Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Study: Fat Cat Professors Not Responsible for Rising Tuition, May Not Actually Exist

Between 78 and 79 percent of the tuition hikes at public universities -- which averaged $3,628 per student at research universities and $2,463 per student at nonresearch colleges -- was due to declining state appropriations, between 5 and 6 percent was due to increased administrative spending, and another 6 percent was due to construction costs.
Report says administrative bloat, construction booms not largely responsible for tuition increases | InsideHigherEd.


  1. "Reality has a known liberal bias."

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  3. The sad part is that fatcat administrators are also somewhat less common than those looking for an easy alternative scapegoat would like them to be. I still think we need a return to more temporary, still-teaching-while-administering administrators (and fewer career ones, and an immediate end to "higher ed administration" degrees, at least above the M.A.level), but I suspect that there are valid arguments against such ideas as well. Decreasing salary disparities among administrators and faculty with similar degrees and experience might, at least, eliminate some perverse incentives, but that's about all I've got. Unless we go back to treating higher ed like the public good/basic infrastructure it is, tuition-payers (who are now mostly students and their parents) are going to continue paying more for less, and it seems likely that the next target will be the time professors spend on research* (which, for all that I wish teaching-oriented faculty got more respect -- especially tangible respect in the form of reasonable course loads, job security, and salaries equal to those of more research-oriented faculty -- I do not support. Research, especially the non-revenue-producing basic & humanities kind, is also a basic social/societal good, and colleges and universities are, for the most part, where it gets done).

    *In related news, Rebecca Schuman is back from whatever passes as maternity leave for a freelancing post-academic, in fine fettle, and with a very cute baby daughter, about whom she writes as passionately, as amusingly, and as realistically, as she writes about academia. I like her style.

    1. Exactly; treating, and funding, education like a private good, and the attendant "running it like a [Gilded Age] business," is the issue. Playing games with prerequisites isn't going to fix it.

      Schuman has a great Chronicle piece out, about searching for jobs outside of academia, in which she advises job-seekers to do channel George Costanza and do the exact opposite of whatever their academic training has taught them.