Monday, September 27, 2010

A break down on the cost of higher education

Last year I wrote:

"I have blogged in the past about the problem of rising cost of a college education. In a nut shell the cost of college education has climbed twice as fast as inflation for decades. It has gotten to the point that a college education is not an economic benefit for many."

This year I found that it is worse than that: College tuition has been climbing three times as fast as inflation.

I've often wondered just exactly what is the breakdown? Where is all the money going? What does tuition keep going up faster than inflation, year after year?

Like many problems I doubt there is a simple answer, but I would like to know at least some of the causes.

Here is a partial answer, the LA Times' article Colleges: Where the money goes starts with the problem:

"At Pomona College, a top-flight liberal arts school, this year's sticker price for tuition and fees is a hefty $38,394 (not including room and board). Even after adjusting for inflation, that comes to 2.9 times what Pomona was charging a generation ago, in 1980."

Their basic assessment is:

"Athletic teams, administrators and tenured professors soak up huge chunks of colleges' budgets, and tuition and fees rise to keep up."

Read the whole article for details.


maira said...

It is indeed hard to understand why the cost of college education increases unproporionally to the inflation. Here are some numbers:

We certainly don't have the annual inflation rate of 5.6%, isn't it time for the government to interfere and put a cap on how much colleges can increase their fees?

Parag said...

Parents nowadays have higher expectations when it comes to their children’s education unlike before so there is a tendency to send them to private or international schools and foreign universities. So education becomes more expensive.
Rising Cost Of Education

john edelson said...

Thanks for highlighting this issue. I read the article and will buy the book. While I feel good about the current level of discussion about how messed up the US K12 education system is (and I'm hoping it will lead to general reform), I think the travesty of higher ed is not yet on the agenda. The unholy alliance of sports and colleges seems inane to me, especially in light of the stat that it usually loses money. Yet it continues!

Henry Cate said...

Maria, thank you for the link to the Gerber page. It had some good data.
Since the government already runs lots of college and universities, and their tuitions are also climbing, I don't think more laws will solve anything.

John - I was suprised by just how expensive sports are, and how many colleges are expanding their sports programs.