Are Colleges Ripping Us Off?

Every year, at least here in Colorado, there is much hand-wringing about the decline of higher education due to budgetary restrictions.  Setting aside the question of whether we send too many people to college (we do), the fact that for many students college is a four-year party (it is), and the problem of radical tenured professors using government dollars to espouse liberal causes while excluding conservatives from their cushy ranks (they do), Instapundit links to some new research that casts doubt on the claim that colleges need more taxpayer support and/or ever-higher tuition:

The report was released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which is directed by Richard K. Vedder, an economist who is also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Chronicle blogger. It says student tuition payments actually subsidize university spending on things that are unrelated to classroom instruction, like research, and that universities unfairly inflate the stated cost of providing an education by counting unrelated spending into the mix of what it costs them to educate students.

* * *

On its Web site, the report says, the Dartmouth College Fund maintained that while the institution charged undergraduates about $50,000 each in academic 2009-10, the college actually spent about $104,400 per student. While the center’s report notes that Dartmouth indeed spent more over all per student than what it took in through tuition payments, “this does not mean that students are being subsidized because not all of that spending is used toward specifically educational purposes.”

For example, says the report, Dartmouth said it spent $37,000 per student on “academic support,” $24,000 per student for research, $15,000 for “institutional support,” and $12,000 for “student services.” But, says the report, “very little of that $88,000 is properly attributed to the cost of providing an education.”

I would bet good money that the majority of that $88,000 is properly attributed to maintaining a vast array of administrators and supporting comfortable tenured professorships that accomplish little in the way of education (or important research).  I wouldn’t have such a problem with it — research is good and a certain level of administration is necessary — if so much of the administration were not devoted to PC grievance-mongering and so much research were not of the Ward Churchill fraudulent leftist idiot kind.

Regardless, we need to keep such things in mind when the human shields of eduction are trotted out in budgetary debates.

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Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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