Escalating American Public University Tuition

Posted by: Quantum2003

Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/22/18 12:16 PM

This is related to Dude's thread, "The price is too high", but more narrowly focused. I would normally add to that thread but it would probably get buried . . .

I was going through an old box of high school/college stuff that was recently shipped across the country. Among the correspondences were several scholarship award letters from two state flagship universities. This was in the mid-1980's when minimum wage was $3.35/hour. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25/hour so a little more than double in three decades. The scholarships were full tuition for four years and back when "fees" were negligible or non-existent. They were offered to me and any other student in my state who graduated among the top of their class (2% for one and 4% for the other). Anyhow, the letters listed the then current tuition rate and pointed out that over four years, this tuition waiver was worth about $3,500. Incidentally, that total cost is a bit more than a thousand hours over four years at the then minimum wage (so roughly five hours a week).

In checking current costs for comparison, I discovered roughly $42,000 for one university and $47,000 for the other over four years. (Out of state tuition/fees were $107,000 and $141,000 respectively.) These numbers do not include, room/board, books, or travel expenses. Averaging the two universities' total in-state tuitions/fees and using today's minimum wage yield over six thousand hours over four years or roughly thirty hours a week.

In other words, back in my day in my state in the mid-1980's, a student would have been able to paid their own full-time in-state college tuition/fees if they could have set aside five hours a week of minimum wage pay. For simplicity's sake, I am ignoring income and social security taxes. A student today would need to set aside thirty hours per week of minimum wage pay just to pay tuitions/fees. Five hours is doable for many while thirty hours is impossible except for the extreme few.

My comparison above is actually a grossly understated illustration of the affordability problem at public universities as I don't want to segue into a discussion of the "living wage" problem. Suffice it to say that while the minimum wage has roughly doubled, the costs of living have far out-paced it.

Perhaps private universities may remain the bastion of the "haves" (plus the "have nots" to whom they wish to extend a hand), but surely public universities should be accessible without crushing debt?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/22/18 01:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Quantum2003
public universities should be accessible without crushing debt
I would tend to agree.

Initial thoughts: I believe it is important to identify the causes of steep increases in tuition.

Some ideas presented in other venues and on other related threads have included:
- Availability of student loans.
- Emphasis on and investment in sports (as opposed to academics).
- Construction of campus amenities such as water parks, waterslides, lazy rivers, rock climbing walls.
- Benefits offered to employees may include college tuition for offspring... thereby transferring the cost of these "free" seats to the remaining student body.
- Age of professors (baby boomers retiring, some institutions have promised lifelong pensions). I understand that to offset this, some institutions now hire more adjuncts, assistant professors, and associate professors... all of whom who are paid much less than full tenured professors.
- Investment in technology. This could reasonably be expected to have a payback period of lowered costs of operating... but may instead become an upward spiral of early adoption of new technology... an arms race.
- Insurance costs. Unfortunately, we may live in a litigious society.
This is not an exhaustive list.

It may be important to have cost transparency and accountability.

Unfortunately, many of us may be aware of rampant end-of-the-fiscal-year spending, whose mantra is: spend it all, or we'll be allocated a smaller budget next year.

I believe that by identifying costs and delving into them, duplication and waste can be found and so-called "cuts" may be made which have little or no negative impact on the student experience... creating a sustainable budget... capping costs... and then reducing costs.

I understand that cost cutting may be moderated by a need/desire to keep as many jobs as possible so that the universities may continue to offer significant employment opportunities.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/22/18 02:19 PM

This is kinda what I'm on about, Quantum. Back in the day, the barriers to a college education were high, but hardly unsurmountable. Even if you didn't have anyone to give you a boost, with a good running start, most people could leap high, catch the top, and pull themselves over if they wanted it enough.

These days, that six-foot wall is 18 feet high and topped in razor wire.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 08:35 AM

Can we define possibly what would define making the cost of college "too high"? Is it a percentage of what one currently makes? Ability to pay off a loan for it in X period of time? Is it defined by accessibility by those from a certain financial upbringing? Or is this one of those things where we'll know it's too high when we see it?

I ask this because it's difficult to discuss without going in circles the possible solution to a problem that we haven't clearly defined yet.

I've been discussing with my wife the last couple of months that I believe colleges, especially in the U.S. will be forced to go though a major transformation, I could say the same thing for K-12 public schooling but I think even more so for colleges. Teachers / Professors and libraries are no longer the key holders to knowledge and learning. That fact is showing itself to be more and more substantial. With that in mind, schools of all levels need to change how they teach, their physical properties, and the certifications they offer.

Along those same lines, I think society is going to become more and more aware of ROI as it relates to colleges. I can see a not so distant future where there are colleges that pare back the fluff that so many colleges both private and public offer and return much more closely to purely academic institutions and not a "college experience"

One of the conversations I have with my wife as we enter out late 50's is what becomes the "New Normal" for us as we age. It's not reasonable for us to expect our bodies to respond the same way as they did 15 years ago for instance, things change, things evolve. In the same way I think it's important for us to ask ourselves if college is simply evolving and while we can look to ways to make it more affordable, we need to accept to a certain degree the "New Normal" of college as it's evolved.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 09:00 AM

I am NOT a US taxpayer.

If you feel I am consequently not allowed to contribute to the conversation, please put me on “ignore” right now. (Looking at you, Indigo dear).

I actually do have some informed views on the subject, because I work in international student finance, and because I have been monitoring the tuition situation at top universities in English speaking countries for awhile, for professional and private reasons. I believe that the top universities worldwide increasingly compete for the highest capability students worldwide and that, vice versa, these students should (and increasingly will) be looking at an international educational market. And most of us on this board are raising some of those kids. The US colleges, on the hunt to attract international talent at full pay, to lose homegrown talent to more affordable and predictable schools abroad.

I believe (and would assume that most on this board believe) that a society shouldn’t waste their best talents (sort of the reason this board exists, right?) so governments should ensure that those kids who benefit very much from the education at a good 4 year college should be able to obtain that education without huge financial and administrative hurdles that a 17 year old high school student can’t begin to navigate on his own.

And I hope most of us agree that a student should be able to spend the majority of their time on their studies (so work less than 20 hours a week on the side) in order to do well and graduate in 4 years, and be able to live, not in luxury, but at least in housing conditions that do not endanger their health and safety.

Someone over on college confidential, where I have been (mostly) lurking diligently for a long time in order to understand the legal and financial situation regarding the cost of tertiary education in the US pointed out that if experienced posters unanimously tell students it is completely inadvisable to take out more than the 27 k Stafford loans, with the exception of a few highly employable degrees like engineering or CS, where you might take out as much as one years starting salary (so, maybe, 70 k?), and there is no college in existence in the US where you can obtain a 4 year degree with that sum it essentially means *it isn’t worth it*! I felt that post didn’t nearly get the attention it deserved.

So, in comes the government, to bring college costs down.

I posit that as soon as the government “meddles” and thus distorts a market, you need regulations. One of the regulations I’d propose would be “unbundling” in order to create financial transparency and stop cross subsidising.

First thing I’d unbundle would be living costs. The government could offer every student who is enrolled at an accredited institution and in good academic standing grants and loans to cover room, board, books and incidentals and require every college that receives federal monies and that offers dorms and cafeteria service to offer a bed and a meal plan at a cost that is capped, indexed to the living costs of the area, and covered by that sum, for four years.

The student could be required to finance incidentals beyond that (“beer money”) by working 10 hours a week for minimum wage or so - or not, their choice. Students who do not dorm could simply receive the money with no strings attached. The proportion of grants vs loans, should depend on the parents FAFSA EFC. Thus, students from low income families get the full amount in grants, students with high EFCs in loans. And every combination in between. This assured that if your family can’t or won’t pay the EFC, anyone can survive 4 years at college with a student job. It is almost inconceivable to me that college costs are calculated according on the parents income, but the parents are not legally required to support their child at all. Makes no legal sense to me. But there it is and in the current system, a student in that situation has NO recourse and is dependent on finding a full ride merit scholarship which are hard to find even for highly capable kids (particularly at an institution that can meet those kids‘ needs) which puts them into an extremely insecure situation, with all sorts of unpredictable results. In extreme cases, the student can be shut out.

A student in my (European) country is required to live on (the equivalent of) 800 $ a month, dorms or no dorms, and usually there are no dorms, so students need to find an apartment, with an additional stipend of 90 $ once the student ages out of their parents health coverage (and public health insurance is then required to accept and cover the student at that cost). I see no reason why a US college couldn’t feed and house a US student at at cost, in double rooms, often in the middle of nowhere. With the COL index, of course it might be much more expensive to study in Boston or NYC, and the loan portion will go up accordingly. Duh. That’s fair. You need subsidies, find a good college in a low COL area, there’s plenty. Or try to get a accepted to a college with deep pockets that can afford to subsidise housing from its endowment.

8 months at 800 $ makes 6400 a year. Times four years makes 25600. Depending on the COL at the college of your choice. That should work. And that would be it for student loans, for anyone.

So, if you subsidise AND cap, you can’t distort the market upwards,

But students still need to pay tuition. If you can get accepted at a meets full need college and the colleges FA calculation works for you, you’re sorted. Of it doesn’t, because the college the student can gain acceptance to does not meet full need or the students family can’t or won’t pay the EFC the college came up with, again the student has no recourse, but is dependent on finding merit scholarships to cover the difference. Again, unpredictable situation which can at worst lead to the student being shut out. (Or the parents and students together overloading on plus loans).

What would help? Not even necessarily more money. Just predictability and transparency, beyond the net price calculators that only work for married employees anyway, not for business owners, not for applicants with non custodial parents, and rarely for applicants hunting merit.

Private colleges won’t and needn’t be transparent and predictable about cost and merit. But public schools should have to be, with schools offering binding FA prereads and merit offers automatically rising as you go down the desirability food chain until there is a chance to gain full tuition *somewhere* in state, and for, very highly capable students, even at the flagship, maybe on condition of being offered admittance to the honours college. It does come at the detriment of public schools using holistic criteria. But as a lawyer, I’d say that a public entity should be required to only use criteria that are transparent and predictable. This doesn’t mean academic merit only, they could consider level of interest or high SES or first gen or relevant extracurriculars, but in a way that is transparent and understandable to the student before they apply, for instance using a points system. It should be a state’s responsibility to offer an appropriate education to the states college ready kids, within the limits of affordability.

There IS a school for everyone that is affordable and hopefully the states make sure that is also suitable, eg by offering honours colleges at lower ranked schools for their more highly capable students, but at the moment the admissions landscape in the US is so opaque that students may be unable to find it.

Fees? For rec centers, lazy rivers, clubs, athletics? If they enhance the educational experience or students health, by all means include them in the tuition. If they don’t? It’s luxury. Have it financed out of the endowment, out of alumni donations, make competitive athletics self supporting. If the afford to subsidise those at the states schools, don’t. No frills education works, too. Just don’t put it on students.

I think the states‘ taxpayers may also reasonably demand a cap on out of state and international enrolment, within the limits of what actually benefits the school academically as opposed to financially.

Tl;dr: it is the lack of financial transparency and predictability that pushes tuition up and overburdens students and those families. Unbundle college costs, only subsidise (and cap!) living costs, make admission and merit transparent and predictable for all public (or publicly supported, for instance by tax relief, but that would of course, ooops, include almost all private schools) institutions.

BTW, I do not like that in some European systems that are very low tuition and offer very generous terms for living allowances, students have almost no skin in the game at all. This leads to other undesirable distortions. But the debt load that would be, at worst, required should not exceed a sum that oils be considered a reasonable investment, and should not be required to be paid up front, and should be somewhat tied to a students earnings. (Colleges should have skin in the game as well!)
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 11:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Can we define possibly what would define making the cost of college "too high"? Is it a percentage of what one currently makes? Ability to pay off a loan for it in X period of time? Is it defined by accessibility by those from a certain financial upbringing? Or is this one of those things where we'll know it's too high when we see it?


In previous discussions, we've talked about the relationship between college costs per year, and the number of hours it would take to work at a minimum-wage job in order to pay that. So in the 60s, a student could work at a minumum-wage job throughout the summer, and earn enough money to pay for the entire years' worth of college. That seems like a pretty good situation, because it allows for the student to be a full-time student and get the most value from their education. It allows them to be nearly self-sufficient (because we haven't yet added in living costs, transportation, etc), and capable students of nearly any SES can access it.

So If I have an ideal target, that's it.

Side benefit is we end up with a closer alignment to a true meritocracy, rather than the thing we have now.

Anything that moves us away from "students not eating" towards this goal is at least an improvement.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad

I've been discussing with my wife the last couple of months that I believe colleges, especially in the U.S. will be forced to go though a major transformation, I could say the same thing for K-12 public schooling but I think even more so for colleges. Teachers / Professors and libraries are no longer the key holders to knowledge and learning. That fact is showing itself to be more and more substantial. With that in mind, schools of all levels need to change how they teach, their physical properties, and the certifications they offer.


You'd probably be interested in this: The Future of College Looks Like The Future Of Retail.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Along those same lines, I think society is going to become more and more aware of ROI as it relates to colleges. I can see a not so distant future where there are colleges that pare back the fluff that so many colleges both private and public offer and return much more closely to purely academic institutions and not a "college experience"


The problem of commoditizing an education is that you can't always tell what's going to be fruitful and what isn't. A good example is scientific research, because while the economic multiplier effect of public investing in this area is outstanding, it's impossible to guess ahead of time which strands will be productive and which will not. Good example, we spent a ton of money to prove that gravity waves are a thing. Great! How can we monetize that? No idea. If that turns out to be an important step towards inter-stellar travel, it's not likely we'll ever see it.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
One of the conversations I have with my wife as we enter out late 50's is what becomes the "New Normal" for us as we age. It's not reasonable for us to expect our bodies to respond the same way as they did 15 years ago for instance, things change, things evolve. In the same way I think it's important for us to ask ourselves if college is simply evolving and while we can look to ways to make it more affordable, we need to accept to a certain degree the "New Normal" of college as it's evolved.


Of course, bodies will decay over time, but we have methods we can use to "rage against the dying of the light," and extend both the quality and quantity of our lives through direct intervention, or we can just lie helpless and speed the process along.

Social institutions are subject to the same processes, except that they don't have to die. We got to where we are in secondary education because of choices people made, and we can make other choices to change it again.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Quantum2003
I was going through an old box of high school/college stuff that was recently shipped across the country. Among the correspondences were several scholarship award letters from two state flagship universities. This was in the mid-1980's when minimum wage was $3.35/hour. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25/hour so a little more than double in three decades. The scholarships were full tuition for four years and back when "fees" were negligible or non-existent. They were offered to me and any other student in my state who graduated among the top of their class (2% for one and 4% for the other). Anyhow, the letters listed the then current tuition rate and pointed out that over four years, this tuition waiver was worth about $3,500. Incidentally, that total cost is a bit more than a thousand hours over four years at the then minimum wage (so roughly five hours a week).


A couple calculations from your comments:

I found data on posted tuition rates by public 4-year colleges for in-state students dating back to 1990-91 (source linked below). I then pulled the US all-items consumer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 1990 (to fit your mid-80s timeframe) and 2018. Over that period, the CPI has increased by 192% while posted costs on 4-year in-state public tuition have increased 278%.

1. Taking posted tuition rates-- Adjusted for inflation, average tuition as described should be about $6,900 per year currently, versus the $9,970 posted rate for 2017-18, representing a 31% inflation-adjusted premium on tuition since 1990-91.

2. Accounting for differences in grants--In 1990-91, average students assumed 58% of tuition costs. This number dipped as low as 26% in 09-10 and 10-11, and has since risen to 42%. So, within the last decade, in-state students enrolled in 4-year public university programs are required to take on a rising share of their tuition, at a rising cost on an inflation-adjusted basis.

On an inflation-adjusted basis, net tuition (after grants and aid) is on par with 1990-91 levels: $4,140 as posted net tuition vs. $4,016 from 1990-91. However, even despite that, current students attending public universities are worse off to the tune of 16% of net tuition costs since the recession, so the situation is worsening again. The compound annual growth rate in grant aid since 2009 is -0.2%, compared with 2.4% in posted tuition rates. The gap will continue to widen at this pace.

(Aside: Quantum has asked that we not get into a discussion of living wages--and I will respect that--but it bears noting for future conversations that, on a purchasing power parity basis, minimum wages are operating below their 1990-91 equivalents. This requires working more hours to earn the same inflation-adjusted net tuition over time.)

Sources
Calculations based on data from BLS on CPI and- https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-...students-sector

https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/net-price


Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 12:03 PM

One of the ways college costs can be cut, especially at state colleges is by by working closely with each other on what credits can be transferred. The trend seems to be the exact opposite with colleges limiting, sometimes to zero, the number of credits allowed to be transferred. Another thread in this forum discusses some of those difficulties here:

http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/242308/1.html

While I understand the need of colleges to fund themselves and they get more funding the more college credits a student takes, a public college is there to serve the students of the state in particular and it's first focus should be on HELPING students to achieve their degree, not putting more hoops to jump through and financial burden on them to do so.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/23/18 01:06 PM

+1 to that idea, Old Dad.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 06:57 AM

I'm going to company my post below from another thread to this thread as I believe it to be applicable here.

The other thread was discussing the possibility of getting rid of the requirement for medical doctors to have an undergraduate degree before going on to study medicine. This is simply part of a larger problem in at least the U.S., I can't speak intelligently about other countries. That problem being that an undergraduate degree has become not necessarily necessary in order to perform certain jobs but instead a sorting tool for companies.

It wasn't that long ago where it wasn't unusual, at least where I live, for companies to employ people as engineers who didn't have a college degree in engineering but had demonstrated keen ability in their field of engineering. Most companies these days don't allow that anymore, the degree in the field of employment is a requirement for being hired.

No doubt the internet has done amazing things and provided us with opportunities that never existed prior to it's wide spread use. In the market, it lets the world become our customers......on the other hand, it also allows the world to become our competitors.

It used to be that when a new job was available, a company would post it in the local and perhaps most popular read state wide newspaper, that was the extent of who knew about the job opening. Now, the newspaper is generally ignored and anyone in the world can look at the help wanted ad posted online. That creates a huge amount of competition for a new position opening. That's of course a good thing from the perspective of the company, however, they need a way to start sorting out candidates. An undergraduate degree is often that first measuring stick to begin the process or sorting....and why not? One with an undergraduate degree has demonstrated at least SOME ability to stick with it and complete a task, they have demonstrated the ability to learn, and it's a fair bet they had to complete quite a few assignments in groups. It doesn't though, mean they'll be a good employee or that their degree is needed to accomplish the job.

This has created a situation where companies are using a very expensive means for the job seeker as a basic sorting method making that sometimes unneeded means an expensive requirement with little application to show for it after the initial sorting process.

So how do we remedy that? Good question. I'm going to have to chew on that one for a while. One thing is for sure though, if we can figure out a way for companies to stop using unnecessary and expensive undergraduate degrees as a measuring stick to interview for a position, that will cut down on the amount of people who are in college debt.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 07:17 AM

Quote:
This has created a situation where companies are using a very expensive means for the job seeker as a basic sorting method making that sometimes unneeded means an expensive requirement with little application to show for it after the initial sorting process.


Agreed. Bachelor's degrees serve different purposes for different individuals, but there's likely some blend of skills development and signalling going on for the vast majority, with the incidence of the cost being entirely borne by the student (job candidate).

ETA: One thing employers can do to circumvent this issue is, in cases where a degree is mostly a signalling tool, to include extensive realistic job previews in the screening process as a filter. If an undergraduate degree isn't truly necessary, then the additional cost borne by the employer in screening candidates can be offloaded to successful candidates in the form of lower starting wages.

Provided that the screening process is tiered, well calibrated, and accurate, firms should be able to minimize the additional costs on screening so that the initial wage gap for non-degree holding candidates is well below the cost of the degree.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 08:45 AM

I won't go into it in depth here, because it's well off-topic, but my general sense is that "university as a requirement" is mostly about significant changes in the employer/employee relationship over the last 40 years or so, and the short answer here is that there's no longer a perceived value in training and developing your own talent, so companies are looking for plug-and-play employees. A college degree is one way they're looking for that.

Notice all the chatter these days about how colleges aren't doing a good enough job of preparing graduates for the working world. College was never about that. It was always about teaching people to think, giving them a broad skill set to draw on, etc. It was always up to the first employer to convert the raw material of a college graduate into a productive employee.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 09:01 AM

Those are all excellent points Dude. If we continue on this track it's what I've described in previously as the "New normal" with expectations of college and part of the reason that I feel public education and in particular colleges will make a major transformation in the next 20 years. Students are seeking those plug and play skills, if a college can't supply that, they'll start looking to those who can....and as I've previously stated, teachers and libraries are no longer the key holders of knowledge as they used to be.
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 09:25 AM

I agree with much of the above, and think that college as workforce training is very much to our society's detriment. It gives you people with degrees who aren't necessarily educated, if you see what I mean.

Obviously, if you want to be an engineer or a nurse or a historian, you need to go to college. But it's like Dude mentioned: college has become a certification process. For me, the worst is those awful "gen ed" requirements, which stand for what used to be classes outside your major that gave you a meaningful exposure to different discipline and forced you to think about stuff. Today, the purpose of those classes seems to be checking off a box. My eldest took an English course that included multiple choice exams. In English! The whole point of English class is to read stuff and write essays!
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 09:27 AM

Well, part of the reason students are seeking plug-and-play skills is because that's what employers are demanding.

Another factor is that college graduates are emerging with shocking debt loads, and cannot afford to accept entry-level positions at entry-level pay. Those loan premiums are due.

Hey, here we are, back on topic.
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 09:46 AM

Forgot to add:

I think there are three main problems making tuition skyrocket:

1. Because they can. Student loan debt can't be discharged by bankruptcy or death, therefore...let's raise tuition!

2. States are cutting funding. This is a bad sign about the ability of state governments to see what's good for the country in the moderate- and long term.

3. Colleges have irresponsible spending habits. Too many administrators, too many shiny new buildings, too much spent on sports, and don't even get me started on lazy rivers and swanky dorms.

Point 2 won't be solved by addressing point 3 and vice-versa. Problem 1 can only be addressed by Congress, and I'm not holding my breath.

IMO, "personal responsibility" extends as far as "You can't play video games all summer. You need to get a job and cover your tuition." It does not include "You need to become a debt serf so that the U of State can raze its paleontology museum to make way for a new football stadium, while also adding a new Dean of Equity, a VP of Advancement, and a half-dozen deanlets of [insert title]. Oh, and let's raise the football coach's salary to a cool million. Pay up, kids!

Why is it that "personal responsibility" only seems to extend to the party who has basically no choice in the matter (because essentially all of the colleges are doing this and all or nearly all states are cutting funding)? Why is it that governments and universities can behave badly and then tell the people who attend them that they have to be "responsible" and pick up the tab?
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:01 AM

It's a resourcing and scope definition problem, too, Val. Add this one to your list:

4. Universities are absorbing program responsibilities outside their traditional purview for which they don't capture economies of scale effectively. As such, they're driving up per-capita costs in fringe subjects and amortizing those costs over the entire student body.

Take a look at the program offerings for most honours undergraduate programs, and you'll see a course and major menu including programs that have no business being honours university accreditations.

For example, check out Penn State's undergraduate coursework under the "communications" major area. There are 23 majors that should properly be included as certificate programs, 2-year associates degrees, or technical college certifications. These are, ostensibly, job training programs. (e.g. "Organizational and professional communication")

These majors could easily be delivered in a decentralized setting for a commuting student population, in half the time an honours undergraduate is conferred, maybe even partly by remote study to reduce facilities costs. You don't need a dedicated academic dean, a roster of academic heavy-hitters, an extensive academic research base, or state-of-the-art facilities to offer these programs. And, because each of these sub-majors is its own study in esoterica, the 23 disciplines each have their own administrative cost structure.

https://admissions.psu.edu/academics/majors/4year/?displayBy=interest&aoi=COM

ETA: I am astonished to learn that there's a Penn State 4-year major in "golf management". Really?! Golf management? A kinesiology degree or business/kinsesiology hybrid wasn't sufficient to cover the intricate nuances of running golf courses; a separate program was "required"? And why are separate niche specialties required for separate program majors that properly fall under the umbrella of administration or program management? Can these students really not understand that certain plug-and-play practices apply equally, whether you're running a golf course, a water park, a hotel, or art gallery?? I'm sure somewhere, buried under those reams of "majors" are specialty graduate certificates in "deli management" and "bakery point-of-sale communications (sub-major: wedding confections)". Those are properly *courses* housed under a major program of study, not degrees in their own right! Mind blown.

https://admissions.psu.edu/academics/majors/4year/?displayBy=interest&aoi=HEA


Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:29 AM

I have to post again. I'm literally muttering "golf management" in incredulity under my breath.

Such a "major" should be a decoy option used to weed out people in the application process who have no business being in university.

/off soapbox
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:29 AM

All good points, aquinas.

Quote:
Can these students really not understand that certain plug-and-play practices apply equally, whether you're running a golf course, a water park, a hotel, or art gallery?


I suspect it's combination of employers not wanting to train anyone + colleges seeing a revenue stream + students being forced to go to college so they can get a job that used to require little beyond a high school diploma. And BTW, I see "everyone should go to college" as a factor in the creation of lazy rivers and entertainment complexes.

My own alma mater is now offering more than twenty majors in [insert small group] Studies. This is the opposite of overly narrow workforce training BA majors in that students can major in what I call "Me Studies." I know that sounds harsh, but seriously...the point of college is supposed to be to stretch yourself and learn about stuff that makes you uncomfortable in one way or another (it's different, it's hard, it's....).
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:39 AM

Val: For me, it's not so much "everyone should go to college" that's fueling the lazy river, it's this sense that everyone should go to the best college, and how lamely "best" is being evaluated.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
Forgot to add:

I think there are three main problems making tuition skyrocket:

1. Because they can. Student loan debt can't be discharged by bankruptcy or death, therefore...let's raise tuition!


I think it's important to note that it's not just because they can, it's also because we let them and continue to swallow the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

Originally Posted By: Val

2. States are cutting funding. This is a bad sign about the ability of state governments to see what's good for the country in the moderate- and long term.


This could easily get back into the subject matter of the thread that was previously locked. Simply because something benefits people doesn't mean that government should do it. We can think of MANY things that would be beneficial to many citizens I'm certain, however, financing it's citizen's desires isn't what government and more specifically our federal government was created to do. We're all free to contribute to our heart's content to any cause we please, however, it's not our job to tell others what good cause they MUST contribute to, when, and how much.

Originally Posted By: Val

3. Colleges have irresponsible spending habits. Too many administrators, too many shiny new buildings, too much spent on sports, and don't even get me started on lazy rivers and swanky dorms.


While I agree on much of the quote above, one sport in particular usually funds itself and makes enough to fund numerous other college sports teams. American football. If we want to curb the sports that take funding, then we'd have to start with all women's sports and all men's sports except for American football, in some colleges Basketball, and a few other rare exceptions where regional favorites sometimes fund themselves (Wrestling in Iowa, perhaps Hockey in a couple of colleges like Minnesota, etc.)

Originally Posted By: Val

Point 2 won't be solved by addressing point 3 and vice-versa. Problem 1 can only be addressed by Congress, and I'm not holding my breath.


I'm am holding my breath as it's not the purpose or responsibility of federal government to fund public education, let alone public colleges or tuition. When someone can show me in the Constitution or it's amendments where college education is outlined, then we have a different discussion.

Originally Posted By: Val

IMO, "personal responsibility" extends as far as "You can't play video games all summer. You need to get a job and cover your tuition." It does not include "You need to become a debt serf so that the U of State can raze its paleontology museum to make way for a new football stadium, while also adding a new Dean of Equity, a VP of Advancement, and a half-dozen deanlets of [insert title]. Oh, and let's raise the football coach's salary to a cool million. Pay up, kids!


So if it's not the responsibility of the person going to college to pay costs and debt incurred by them going to college, can you tell me just who's responsibility it is and where that's spelled out? If it's anyone's responsibility other than the student, it's then the responsibility of the parents of the student.

Originally Posted By: Val

Why is it that "personal responsibility" only seems to extend to the party who has basically no choice in the matter (because essentially all of the colleges are doing this and all or nearly all states are cutting funding)? Why is it that governments and universities can behave badly and then tell the people who attend them that they have to be "responsible" and pick up the tab?


Perhaps a better question, why is it that responsibility would be upon anyone else other than the person who signs for the debt? In answer to your question above, everyone DOES have a choice, that's just it, nobody is forcing their hand. Once again, there are many careers available that don't require a college education and in fact will pay you while they train you incurring zero debt and instead making money along the way.

While I can sympathize with the plight of college debt as I have two sons currently in college, I also understand that nobody has forced them there and we've all of our own free will signed on. Decisions have ramifications, consequences, and responsibilities to fulfill. Perhaps that's the first lesson colleges should be teaching as it appears many youth aren't getting the message these days.
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:54 AM

I'm taking the extremely cynical view that students who wouldn't have gone to college 30 or 40 years ago are going now because society is telling them to. So the colleges are finding ways to make them happy while they're there and, as aquinas pointed out, majors for them. As I said, I'm deeply and maybe too cynical here.

Part of this is driven by employers, part by society at large, part by school and government policies, etc. But the bottom line is that students are spending less time studying than they used to and are learning less in college.

So I think we agree: "best" has a different definition for each student, and football + entertainment complex may be very high on some lists.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 10:55 AM

I'm thinking we need to generate some common sized balance sheets for the major universities and look at what kinds of program offerings correlate with increased facility and overhead expenditures.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:06 AM

I think aquinas has a great thought pattern there. There is very little accountability in colleges to justify spending. I know that personal experiences mean little in the big picture but it's been my experience that the vast majority of college employees, especially professors and most administrators, have little concept of time / value of money as funding is often supplied by taxpayers and student's parents (who they don't want to talk to) with no requirement to justify spending.
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
So if it's not the responsibility of the person going to college to pay costs and debt incurred by them going to college, can you tell me just who's responsibility it is and where that's spelled out? If it's anyone's responsibility other than the student, it's then the responsibility of the parents of the student.


Old Dad, you missed my point. Look again. I didn't say that students don't have a responsibility to pay for their education.

I said that students shouldn't have to take on mortgage-sized debt to get a BA --- especially because insanely escalating costs are largely due to irresponsible spending habits at the colleges and bad government policy (e.g. minimum wage).


As for football paying for other stuff, that's a semi-myth (meaning it's only true for the top 20% or so of football colleges):

... figures from the 2010-11 academic year show that only 22 of the 120 top-tier football programs broke even or made a profit. That means that while these big-time teams generate millions of dollars of revenue, the cost of running such programs usually exceeds that revenue. To put that more starkly, even within the so-called top tier, 82% of college football teams actually take away money from the university’s budget, rather than generate net revenue.


We disagree on the government's duty to fund education. Education benefits the society and the government has a duty to ensure that the society thrives. Regarding the claim that federal, state, and local governments have no duty to fund education, suggest you read up on that.

Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
This could easily get back into the subject matter of the thread that was previously locked. Simply because something benefits people doesn't mean that government should do it. We can think of MANY things that would be beneficial to many citizens I'm certain, however, financing it's citizen's desires isn't what government and more specifically our federal government was created to do. We're all free to contribute to our heart's content to any cause we please, however, it's not our job to tell others what good cause they MUST contribute to, when, and how much.


Actually, "provide for the [...] general welfare" is an enumerated power of Congress in the US Constitution.

Of course, you're conflating "general welfare" with the well being of specific individuals here. It's a well-established fact that a well-educated populace benefits everyone.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
While I agree on much of the quote above, one sport in particular usually funds itself and makes enough to fund numerous other college sports teams. American football.


Negative. Colleges are bleeding red in athletics departments, and it's mostly due to escalating costs for football. And it's due to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

https://www.thechampaignroom.com/2017/5/22/15659242/out-of-control-spending-ncaa-college-athletics

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
I'm am holding my breath as it's not the purpose or responsibility of federal government to fund public education, let alone public colleges or tuition.


What an odd statement. We have a cabinet-level position called Secretary of Education. It's an entire federal department, with a $68B budget in 2016.

It is an unquestioned fact of history that universal public education has been a transformative and positive advancement in Western society.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Val

Old Dad, you missed my point. Look again. I didn't say that students don't have a responsibility to pay for their education.

I said that students shouldn't have to take on mortgage-sized debt to get a BA --- especially because insanely escalating costs are largely due to irresponsible spending habits at the colleges and bad government policy (e.g. minimum wage).


To quote, what you said was:
Originally Posted By: Val

IMO, "personal responsibility" extends as far as "You can't play video games all summer. You need to get a job and cover your tuition." It does not include "You need to become a debt serf so that the U of State can raze its paleontology museum to make way for a new football stadium, while also adding a new Dean of Equity, a VP of Advancement, and a half-dozen deanlets of [insert title]. Oh, and let's raise the football coach's salary to a cool million. Pay up, kids!


If the personal responsibility extends only as far as a summer job, or even a part time job year round, then the rest of the responsibility must fall to someone else. Who would that be?

Originally Posted By: Val

As for football paying for other stuff, that's a semi-myth (meaning it's only true for the top 20% or so of football colleges):

[quote= In-depth report on college football ]... figures from the 2010-11 academic year show that only 22 of the 120 top-tier football programs broke even or made a profit. That means that while these big-time teams generate millions of dollars of revenue, the cost of running such programs usually exceeds that revenue. To put that more starkly, even within the so-called top tier, 82% of college football teams actually take away money from the university’s budget, rather than generate net revenue.


Fair enough! Again, we eliminate then all but the 20% of college sports teams that break even, that will include the mass majority of college sports programs returning everything to a truly amateur status....which I have no problems with.

Originally Posted By: Val

We disagree on the government's duty to fund education. Education benefits the society and the government has a duty to ensure that the society thrives. Regarding the claim that federal, state, and local governments have no duty to fund education, suggest you read up on that.



I never made the assertion that state and local governments have no duty to fund education, I spoke only of federal government for the specific reason that it's not outlined as a duty of the federal government.

Once again, when you can find in our Constitution or it's amendments where public education, more specifically college education, is outlined as a duty of federal government, we have a different discussion. Until that time, you have no justification of your claim otherwise. That which is not outlined falls to the states and the people. If a state wants to take that upon themselves, so be it.

We can find MANY facets of life and desires that would benefit it's citizens, however, the problem is it's and ever expanding list of federal government over reach which the Constitution and it's amendments don't outline.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude

What an odd statement. We have a cabinet-level position called Secretary of Education. It's an entire federal department, with a $68B budget in 2016.

It is an unquestioned fact of history that universal public education has been a transformative and positive advancement in Western society.


You realize the department of education wasn't a federal department until 1979 correct?

The powers of Congress are outlined in the enumerated powers following the statement you spoke of regarding "general welfare" The whole purpose of outlining the enumerated powers was exactly to DEFINE what was meant by "general welfare" Among those enumerated powers there is no mention of public education.

For those who don't know what the original purpose of the federal government was intended to be, let me help you with the Declaration of Independence that tells you exactly what it was for:

(Quote)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.
(End quote)

The only reason the federal government was put in place was to protect the rights you've were given by your creator, not to supply it's citizens with funding, financing, or material goods.
Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
If the personal responsibility extends only as far as a summer job, or even a part time job year round, then the rest of the responsibility must fall to someone else. Who would that be?



The cost of a public college should be affordable on a full-time low-wage summer job + 5-8 hours per week during the year. It was that way until the 90s or so. Irresponsible spending at the colleges + poor government policies such as the reduced value of minimum wage have changed that. You should not have to save 100% of 36 weeks of full-time wages just to pay tuition. What this number means is that paying for college without debt (average is creeping up on $40K now) or living in your car is effectively not possible if mom and dad don't have money. Full stop.

Forcing this on people is NOT asking them to be responsible. It's forcing them into debt servitude, which damages the entire society.

So the colleges have to be responsible, too. So does the government (see Dude's excellent points in that regard). Why don't the universities have to be responsible with their spending?

I agree that the sports should go back to the intramural level. At that level, playing on a given college team was about things that benefited the student, not the college and the NCAA.

Posted by: Val

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:52 AM

Old Dad, you seem to be saying that the role of the government has to stay the same as it was in 1776. Why?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:55 AM

How about we don't turn this into an in-depth exploration of the US Constitution and how Old Dad's view of it has become untethered to objective reality?
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 11:58 AM

Actually I never said that Val. If we want to change the role of the federal government there is a process in place to change it. Our founding fathers made sure that was possible. Those are what amendments are. You're welcome to pursue that type of change, however, please don't attempt to state falsely what the purpose of government CURRENTLY is as outlined by our Constitution and it's Amendments.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 12:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Dude
How about we don't turn this into an in-depth exploration of the US Constitution and how Old Dad's view of it has become untethered to objective reality?


I'm fine with that Dude, it wasn't I who brought the government into the discussion, I was simply replying to someone else who did.

It's difficult to discuss college costs without including the federal government as they, by your own admission, have greatly affected the price of college in numerous ways.

As far as objective reality, I think the Constitution, it's amendments, the list of enumerated powers, and the Declaration of Independence, are pretty real and objective.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 12:28 PM

Originally Posted By: OldDad
If the personal responsibility extends only as far as a summer job, or even a part time job year round, then the rest of the responsibility must fall to someone else. Who would that be?


The student in future. Val's addressed the payment of tuition costs at the time of their expenditure. She's assuming some future stream of debt financing that will be assumed by the student, but that the outstanding debt at graduation won't financially incapacitate the new graduate.

This isn't a question of an adultolescent wail of "do it for me! I'm entitled! I wanna go!" Instead, it's a statement that the cost of university education should have some tenable relationship to the earning power generated by such a degree.

Let's also not artificially segregate the notion of "tuition aid recipient" and "taxpayer". The two are the same individual, at different points in the individual's tax paying life cycle.

Perhaps it would help for you to think of your own children's public (presumptive?) K-12 education as being a time of you making net withdrawals on the education portion of your tax remittances. Were you unfairly requiring other taxpayers to subsidize your family's personal decisions?

Likewise, if you need to call the police to your home to intervene for a burglary, and you engage in public prosecution of the criminal, you are withdrawing--on average--from local policing budgets. However, both services are acknowledged to be valuable to both the individual and society, which is why they're funded. What makes these individual transfers fiscally sustainable is that they operate on a pooled insurance basis. No one individual is constantly withdrawing these services ad infinitum.

Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: aquinas

This isn't a question of an adultolescent wail of "do it for me! I'm entitled! I wanna go!" Instead, it's a statement that the cost of university education should have some tenable relationship to the earning power generated by such a degree.


I agree, so if one can't use the degree of their pursuit to pay for that degree, then it's an unwise decision and one should pursue a different degree. While we'd all love to pursue what tickles our fancy, unfortunately, not everyone's fancy is strongly marketable and decisions have ramifications.

Originally Posted By: aquinas

Let's also not artificially segregate the notion of "tuition aid recipient" and "taxpayer". The two are the same individual, at different points in the individual's tax paying life cycle.


Except that everyone pays taxes, not everyone goes to college and only roughly 33% of HS graduates also graduate from college. So no, they most frequently aren't the same individual.

Originally Posted By: aquinas

Perhaps it would help for you to think of your own children's public (presumptive?) K-12 education as being a time of you making net withdrawals on the education portion of your tax remittances. Were you unfairly requiring other taxpayers to subsidize your family's personal decisions?


Once again, not everyone goes to college, and only about 33% of HS graduates also graduate from college, the mass majority of people DO go to public schools K-12, you're comparing apples and oranges.

An important difference is that K-12 are children. Colleges students, though there are a few exceptions, are over 18 and adults. As a child you're the responsibility of your parents / guardian, as adults one becomes their own responsibility.

Originally Posted By: aquinas

Likewise, if you need to call the police to your home to intervene for a burglary, and you engage in public prosecution of the criminal, you are withdrawing--on average--from local policing budgets. However, both services are acknowledged to be valuable to both the individual and society, which is why they're funded. What makes these individual transfers fiscally sustainable is that they operate on a pooled insurance basis. No one individual is constantly withdrawing these services ad infinitum.


The police are a local, county, and state service, I'm referring to the federal government in relationship to college. Additionally, protecting a citizen's rights is what government, according to the Declaration of Independence, is instituted for, the same cannot be stated from public education.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 01:42 PM

Originally Posted By: OldDad
Except that everyone pays taxes, not everyone goes to college and only roughly 33% of HS graduates also graduate from college. So no, they most frequently aren't the same individual.


OldDad, you're treating every taxpayer as equal on a fiscal basis. They aren't equal. Public spending is a continuous variable, not a binary one, sourced from a multitude of payors over time.

A median high school graduate earns about $700/week compared with $1,100/week for a graduate with a bachelor's degree. Due to progressive marginal personal income tax rates, that degree holder generates a much larger stream of public revenues than the high school graduate. Data from the BLS show that the top 20% of earners contribute 77% of tax remittances, so it's specious to suggest that university graduates are somehow dragging down other taxpayers. They're the greatest contributors to public finances on the personal side of the equation!

So, while not everyone goes to college, everyone receives the benefits of those who do, even folks such as yourself who think they shouldn't.

As to jurisdictional boundaries for financing of different activities, who do you think pays more municipal taxes? The people who earn more who, on average, have attained higher levels of education and have higher average property valuations on which municipal tax rates are based.

Source- weekly earnings
https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/median...ity-in-2014.htm

Source- tax remittances
https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2015/consumer-expenditures-tax-estimates/home.htm



Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 02:04 PM

Once again aquinas, simply because something is beneficial doesn't mean that it's the purpose of especially the federal and perhaps not even state or local government to provide. If your state or local government wants to provide for college funding, so be it, however, as I've mentioned numerous times, this isn't a purpose outlined in our Constitution or it's amendments. What isn't outlined the Constitution and it's amendments falls to the states and the people by direction of those same amendments.

Nobody is stopping anyone from contributing as MUCH as they want to the pursuit of their fellow citizens to gain a college degree, you're all free to sell everything you own and contribute it all and so am I. What I am not free to do is require you, by force if necessary, to fund another adult's college pursuit. With that in mind, how about you contribute what you deem appropriate to charitable and/or worth wile pursuit's and I'll do the same. In that way I'm not trying to put my priorities and preferences on you and you're not trying to put your priorities and preferences on me. Sounds quite equitable doesn't it?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 02:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Once again aquinas, simply because something is beneficial doesn't mean that it's the purpose of especially the federal and perhaps not even state or local government to provide.


Didn't we agree not to do this?
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 02:24 PM

Simply responding to other people's posts with "this" as the topic Dude. I'm happy to stop responding when people stop bringing it up.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 02:55 PM

Oh, please. She's pointing out to you that your arguments are invalid on a financial basis, not on a constitutional basis. She's an economist and she's going to eat your lunch on this one, but if you want to try arguing that it's more fiscally responsible to not finance education, it's at least within the topic at hand.

I, on the other hand, am such a US History geek that I recently read the full text of the Treaty of Ghent and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (except the bits establishing boundaries, that's too dry even for me) and could easily compile 200 quotes from Founding Fathers discrediting the absurd notion of strict constructionism, but that's not really related to the topic.

I'll leave you this from Alexander Hamilton (underline added, caps are his):

Originally Posted By: The Federalist - #34
Constitutions of civil government are not to be framed upon a calculation of existing exigencies, but upon a combination of these with the probable exigencies of ages, according to the natural and tried course of human affairs. Nothing, therefore, can be more fallacious than to infer the extent of any power, proper to be lodged in the national government, from an estimate of its immediate necessities. There ought to be a CAPACITY to provide for future contingencies as they may happen; and as these are illimitable in their nature, it is impossible safely to limit that capacity.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/24/18 05:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Once again aquinas, simply because something is beneficial doesn't mean that it's the purpose of especially the federal and perhaps not even state or local government to provide. If your state or local government wants to provide for college funding, so be it, however, as I've mentioned numerous times, this isn't a purpose outlined in our Constitution or it's amendments. What isn't outlined the Constitution and it's amendments falls to the states and the people by direction of those same amendments.

Nobody is stopping anyone from contributing as MUCH as they want to the pursuit of their fellow citizens to gain a college degree, you're all free to sell everything you own and contribute it all and so am I. What I am not free to do is require you, by force if necessary, to fund another adult's college pursuit. With that in mind, how about you contribute what you deem appropriate to charitable and/or worth wile pursuit's and I'll do the same. In that way I'm not trying to put my priorities and preferences on you and you're not trying to put your priorities and preferences on me. Sounds quite equitable doesn't it?


In a nutshell, you’re suggesting that it’s unconstitutional to implement structures that require taxpayers to federally fund post secondary tuition. The mere existence of tuition grants for post-secondary education at the federal level, and the conspicuous absence of successful constitutional challenges in that area, suggest that constitutional law scholars do not share your opinion.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships

If you’d like to discuss what constitutional law does and does not provide for, both historically and in terms of modern jurisprudence, we should start a separate thread in which to address that properly, so as not to hijack what is otherwise a discussion of the causes of, and remedies for, high tuition fees at public universities.

I thank Dude for his confidence in my argumentation. Economists may not believe in a free lunch, but we’re certainly happy to pilfer another’s lunch should the opportunity present itself.

Now...tuition rates at public universities are high. What can we do to fix the root cause, which is the pricing model, rather than continue to talk at cross-purposes about the optimal tuition payor? We can make some headway there.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/25/18 04:29 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas

In a nutshell, you’re suggesting that it’s unconstitutional to implement structures that require taxpayers to federally fund post secondary tuition. The mere existence of tuition grants for post-secondary education at the federal level, and the conspicuous absence of successful constitutional challenges in that area, suggest that constitutional law scholars do not share your opinion.


I'm not just suggesting it, I'm blatantly asserting it. Our federal government has become so bloated with over reach we have become blind to it. The lack of a challenge does not equate to a reality. Have you ever heard of the story of the Emperor's new cloths? Existence also does not equate to correctness.

Once again, please find me in our Constitution or it's amendments where education, and especially post secondary education is outlined as a duty / purpose / responsibility of the federal government and then we have a different discussion. You can't, it's not there.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Escalating American Public University Tuition - 04/25/18 06:30 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas

Now...tuition rates at public universities are high. What can we do to fix the root cause, which is the pricing model, rather than continue to talk at cross-purposes about the optimal tuition payor? We can make some headway there.


Are we sure that the pricing model is the problem or simply the symptom? We've already been discussing multiple root problems.

Originally Posted By: indigo

- Availability of student loans.
- Emphasis on and investment in sports (as opposed to academics).
- Construction of campus amenities such as water parks, waterslides, lazy rivers, rock climbing walls.
- Benefits offered to employees may include college tuition for offspring... thereby transferring the cost of these "free" seats to the remaining student body.
- Age of professors (baby boomers retiring, some institutions have promised lifelong pensions). I understand that to offset this, some institutions now hire more adjuncts, assistant professors, and associate professors... all of whom who are paid much less than full tenured professors.
- Investment in technology. This could reasonably be expected to have a payback period of lowered costs of operating... but may instead become an upward spiral of early adoption of new technology... an arms race.
- Insurance costs. Unfortunately, we may live in a litigious society.


We can add federal government loan involvement as has previously been mentioned as a reason for strong rate of tuition increase.

We can also add lack of effort to streamline college credit transfers to that list as has previously been mentioned.

We can also add lack of transparency in justification of spending to that list as has previously been mentioned.

Eliminating unnecessary duplication of programs as has previously been mentioned.

It's also been mentioned that a good part of it is simply supply and demand. The demand right now is extremely high as employers are using college as a sorting tool. When we stop sending people to college to pay for degrees they don't need to perform the job they get, that demand goes down forcing colleges to streamline what they offer to be more attractive. In short, we keep feeding the beast, it'll continue to grow and get more hungry.

Perhaps just as importantly is demanding from our government representatives to examine all of these causes and force state colleges to work on these issues. As for private colleges, that obviously doesn't hold near the weight, for that, as consumers we simply need to stop feeding them without holding them responsible.