One of the biggest expenses for the American family is higher education.
Why is it so expensive? Does it really cost this much to educate somebody? A new report suggests that, far from being cash-strapped, colleges and universities are actually “choking on cash.”
“Although the academic community continually cries poor, especially when, alternatively, raising tuitions or seeking government subsidies, some dissident professors point out that the Ivory Tower is not under- but over-funded.
“Colleges and universities nationwide spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year, figures from The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac show. Certainly, school officials have no trouble finding projects to spend budget dollars on. Duke University, for example, gives each freshman a cutting-edge high tech iPod (the new bells-and-whistles successor to the walkman) for no particular reason.”
That colleges are too rich rather than too poor is a truly counterintuitive notion. Kline’s piece, though a tad disjointed, is well worth a read. As a rule, I’d refrain from spoiling your fun by revealing the ending.
But the idea put forward as the root of the problem is just so intriguing that I can’t stop myself from quoting more. The man being quoted is Richard Vedder, an economics professor, and author of Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much:
“’What’s the problem with higher education?’ Vedder asks rhetorically. ’It’s not for profit.’
“Vedder compares for-profit education, favorably, with not-for-profit education. Dividing school budgets by students, Vedder found, leaves the University of Phoenix spending $6,000 per student compared to the average state university which spends about three times that amount, or $20,000 per student.”