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.