College tuition and fees today are 559 percent of their cost in 1985. In other words, they have nearly sextupled (while consumer prices have roughly doubled).The New York Times article is being oh, so politically correct. The real reason for sky-rocketing university costs is the bloating dead-weight corpse of university administrations.
...“If you’re a state legislator, you look at all your state’s programs and you say, ‘Well, we can’t make prisoners pay, but we can make college students pay,’” said Ronald Ehrenberg, the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute and a trustee of the State University of New York System.
College students do end up paying more. But in the past, after the economy recovered, most states did not fully restore the funds that were cut. As cuts accumulated in each business cycle, so did tuition increases...States will soon have to pay out trillions in public pensions for the retiring baby boomer generation — squeezing the funds for training the next generation of workers even more. _NYT
Between 1993 and 2007, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students at America’s leading universities grew by 39 percent, while the number of employees engaged in teaching, research or service only grew by 18 percent. Inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student increased by 61 percent during the same period, while instructional spending per student rose 39 percent. Arizona State University, for example, increased the number of administrators per 100 students by 94 percent during this period while actually reducing the number of employees engaged in instruction, research and service by 2 percent. Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona State University are administrators.Read the full report (PDF)
A significant reason for the administrative bloat is that students pay only a small portion of administrative costs. The lion’s share of university resources comes from the federal and state governments, as well as private gifts and fees for non-educational services. The large and increasing rate of government subsidy for higher education facilitates administrative bloat by insulating students from the costs. _Report from Goldwater Institute
Universities have taken as their primary mission the indoctrination of young minds into a dysfunctional leftist ideology. By doing so, they are reducing the future productive options of these young people, who will be less inclined to promote an opportunity society and more inclined to support a redistributive welfare state -- which tends to reduce long term opportunities for all, except insiders and preferred recipients of government spending.
Clearly this trend in skyrocketing university costs cannot go on much longer. Thus it won't. Alternative methods of learning and certification of knowledge and achievement are likely to divert large numbers of would-be university students into more productive and less indoctrinating learning paths.
It cannot happen too soon.
Update 10 March 2012:
The Student Loan Debacle
Higher Education Bubble Exploding in Taxpayer's Faces
Grading Student Loans -- New Report
Making Student Loans Invisible, or when what you can't see can still do you unimaginable harm.