Whenever I read about college tuition, I wonder: Did Plato’s academy charge exorbitant fees? I don’t think so, and they say it was a pretty good school. Now, an article in the Wall Street Journal explains why tuition is so high:

“Ironically … government handouts are creating the tuition problem. Tuition has risen about three percentage points faster than inflation every year for the past quarter-century. At the same time, the feds have put more and more money behind student loans and other financial aid. The government is slowly becoming a third-party tuition payer, with all the price distortions one would expect. Every time tuition rises, the government makes up the difference; colleges thus cheerfully raise tuition (and budgets), knowing the government will step in.

“As a result, ‘colleges have little incentive to cut costs,’ says economist Richard Vedder, the author of ‘Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much.’ Mr. Vedder explains that there are now twice as many university administrators per student as there were in the 1970s. Faculty members are paid more to teach fewer hours, and colleges have turned their campuses into ‘country clubs.’ Princeton’s new $136 million dorm, according to BusinessWeek, has ‘triple-glazed mahogany casement windows made of leaded glass’ and ‘the dining hall boasts a 35-foot ceiling gabled in oak and a ‘state of the art servery,’ whatever a servery is.”