Higher costs for higher education

College costs have soared. Where’s the money going? Erin O’Connor looks at a Chronicle of Higher Education case study of the University of Kansas, which tripled its budget over the last 20 years while the number of students stayed the same. Tuition, still low at $7,000, tripled in real dollars.

Where is all the money going? To various things aimed broadly at enhancing student experience and so improving retention: new facilities (two science buildings, a fitness center replete with climbing wall, renovated dorms, a multicultural resource center, a performing arts center, a writing center, revamped high-tech classrooms, increased library services, IT), more professors, and more bureaucracy to administer all the new student services, to publicize them, and to study them. Energy and health care premiums also add to the total.

Do UK students learn more in the new era? The Chronicle didn’t try to answer that question.

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  1. John Thacker says:

    Minor note: The University of Kansas is almost always abbreviated “KU,” probably because “UK” generally refers to the University of Kentucky. For example, their homepage is http://www.ku.edu.

  2. I’m appalled at all the bells and whistles colleges think they need to attract students and the costs associated with such. It’s not a spa, it’s education. I hate like hell to have to pay for this crap, and I wonder why people swallow this. Not to mention, what are the consequences for those who graduate with huge student loans?

  3. At my so-called private, liberal arts college of 2200 students, we have hired over 150 new staff members but only 5 new faculty members in the last five years. We have a new Dean of Graduate Education for a graduate program of only 200-250 students. We have a new football stadium and a new gym. But, tuition was increased again, grants to faculty members for scholarship were cut completely, and there wil be no raises for faculty or staff this year.

  4. I agree with Kate. Last year I took my DD on a tour of the alma mater. The old Residence Hall (spartan, but clean in the old days) was replaced with what looks like a 5-star hotel. The cafeteria, instead of serving typical SAGA (we called it Soviet Atempt to Gag America) now offers more and better food than a large mall food court – free range organic burgers, no less! I was impressed but then realized that in a few years I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO UNDERWRITE ALL THIS!


  1. […] Higher costs for higher educationErin O’Connor looks at a Chronicle of Higher Education case study of the University of Kansas, which tripled its budget over the last 20 years while the number of students stayed the same. Tuition, still low at $7000, tripled in real . […]