We recently reported on the increase in tuition at the University of Virginia and Delegate Ramadan’s objection to it. Universities like to complain that the reason they must constantly raise tuition costs is because state and federal funding has been cut. Now the New York Times reports that is absolutely false. [read_more]
In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.
In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.
Educrats love to explain the large increases in public funding as ‘cuts’ because they’re not getting all the money they want. Local school districts do the same thing. The New York Times explains it this way,
It is disingenuous to call a large increase in public spending a “cut,” as some university administrators do, because a huge programmatic expansion features somewhat lower per capita subsidies. Suppose that since 1990 the government had doubled the number of military bases, while spending slightly less per base. A claim that funding for military bases was down, even though in fact such funding had nearly doubled, would properly be met with derision.
Why does the public tolerate this when it comes to education at all levels?
Where is this increase in funding being spent? It’s not going to professors or teachers but like local K-12 schools it’s going to the ever expanding number of administrators. There are fewer tenured professors and more part time professors than in the past. Part time professors and teachers cost the universities much less.
According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase. (emphasis mine)
The New York Times reached this conclusion:
What cannot be defended, however, is the claim that tuition has risen because public funding for higher education has been cut. Despite its ubiquity, this claim flies directly in the face of the facts.
Read the entire article here.