Higher Education Broken? Look At This Scary Graph (CT Confidential)

<p>Those who say the business model for college isn't broken point to high enrollments as evidence that there's hardly a problem with the economics of the business. However, other data would seem to indicate quite the opposite...</p>

<p>Rick</a> Green's - CT Confidential</p>

<p>They charge more simply because they can</p>

<p>^ i don't think it is ethical to be like that anymore. Just look at the family income curve, and the tuition; is it any wonder that graduates are now suffering from debt? In order to have a relatively successful life in America, one must earn a bachelors degree. Such degree sometimes come with to high of a cost for quite a large amount of family. As a result, they all take out loans so they can go to college. Getting out of college with a bachelor degree means having $180,000 - $200,000 worth of loan for some; and that is no way to live. Best case scenario? You graduated from Wharton, which the median of graduating students earn $60,000 a year as a starting salary. Such lucky people would be able to pay off their loans in 3 years, ceteris paribus. Worst case scenario? You graduated from a low level 1st tier LAC with an art history major (not intended to discriminate anyone), and as a result, no one (the big boys) wants to hire you. Your stuck with whatever job you can get that probably doesn't pay much. That means your college debt could stick with you for 20-30 years. It can trigger another economic downfall because spending/consumption potential lowers, due to the fact that people still have to pay for their loans with their wages (Consumption is a factor that affects the GDP. The more you buy, the more a country's GDP increases. The less you buy, the country's GDP will stay the same, or decrease). Small possibility that another recession could happen from higher education, but it still is a possibility. Therefore, at some point universities have to find a way to lower their tuition fees that will match or fall lower than the median salary of a family. Because that is a way that can stop college loans from getting out of hand.</p>

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In order to have a relatively successful life in America, one must earn a bachelors degree.

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<p>That's hardly true. This college hysteria is part of what is driving up the costs of college, actually. For many kids (and for 75% of Americans), getting a college degree is unnecessary. Only 1/4 of Americans actually go to college at all. A high school diploma is more than enough to go to trade school, which is often cheaper and can provide a more certain income. How many out of work plumbers are there, compared to fancy Harvard-trained lawyers? The real problem with higher education is that we've convinced our kids that they're too good to work with their hands or that it's somehow shameful to have a trade, so kids who could have gone on to successful, prosperous lives as electricians, plumbers, HVAC repairmen, are instead schlepping off to Podunk U to study some BS liberal arts degree that they can mount on their parents' basement wall while working at McDonald's for the rest of their lives.</p>

<p>The source of that chart does not state where the data came from. That being said, there are lower cost alternatives available for students that, for whatever reason, they don't want to consider: CC, directional state school, in-state public U. If attendance at the high cost schools started to drop, they might be interested in finding efficiencies and reducing costs, but that is up to the students and their families.</p>

<p>Anyone who has dealt with a close scrutiny of college costs have noted that the costs are due to many reason other than simply salary increases.</p>

<p>First, there is rapidly esclating cost of health care that has risen geometically for most colleges.</p>

<p>Second, colleges are funding a LOT of programs such as research, many grad student programs and athletics. One of my daughter's friends got into a PHD program that provides free tuition, room, board and even free health insurance. Someone has to pay for all these freebies.</p>

<p>Third, most parents and students want better facilities such as fancy gyms, better dorms, more updated computer rooms etc. This costs money</p>

<p>Fourth, there seems to be much more merit aid and even need based aid then when I went to school. My daughter attended a pre-college program at Syracuse University who had accidentally leaked the tuition paid by each student. Fully, 25% of the students attended for FREE. Someone has to pay for this.</p>

<p>Finally, there is probably some truth in the fact that if a school turns down a lot of applicants, they could charge a lot more in tuition, which might be fueling some of the increases in tuition. Moreover, if some schools are able to get away with higher tuition, others then follow.</p>

<p>This is why many "for profit " schools are actually cheaper than their non-profit counterpart because they don't give out many freebies.</p>

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This is why many "for profit " schools are actually cheaper than their non-profit counterpart because they don't give out many freebies.

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<p>That, and the fact that they have a clearly-defined focus on the bottom line: education, without all of the ridiculous fluff like NCAA-regulation sized pools and high-speed broadband Internet and cable TV hooked up in all the rooms. This is also evident in the higher graduation rates at places like the University of Phoenix, the largest undergrad university in the United States in enrollment status.</p>

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i don't think it is ethical to be like that anymore. Just look at the family income curve, and the tuition; is it any wonder that graduates are now suffering from debt? In order to have a relatively successful life in America, one must earn a bachelors degree. Such degree sometimes come with to high of a cost for quite a large amount of family. As a result, they all take out loans so they can go to college. Getting out of college with a bachelor degree means having $180,000 - $200,000 worth of loan for some; and that is no way to live.

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You seem to be assuming that earning a bachelor's degree from a prestigious private school where one does not receive aid is necessary in order to have a relatively successful life in America. No student needs to take on the debt load you mention.</p>

<p>I do agree that college can be too expensive, but those figures are excessive.</p>

<p>provocative article. I liked the comment about the top schools being able to charge pretty much whatever they want thus forming a sort of umbrella under which the lesser privates adjust their COA's too.</p>

<p>The article mentions "declining state support" in passing.</p>

<p>One reason not mentioned is more emphasis on science, engineering, and business, all of which are more expensive than other areas.</p>

<p>It also doesn't mention that wages have not been rising very much in recent years. Even if colleges raise their fees 4 or 5 % a year, wages will not keep up with that.</p>

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Fourth, there seems to be much more merit aid and even need based aid then when I went to school.

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That's because when you went to school, it was affordable, and there was much less need for aid. My summer jobs covered more than half the cost of the private school I attended. Today it would be much less than 10%.</p>

<p>My alma mater now charges about 7x what my senior year cost.</p>

<p>It's not sustainable, and once the applicant pool starts to decline in a big way, many many schools will be in trouble. Top 50 schools - no. But that 3rd tier LAC's charging $45K+? </p>

<p>Greed has landed on campus, too - how many school presidents now make in the millions, with substantial perks? And that trickles down, too.</p>

<p>I've been told the president of my alma mater now has bodyguards wherever they go. What the heck is up with that?!!</p>

<p>College Presidents need bodyguards in case crap like this happens:</p>

<p>Eight</a> Arrested After Attack on Chancellor's House - The Daily Californian</p>

<p>Several college presidents spoke at Rotary and indicated one of their largest expenses is keeping up with computer technology, software,etc. Planned obsolescence where by the time the PO is cut the technology is no longer cutting edge.</p>

<p>Probably the best technology cost for colleges is that they don't have professors who actually teach the newer subjects. When I went to grad school for MIS, Cobol was a requirement. I guess that is because they had a tenured professor who only could teach that subject.</p>

<p>BU spent at least a million dollars redecorating the Provost Office.</p>

<p>Lastly I think that a reason for the high price of college is that too many are going to schools who haven't done anything in high school to distinguish themselves. If a kid had a 3.8 GPA (unweighted) and 2100 on SATs you would think that some schools would be working hard to attract that kid with Financial Aid.</p>

<p>What's missing from the graph is the number of students enrolling. It is demand that has allowed the steep increase in costs. When college enrollment starts to decline in the coming years, as demographics show that it will, costs will begin to be controlled. We are about to see a reversal from a too many students, too few seats, to too many seats, too few students. Something has to give. Higher education is an industry headed for economic decline.</p>

<p>Is the graph adjusted for inflation? Because I'm pretty sure the #s wouldn't be that outrageous..although still higher...if inflation was considered.</p>

<p>Other countries have higher completion rates because they restrict access to higher education. Bomb your boards and you are off the academic track. Powerful, powerful motivation!!! Only the truly engaged go to college in other countries. Of course almost everywhere but the US, college is paid for by the government.</p>

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Is the graph adjusted for inflation? Because I'm pretty sure the #s wouldn't be that outrageous..although still higher...if inflation was considered.

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<p>The purpose of the graph is to compare the rising cost of higher education compared to other living expenses and the median household income. I've also seen graphs that compare the rising cost of higher education to the general inflation rate. Take a guess at what it shows.</p>

<p>It is certainly a problem, but unfortunately not one that can be simply blamed on greed or supply and demand. It is possible that there are schools that behave that way, but only the highest end in the private sector can really do that and still have paying customers happy to go there. Part of this whole cost explosion is because people expect a lot more from colleges than they used to, and it costs them a lot to provide for these expectations. Some of it is from frivolous comforts that students now expect or feel entitled to. Suite style dorms with leather furniture and fireplaces, rec centers with lazy rivers, dining halls that are more of an upscale buffet or mall food court than a cafeteria, student unions with movie theaters or bowling alleys- all these things cost a lot of money that has little, if anything, to do with the quality of education an institution offers. But, prospective students have come to expect and demand these things, so if you don't have them, you're at a disadvantage and your enrollment potential suffers. On the academic front- technology has changed so rapidly in the last two decades that if you're not replacing your computers, cameras, some lab equipment, etc. every year or two, you're behind. There's a lot of pressure for smaller class sizes at large institutions which means adding new facilities and faculty, all of which is expensive. Healthcare, retirement, social security (etc.) costs for staff and faculty have risen significantly. Security on campuses has evolved too, necessitating surveillance systems, RFID building access systems, and full time staff to keep these things running/monitored. Construction costs have also skyrocketed- modestly sized new dorms or academic buildings cost upwards of $50 million when even ten to fifteen years ago such an amount was unthinkable. Then you have parking decks that cost $15-18,000 a space to build, aging 1900s-1960s infrastructure that has to be replaced with modern, more efficient systems (which again, costs millions)- there's a lot that simply costs more than it used to. With state support declining significantly for many public institutions and private gifts staying level or dropping off- the only source of new income is through tuition. The balancing act is delicate and complicated, but for the vast majority of schools, the amount they're charging isn't keeping up with or allowing the cost of living raises or facility improvements they need to do. There's no doubt in my mind there's a problem with the system and it's on an unsustainable track- but for 98% of schools, the rapidly rising cost of attendance isn't because they're throwing their money down pits, buying magic beans, or building new athletic facilities (there are schools that don't use any tuition revenue for their Div I athletics programs), it's because it's costing them that much more to provide the education, and in the case of public schools, the cost is being subsidized that much less by the state.</p>

<p>Incidentally, if any of you can fix the system, I'm quite sure you could become a very well-compensated consultant.</p>