Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 3 weeks ago

Why has the cost of college increased so much in the last 30 years?

5 Answers

  • Ted K
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    It actually started a little over 40 years ago with the passage of Proposition 13 in California in 1978.  This was a property tax relief effort pushed by a rich, cranky real estate mogul named Howard Jarvis, and it essentially ended up defunding State support of education at all levels. 

    As California went, so went the rest of the country, led by the anti-tax, anti-big government "sagebrush rebellion" during the Reagan years. As state support dried up, universities had to turn elsewhere to stay afloat and tuition increases resulted.  Since students were now relying more on easy-to-get but high interest student loans, the ready availability of lots of money prompted schools' administrators  to start jacking up tuition costs even more to help fund increased building, and acquiring more real estate, not only to increase campus sizes but also for investment and speculation--universities gradually became transformed from institutions for research and higher learning into growing financial empires in their own right.

    This grubbing for more dollars extends way past just student tuition, universities also charge Federal granting agencies, like N.I.H. additional money whenever one of their faculty is awarded an NIH-funded research grant.  These are charged as a percentage of whatever the award is, e.g. for someone who gets a 5 year NIH grant for say, $1.25 million ($250k/year), the university charges NIH an additional amount that is a defined % of the actual award (whereas the actual award is considered "direct costs" the additional amount is called "indirect costs").  The percent basis of these indirect costs vary with the university (mine charges NIH 45%, so that for a $1.25 million R01 grant, my school charges NIH an additional $562,500 over the five years).  These indirect costs are SUPPOSED to help cover expenses to the university for stuff like electricity, water, gas, other utilities & maintenance needed to keep the physical plants of the labs up and running, but some universities have chosen to use indirect costs for stuff that has nothing to do with maintaining academic research capacities.  One of the most notorious examples of this was a number of years ago--Stanford University had established an outrageous indirect cost basis of 75% on all NIH grants, and they were using some of the resulting windfall to pay for upgrades and renovation to the university president's personal home, European vacations and jewelry for him and his wife and a private yacht for the exclusive use of the university's top administrators.  Once NIH found out about that Stanford had to give that up and paid heavy fines and penalties, and it is an extreme example, but it is representative of a lot of shady stuff going on at the top in universities even now.  University faculty are almost never the beneficiaries of such shenanigans--those in the trenches doing tha actual work of research & teaching end up being pawns that are pretty much at the mercy of the whims of high flying executives in the administration.  Adding insult to injury, a growing number of university top executives are not even former professors themselves, but rather business types who have a corrupt, Trump-style idea of what the mission of a university should be--essentially a cash cow for those at the top.

    Back in 1978, nobody could forsee what Prop. 13's legacy would be, at the time it was just rich and upper middle class property owners who didn't wanna pay taxes.  But one of the ultimate results has been a steady degradation of public education in this country (most states now have health care and education at the very bottom of their priority lists for state yearly budgets--these are viewed as "discretionary expenses" and are typically the first items cut when a state runs short of $$) and pricing many out of a university education.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Funny what happens when the government gets involved and figures out a way to monopolize student loans to the point where people have no choice but to owe them money.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Too many Administrators - - most colleges have more administrators than students

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Well, one reason is all the things students think they need to have on campus vs. what we had when I was a college student.

    Colleges now don't have vastly increased faculty (indeed, they've cut down on full-time faculty), but they do have vastly increased amenities and non-faculty staff.  There are many more deans of this and that and counseling staff, for example.  Dorms are a lot nicer and technologically "smarter," and facilities in general are more extensive. All that requires more maintenance and other staff. They also have more research institutes and labs and so forth, which are very costly to supply and staff.

    Colleges and universities are extremely expensive to run, and they become more expensive by the year because of everything they're trying to offer.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Because of demand induced inflation and limited demand for high earning jobs which are already oversaturated in the market.

    The more loans from the government, the higher the inflation of tuition.

    Liberals don't understand basic economics.

    This increased demand could also be caused from globalization of education, where foreign students come to our country to seek a better education funded by our government and they go back to their native regions, which would explain the brain drain in the US.

    The west is currently in the process of cannabilizing itself and this process occurred in the late 1970s under neoliberalism.

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