… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Friday, July 9, 2010
(the country clubization of the American University)
American colleges are spending a smaller share of their budgets on instruction, and more on recreational facilities for students and on administration, according to a new study of college costs.
The United States is reputed to have the world’s wealthiest postsecondary education system, with average spending of around $19,000 per student compared with $8,400 across other developed countries, says the report, “Trends in College Spending 1998-2008,” by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit group in Washington that advocates for controlling costs to keep college affordable.
Tuition, on average, rose more rapidly over the decade at public institutions than it did at private ones. Average tuition rose 45 percent at public research universities and 36 percent at community colleges from 1998 to 2008, compared with about 21 percent at private research universities
But the trend toward increased spending on nonacademic areas prevailed across the higher education spectrum, with public and private, elite and community colleges increasing expenditures more for student services than for instruction, the report said.
The student services category can include spending on career counseling and financial aid offices, but also on intramural athletics and student centers.
“This is the country-clubization of the American university,” said Richard Vedder, a professor at Ohio University who studies the economics of higher education. “A lot of it is for great athletic centers and spectacular student union buildings. In the zeal to get students, they are going after them on the basis of recreational amenities.”
“The funding models we’ve created in higher ed are not sustainable,” Ms. Wellman said. “We ran up spending in the ’90s and early 2000s to levels we can’t maintain, and this is true not only in the elite privates, but in many of the public institutions, too.”
Now, with private-college endowments battered and state legislatures slashing university budgets coast to coast, “policymakers as well as university presidents and boards must learn to be better stewards of tuition and taxpayer dollars,” she said.
Earth to President Bruininks (and the BoRe):
Please pay attention!