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.
- 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.