The cost of college is an increasing worry among parents, who see that tuition increases by double digits each year. Some assert that these tuition increases are due to a lack of government funding. Those people are wrong according to a New York Times op-ed on “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much” by University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos.
Campos mythbusted the idea that universities are underfunded by legislators:
“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 fact, and liberals are going to love this one, the U.S. military budget is about 1.8 times higher today than in 1960, but education appropriations are more than 10 times higher. Heads are exploding all over the leftosphere upon hearing that liberals’ favorite boogey-man in the government budget, military spending, has been outpaced by a factor of ten by their golden calf, education spending.
So, what’s the real cause? There are a few pieces – 1) demand – a greater percentage of the population goes to college 2) administration staffing and 3) seven-figure salaries for top college administrators. (wait what?)
Today, the average professor makes little more than he or she did in the 1970s, which means he or she is actually making quite a bit less. But, there has been an explosion of administration. Here’s what Campos reported:
“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.”
While Campos’ article did not go into the salaries for administrators, an op-ed in The Denver Post did. Did you know that Colorado State University has three chancellors? For those who don’t know at home (we didn’t exactly pay much attention to university formality in college), a chancellor is the top-most executive at the university – ceremonial or operational. These three chancellors at CSU combined bring home a whopping $934,000.
And, they don’t even teach.
Next time people cry foul over higher-education funding in Colorado, feel free to point them to this post.