“Administrative bloat” leads to tuition increases

When I  was doing the research for my book I spent a lot of time tracking down the reasons for the crippling tuition increases that were driving graduates deeply into debt.  I looked at reductions in aid from states and thousands of valueless perks like water parks and hot tubs that colleges added to attract students and then added the price to their bills.

But it soon became clear that one of the major reasons for tuition increases was the explosion of administrative costs. Administrators were getting double digit pay increases and the number of administrators was increasing dramatically. At the college where I taught the administrators quickly outgrew the administration building and expanded into other buildings. This year they opened a brand new administation building. Yet it was difficult to find the numbers to quanify all this excess.

Today, however, a new report finds that from 1993 to 2007, the number of full-time administrators for every 100 students increased 39 percent at public universities. In 2007, public universities averaged 7.9 full-time administrators for every 100 students.

It’s easy to see why this happens. Whenever colleges encounter a new problem they simply create a posistion and hire an administrator and pass the costs on to students in the form of higher tuition. In my experience this is especially true on the student affairs side of the college, where there are student activity directors and directors of student life and such. Keeping the kids happy and entertained has become more important than educating them. It’s all part of the recent trend toward keeping the customers happy so they pay the tuition money that helps the college pay all those administrators. Education has become little more than a side show.

It’s an interesting report and you can read it here:

Goldwater Institute report on Administrative Bloat

Or check out these media reports: Arizona Republic, Dallas Morning News and Indianapolis Star

Let’s hope this attracts enough attention for someone to do something about it!

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