Since my college plans to walk towards a future university, we should check the financial landscape. Dealing with debt, overloaded teachers and discontented students is no fun.
Lloyd Armstrong, a professor at the University of Southern California, has a very clear understanding of education economics. He explains the rising costs of HE as follows:
- Institutional aspirations are increasingly homogenized around a model set by the richest institutions
- There is a continuing “arms race” to upgrade and increase teaching, recreational, living and dining facilities; expand student activities and student services; and broaden curricular options – all very costly “improvements”
- Physical plants are generally are very expensive for the number of students served
- Increased bureaucracy is needed to manage the growing fruits of the arms race and ever increasing government regulations.
- The breadth of course offerings [lowers] the average number of students/class, thereby decreasing teaching productivity (students educated divided by teaching costs).
- Colleges [must] remedy the educational failings of secondary education
- This diversion to a non-core mission adds a costly overlay
- Teaching approaches have varied little over the centuries.
- Consequently there … is little room for increased productivity in this core function.
Many institutions try to move up the brand-value chain by increasing emphasis on faculty research. …
- Research faculty command higher salaries than teaching faculty.
- Those higher costs are spread over fewer students because of reduced teaching loads. Thus teaching productivity gets a double blow.
- Research facilities and instrumentation are more expensive than teaching facilities.
- Research sponsors and donors seldom if ever pay the complete costs of building and maintaining those facilities and purchasing this instrumentation
- [This leaves] costs to be covered by … tuition income.
- Government regulations and the bureaucracies needed to respond to them go up … as research comes in
- Research funding almost never covers these costs completely.
Sounds like Norway …
- What will The College of 2020 look like? November 10, 2011