finally… we’ve gotten as little as 1% annual raises at a time when our living expenses have gone up about 7% each year.
So in other words, tuition is going up because of the same national problems that are facing your parents in their jobs. The difference is that we (universities generally) have been asking our faculty and staff to bear the brunt of these costs and raise tuition only very slowly so that these costs aren’t passed directly on to students and their families.
I may sound a bit less than sympathetic, but for the past several years, I’ve watched my spendable income **drop** every year with no end in sight, while my students complain about comparatively minor increases in tuition. It’s really hard to take… and it’s driven some of our professors to leave the university and academia entirely.
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