17.5.16

IT'S THE EXPENSE-PREFERENCE BEHAVIOR, STUPID.

Daniel Luzer of The Washington Monthly suggests that university administrators be more careful about pleading poverty.
For years the administrators at state universities have enthusiastically hiked tuition, pleading that there was really nothing for them to do. They had less money from the states; they had to hike tuition.

There may be some truth to this assertion, but there’s fuzzy math going on here as well. The public colleges get less money from the legislatures and so they pass tuition increases to students. It’s the students who suffer here even though legislative appropriations aren’t their fault and there are, for instance, many other ways to save and raise money.

[Then Illinois State president Al] Bowman cautions that trying to operated “more efficiently” has costs: “You could hire mostly part-time, adjunct faculty,” he told the AP. “You could teach in much larger lecture halls, but the things that would allow you achieve the greatest levels of efficiency would dilute the product and would make it something I wouldn’t be willing to be part of,” he said.

Well yes, but Illinois State also recently build a new 200,000 sq ft gym on campus. It cost $49.6 million. Bowman earns $384,000 a year. The median annual salary for a college president, in contrast, is $243,925. Adjunct faculty clearly isn’t the only cost saving measure possible for state universities.

Sure, meeting Obama’s challenge of keeping tuition down is going to be hard.That’s the point. But it’s possible. I’m sure the fitness center is very nice, but it wasn’t essential and at least now schools might have real incentive to keep student tuition down.
Repeat with me: how's that hopey-changey stuff working out lately?

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