As family income falls, college tuition climbs

I think colleges and universities are politically tone deaf. Given the economy, how can they continue to raise tuition?

The dream of attending a good college is getting costlier every year; a new report says both public and privates raised tuition last year. (Cox News photo)

The dream of attending a good college is getting costlier every year; a new report says both public and privates raised tuition last year. (Cox News photo)

According to a College Board report released this week, public colleges raised tuition and fees by an average of 6.5 percent last year,  while privates increased their costs by 4.4 percent.

Speaking to the NYT, Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, said:

“Given the financial hardship of the country, it’s simply astonishing that colleges and universities would have this kind of increases. It tells you that higher education is still a seller’s market. The level of debt we’re asking people to undertake is unsustainable.

“A lot of people think we can solve the problem with more financial aid, but I think we have to have some cost containment. For all the talk about reinventing higher education, I don’t see any results.”

Counting room and board, the College Board says the average total cost of attendance at a public four-year college is now $15,213.

That’s still a deal when compared to the private schools where the average cost is $35,636 for tuition, room and board.

The College Board notes that the sting is not so bad as only a third of students pay the sticker price due to financial aid. However, the report also notes that a lot of that money is now given as merit aid;  two-thirds of the grant money at public colleges is merit aid, which doesn’t consider family income. (Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship is one such merit program.)

“It is particularly disturbing that public colleges are using such a large share of their financial aid resources for so-called merit aid in these tough times,” Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, told the NYT.

As tuition has climbed, so has borrowing by students and their families. A report last year by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education found that tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent. The report said paying for a four-year public college took up about one-quarter of the median family income. A private university swallowed up about three-quarters of the median family income.

Public colleges can and do make the argument that they have had no choice but to raise tuition as state legislatures slashed their funding. However, I still think that spending could be cut in some areas, including the salaries for the top people.

I remember meeting with a roomful of college presidents who said their salaries and those of their cabinet-level staff simply reflected the standard in the profession. “You can’t good people for less,” they said.

I don’t know.  Try offering $150,000 rather than $250,000 and see if the caliber of candidate is that much lower.

42 comments Add your comment

Ernest

October 22nd, 2009
6:45 am

Having a college student currently with 3 more following him, this concerns me. At the same time, I see this as more reflective of the times we are living in. As I’ve stated many times, the greatest expenditure for any organization is labor costs (salaries & benefits). While many colleges/universities have held the line on salaries, perhaps even reduced some (like many of our K-12 schools), the price of goods and services have increased. The only options I see is to either pass those increases along to you consumers or cut back on services.

Would we want colleges/universities to use more adjunct professors (who may not need benefits, another major expenditure and potential savings) in lieu of full time professors? Would we want class sizes to increase so they could possibly reduce the amount of staff needed? How about not offering some classes as frequently, which could delay graduation for some students? Perhaps we could utilize more online instruction but at the end of the day, that does not take the place of good old ‘face to face’ instruction.

I’m not going to use ’salary envy’ as a possible argument. They same thing could be same about any of us and our compensation by someone that does not have to walk in our shoes. Some would say the stress level have gone up for many professionals with the economic challenges all are facing.

My solution will be to really emphasize to my children that they do well in school with hopes of getting some subsidies to help with college. I will also have them take career technology education (CTE) classes with a goal of getting a workplace certification along with their diploma. This way if college may need to be delayed, they will have the skills necessary to compete for a good job. When you look at the cost of CTE classes during HS (essentially $0) versus what one would have to pay after HS (upwards of $20,000), this make CTE a GREAT bargain. Old School, feel free to add more to this :)

Mitch

October 22nd, 2009
7:01 am

Maureen, the problem is that without tuition hikes, fee increases, etc (whatever they want to call it), they would have to make cuts that would impact student learning. So, its not being politically tone deaf, its a decision of either risking the academic reputation of your university versus an increase of tuition/fees.

Mitch

October 22nd, 2009
7:02 am

Although, i should add that i totally agree with you on salaries in the university system. They are ridiculous, and they would get the same caliber people at half the rate.

Reality 2

October 22nd, 2009
7:04 am

Maureen,

Why don’t you find out exactly how many people at GA colleges actually make $250,000. I believe their salaries are public information.

Unfortunately, when economic situations are not good, that’s when colleges often experience an increase in the enrollment – and less money from states. Colleges can offer larger classes – up to a certain point because classrooms have the max capacities to meet the fire code. Faculty won’t be happy, of course because, as in many other businesses, when workers give up something temporarily, it often becomes permanent.

I think people should think about using other options like going to community colleges for the first 2 years.

Ernest

October 22nd, 2009
7:10 am

Maureen, please check the filter for a post I submitted earlier. I’ve very curious on what did not pass the test. Thoughts???

Gail

October 22nd, 2009
7:34 am

I totally agree that it is ridiculous that college tuition has increased so much. This is contributing to the HOPE scholarship’s funding problems. I have 2 kids at UGA. Freshman & sophomore. Tuition went up 25% from last year to this year. Of course HOPE pays for most of that but that’’s not the point – the dwindling HOPE fund is paying for it. And so many kids want to go to UGA so they can do what they want with fees. Even if they have been wasting money or making an elaborate “highly acclaimed” health center that doesn’t accept anybody’s private health insurance. I am sure they could find a way to cut costs more than they have. The Board of Regents just added $100 per semester as a fee (not a tuition increase LOL) instead of really cutting expenses.

TW

October 22nd, 2009
7:39 am

Part 2 of a great American scam.

Part 1 – telling everyone they are college material.

HS Teacher

October 22nd, 2009
7:47 am

TW — I agree w/ part 1 of your statement but not part 2. Being a HS teacher w/ 4 college degrees I completely agree that a 4-year college is not for everyone. More people, especially those who struggled in HS, should really look hard at the technical colleges or apprencship programs and go for that hands-on education. Granted the starting salary won’t be as high as a 4 year degree but they will have a better chance in securing a job faster and usually more satisfying.

jim d

October 22nd, 2009
7:56 am

And a top notch public college will cost as much or more than some of the private institutions.

madmommy

October 22nd, 2009
8:00 am

As someone who is still paying off student loans and will be for the next 10 or so years this is just nuts. We need to start giving students and parents more options with vocational schools since not everyone is college material, nor do I think everyone should attend.
To raise the fee’s when many if not most are having a hard time just getting by will really push some students out who want an education, but who cannot afford to pay.

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HS Teacher, Too

October 22nd, 2009
8:18 am

I’m with jim d. But Maureen, you started out asking “given the economy, how can they continue to raise tuition,” and I suspect at least part of the answer is that they HAVE to raise tuition BECAUSE of the economy.

Dewi

October 22nd, 2009
8:25 am

“I think colleges and universities are politically tone deaf. Given the economy, how can they continue to raise tuition?”

Simply put, because people keep paying it. It’s possible to go to a good college or university and graduate with little to no debt. I know, I just graduated from Georgia Tech and have less than $5,000 in debt. I didn’t have any help from my family, I lost HOPE after my freshman year, but I worked my tail off.

Not everyone should go to college. And only those that are motivated should go and stay there. If you’re going to slack off and coast, then you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself for whatever situation you end up in.

Robert M

October 22nd, 2009
8:35 am

Expect more of the same later today. The Board of Regents are meeting and plan on passing yet another student fee increase to cover their budget cuts. And these additional fees are NOT HOPE eligible. It amazes me that BOR continues to balance their budget on the backs of their students instead of making reductions to staff and services. There are plenty of non mission critical functions on a campus.

Lee

October 22nd, 2009
8:41 am

I always find it ironic that these Colleges and Universities, who supposedly have some of the finest minds around and have a stable full of Accounting, Economic, and Finance Phd types who love to tell us how to run a business, just can’t seem to be able to find ways to cut costs in their own organization.

My guess, they realize they have a captive customer base due to HOPE. We’re not going anywhere else as long as the private colleges and out of state colleges will cost twice as much and HOPE will pay whatever rate they set.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, I don’t care what the hospital charges because insurance/medicaid/medicare pays for it.

You see where that line of thinking got us….

oldtimer

October 22nd, 2009
9:19 am

As a retired HS teacher and a part-time college instructor, I feel full time instructors ought to actually teach more than 15 hours per week. Just start to increase actual insrictional time on their part maybe to 25 hours a week. That would save some money.

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
9:53 am

This is probably the best thing that has ever happened to students considering college. :) Why? Because the cost of tuition has become so high that finally people are going to have to ask the question, “do I need to go to college?”

Being out of college for 10 years, I can say that answer is ‘no.’

1. Too many companies are requiring a college degree when a degree isn’t neccessary.

2. Too many online alternative colleges and universities have emerged with inferior education that it has retarded 4-year degrees

3. Too many average, or below average students are attending college to prolong growing up.

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
10:00 am

@ oldtimer

Your thoughts boosting instructional requirements from 15 to 25 hours intrigues me. What subject where you teaching?

- How much prep did you need for a week’s worth of material
- How were students tested?
- How often did the material change?
- Do you think 25 hours is possible for all, or are there exceptions?

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
10:04 am

@ jim d

Can you give examples?

“And a top notch public college will cost as much or more than some of the private institutions.”

I have one example, UGA, GA Tech and GSU graduate tuition is synthetically high. I reviewed all these programs w/ my wife, who was considering enrolling. I have my MBA from a private college in New England and from what I could tell the quality of education was not better here, but seemed worse and the prices where noticeably higher (30-100%). What the New England schools had that GA doesn’t is competition.

Do you have undergraduate examples?

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
10:16 am

REDUCE ACADEMIC RESEARCH?

Another solution is to reduce academic research funding. Notorious at large institutions, especially public institutions, you have high paid professors that spend the majority of time on research, and authoring scholarly reviews and minimal time in the classroom actually passing on their knowledge and insight.

Doing this might also require universities banding together to revolt against collegiate accreditation systems

Regardless of this outcome, if you’re a student in a giant lecture hall, or you have a reliance of any sort on a teacher’s assistant and cannot have 1 on 1 access to the professor at least once a week during office hours, then you’re a sucker for attending.

Dekalb Guy

October 22nd, 2009
10:45 am

“I’m with jim d. But Maureen, you started out asking “given the economy, how can they continue to raise tuition,” and I suspect at least part of the answer is that they HAVE to raise tuition BECAUSE of the economy.”

You’re right on, HS Teacher, too. The problem is that, unlike the federal govt., states have to balance their budgets. The recession means lower tax revenues for the state, which means they have to cut costs across the board. In order to maintain the same level of service with less allotted state income, colleges therefore must raise fees. This situation is aggravated by HOPE, which is putting pressure on enrollments, thus necessitating the hiring of new faculty and staff, as well as the construction of new facilities. Some of these financial concerns could be alleviated by getting rid of HOPE, which, as you point out, is merit based and thus subsidizes the education of students who are not financially needy while also greatly increasing enrollment.

I am surprised at the shock you express at universities raising tuition, Maureen. It is basically just a matter of maintaining the current level of education with less state resources. One can certainly argue that requiring the state to balance its budget is a good thing, but we have to be aware of the consequences of that obligation; state services will almost automatically decline in quality and quantity during difficult economic times.

In a similar situation the federal govt. would simply go further into debt. The state could raise taxes, but this would undoubtedly further stifle economic recovery (as do furloughs), so they are left with cutting costs. Again, the federal govt. has the luxury of cutting taxes AND maintaining, or even increasing, expenditures.

Ernest

October 22nd, 2009
11:34 am

DeKalb Conservative, you mention that colleges/universities should consider cutting academic research as a cost savings strategy. I thought most of the research was funded by outside sources thus making the salary of the professor self sustaining. When you factor in the prestige that can come out of some of the research, one can rationalize it also helps with donations and recruitment.

I spoke with one of my ‘middlers’ this morning and informed her she will be getting a workplace certification along with her HS diploma. Of course she had no idea what I was talking about but when I explained some of the career options, she indicated she’d like to pursue culinary arts. Getting that certification during HS rather than later in life could give her a head start on others, especially if she chooses to delay college until later.

Shar

October 22nd, 2009
11:48 am

I believe that the question revolves around the notion of what the institution’s mission is. The last decade or so, as colleges and universities felt free to charge whatever they liked and focussed on building their brands and leveraging the US News ranking, they spent lavishly on non-fundamental things, many of which had only tenuous relationships to the core academic mission. The administration figured that their balloons would never burst – and just where were all their vaunted financial experts on this? – and are burdened with large debts and unfinished projects that must be serviced even in the downturn. Given the academic fraternity’s intransigent belief in their own importance and the undeniability of their expensive perqs, the place they go for the money is the student. There will be no meaningful budget cutting until administrators are shocked into the reality that this is, indeed, unsustainable.

To that end, my son, who has been in a private college in NC, has left and come back to Georgia to finish his education. My elder daughter is spending her last year at UNC before she, too, comes home to finish and my younger daughter, a high school senior and a National Merit scholar, has shelved her Ivy dreams and confined her college search to in-state public schools and those private schools most likely to grant her substantial merit aid.

Colleges and universities have been drunken sailors for years, indulging themselves and believing that the tab will always be picked up by someone else. Reducing the vanity add-ons and real reform in their business practices will have to be forced on them; until demand falls precipitously, they will continue to pass on the consequences of their self-absorption.

jim d

October 22nd, 2009
11:48 am

dekal cons.

google us news and world report best college bargin in the south 2010—then check out their tuition rates.

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
12:24 pm

@ jim d

us news and world report has a known bias (especially among top tier schools). What specifics have you observed?

I can name one, MTSU. My wife bragged that she graduated form there in 4 years. I thought it was weird someone would brag graduating in 4 years from a 4 year school. Only to find out they have a bunch of ‘junk electives’ that are required, and they have a horrible scheduling system.

The result most kids finish in 5 years (6 if you’re a good binge drinker). This puts their tuition at least 25% higher (not factoring in annual tuition increases) and removes them from a year’s worth of earning potential post grad.

Not sure if similiar problems are observed throughout the south, in particular at UGA, GSU, or Georgia Southern.

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
12:33 pm

@ Ernest

Absolutely colleges/universities should cut academic research. One of the ways colleges recruit professors is around research capabilities. I’ll concede research could help with donations, but I’ll argue that a student get really get screwed if they can’t tell the difference between:
- prestige via research
- prestige via teaching

A school w/ great research doesn’t mean that their graduates will be any smarter for it. In fact, I’m arguing it makes them dumber because the school is stacking the deck at scholarly journal recognition that it delegates the actual academic teaching to inferior professors, teacher assistants, etc.

As a first generation graduate, I went into college a little blind. Within a few weeks I realized I had an advantage because my economics class, like my other classes, had about 25 students and a teacher with office hours that knew my name and was accessible. If I had a class with 100 students with a TA, or a professor that was too busy doing research to meet with students I think I would be at a disadvantage on how the material was presented.

Ernest

October 22nd, 2009
2:15 pm

DeKalb Conservative,

Interesting perspective! One could argue that because of the research conducted along with the staff, this enlarges to pool of potential applicants thus allowing the school to be more selective.

Unfortunately I can only think of a sports analogy but there is a reason why UNC, Kentucky, UCLA, etc. consistently do well in basketball. Because of their history and rich tradition, they can be more selective in recruiting thus ‘reload’ every year and remain competitive. On the academic side, perhaps you are looking for that student that knows pi up to 20 places or can provide the theme for all of Shakespeare’s works. It becomes easier if there is research going on at the school appeals those types of applicants.

Remember, today’s TA’s could become tomorrow’s professors. I submit you would have a higher quality of TA if there is stimulating research going on at the school.

jim d

October 22nd, 2009
3:40 pm

dekalb—-try the citadel

College Professor

October 22nd, 2009
5:30 pm

As a college professor, I must point out that many of the ideas DeKalb Conservative offers are rather misguided/misinformed. I’ve been a full time college professor for15+ years. Add 7 years of graduate school (OK, I took a bit longer than my colleagues), I’ve been in a higher education setting for 20+ years. As I look around in my department, I don’t see anyone making more than $100K a year – actually for 9 months as our summer contract is separate – I still think only a few, if any, who will make $100K+ even with the summer contract. If I had gone into teaching immediately after my college, I would have had close to 25 years and my pay would have been probably better than what I am making now. So, faculty salaries, in general, aren’t that outrageous as some people seem to think (for someone with an extra degree beyond undergraduate).

As for academic research, we do have different types of colleges. UGA, GA Tech, and GSU are so-called research institutions. That’s where faculty is expected to conduct research and publish. GA Souther, Kennesaw, West Georgia, etc. are teaching institutions, where faculty may be expected to be active as scholars, they aren’t necessarily expected to produce major research results that will move the field (and the society) forward. Although there are a large number of private research institutions, I think a significant portion of research is still being conducted in academic institutions The research they conduct do benefit the society in general, and abandoning academic research is a huge mistake.

When HS students pick a school, they don’t think about the different types of institutions. Because many of the large research institutions are the ones with Division I football/basketball/etc., HS students want to go there. But, those are good places to go for graduate degree – maybe during the last 2 years of undergraduate. If you are interested in quality education, you are much more likely to get it at teaching institutions – and community colleges – where teaching is the primary mission.

Although people here have criticized about those “perks,” only at the very top level administration you will see such perks. Moreover, I don’t know if too many colleges actually own their own jets or hold faculty meeting at resorts.

Also, as a part time instructor, old timer has no idea what full-time tenure track faculty’s workload is. When you are a part-time instructor, you only teach the class you are assigned. A full-time tenure track faculty does more than teaching classes – as he (I assume) should know as a retired teacher. Teachers don’t just teach – there are other duties, like it or not, that take up their time. College faculty isn’t that different. We have to advise students, which can take up a huge amount of time, serve in different committees (we can definitely go with much fewer of those), engage in public service work (e.g., working with school teachers), etc. When I was teaching in another state, the state legislature wanted us to report our work time, and most of us were working 60+ hours, which they considered to be the normal workload.

We may enjoy a bit more respect and prestige because we are college professors instead of school teachers, and that’s a shame. But, we aren’t anything like those greedy Wall Streeters…

catlady

October 23rd, 2009
6:59 am

Pat Callan is a well-respected researcher. There are several others in this field you could interview.

Please, Ms. Downey, don’t call the small, liberal arts colleges “small privates.” I have heard that a number of times in the conferences at which I have presented, and it cracks me up.

catlady

October 23rd, 2009
7:13 am

14 years ago I came out with a PhD and was offered several positions in various areas of the country at the pay rate of an experienced assistant prof (the ranks are assistant, associate, and full prof). None of them were over 48,000. I went back into the K-12 classroom and my pay was more than 10,000 higher.

Even full profs are not paid all that well unless they are at, for example, MCOG or maybe GT. Unless you are a nationally known full prof expert in a competitive field, you won’t make anything near 200,000 per year. And newly minted PhDs much, much less.

College Professor

October 23rd, 2009
8:41 am

Well, my post hasn’t appeared yet, and I’m wondering if a college professor’s perspective is even wanted….

njsul

October 23rd, 2009
9:00 am

Great post. I wrote about my own experiences here (http://ajunkyard.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/colleges-gone-wild-someone-save-the-liberal-arts-education/). It’s absurd the amount of debt we’re placing on graduates and it’s completely unsustainable.

Maureen Downey

October 23rd, 2009
9:29 am

College Prof, Your post ended up in our filter, likely because of length. It is now on the site. Sorry, Maureen

DeKalb Conservative

October 23rd, 2009
9:34 am

@ jim d

Good point. I hadn’t considered the citadel.

Gwinnett Parent

October 23rd, 2009
9:40 am

There’s just too much fat. Walk on to any campus and you will see tons of money wasted. I know a Liberal Arts professor at UGA that got to take a year off with pay so that he could write a book. Does UGA need a 5 star dining facility or a health care facility, when most students have private insurance. I wanted to take some brush up classes at UGA (senior level Spanish). However, the selection was sparse and the classes were being taught by TAs. UGA spends several million for condoms and Sex Ed. There was an article a few months ago in the AJC. Perhaps someone could find it. Why do adults need Sex Ed? Also, they have a multi-million dollar advertising budget. There was a big uproar when Sonny tried to reduce it. Does UGA really need to advertise? Go through campus and you will find many meaningless positions and duplicated jobs.

Yes, 15-25 hours a week is ridiculous for a full time position. Ask a CPA, attorney, or anyone in management or sales(degreed) how many hours a week they work. Before I went into business for myself, I worked over 60 hrs per week and took work home. We did not close up shop several times a year for semester break, spring break, fall break, or winter break. I had to choose between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to work.

DeKalb Conservative

October 23rd, 2009
9:58 am

@ College Professor

My argument around academic research is based around not putting additional pressure onto professors to teach additional courses per semester. A retired high school teacher / part time professor posed the question of going from 15 in class hours to 25, which I think would severely hurt the student’s quality of education because that’s an unrealistic number to put on a professor.

On the college level, I want professors to be highly paid. Your background seems to fit the mold of the ideally professor, having a blend of so called ‘real world’ and teaching experiences.

My concern is that if some of the most knowledgeable experts are conducting research at public colleges/universities under the title of ‘professor,’ but are relying heavily on TA’s or have a very low workload, is that really moving the field and society forward? I would like to think the most accomplished men and women in their field if teaching, lecturing and inspiring the students that will be the leaders of that field tomorrow will have the greatest good to that field and society as a whole.

You touched on a quality education coming from teaching institutions, I couldn’t agree more. I especially think undergrad years 1-2 are a joke and most of these school’s reputations come from Div 1 sports and graduate programs. However, especially in the south, I think the graduate programs are overpriced due to a lack of competition.

DeKalb Conservative

October 23rd, 2009
10:04 am

A question that now needs to come up is around if HS students, and their parents really know what they are getting themselves into. Is the school the child is considering a teaching school (meaning you’ll likely have the ability to have a 1 on 1 chat w/ your teacher when you have problems or questions), or is the program a Div 1 sports / research institution (meaning professors availability will be severely limited and you might be getting taught by a TA).

I guess it just becomes a question of priorities.

Dekalb Guy

October 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

@ Gwinnett Parent: As a college prof., I can tell you that you will be hard-pressed to find a tenure-track or tenured prof who works less than 60 hrs / week. In addition to committee work, community service, meetings and advising, professors spend time doing research. Moreover, it’s a mistake to think that, if a prof. spends 9 hours in the classroom he only spends 9 hours on teaching; you must also consider class preparation, grading, office hours and time spent on e-mails. Finally, you won’t find many profs how “close up shop” during academic breaks. That is time we devote to class prep, grading and research. As for your comments about having course releases to write a book, don’t we want to encourage intellectual activities?

Last but not least, I challenge you to find a “senior level” Spanish class (4000 level) at UGA taught by a TA.

OvenBaked

October 23rd, 2009
6:01 pm

Bottom Line. Education in America is a political monster that is rearing its pustfilled evil head just like the financial collapse. It is a business and a lucritive one at that. What is the purpose of education in the 21st Century? What is the purpose of higer education anymore? I have 2 Masters a Bachelor and an Associates. Guess what? Unemployed. I have been lied to throught my life that if I did not do drugs, drink and get educated that I will have a good life. I only have about 100k in student loans and debt collectors for said loans calling me. Why should anyone care about being educated? People seem to do better by knowing someone. Who needs a degree to know someone? If I could I would give my degrees back for knowing someone in a hig position who could get me in. Edcuation is a joke in America and money is what moves things. Schools just produce people who can follow directions and not question the masters who run the businesses that they will eventually work for. Schools=worker farms.

David S

October 23rd, 2009
11:20 pm

First you people allowed the government and its politically connected interests to hijack accreditation. Then you allowed the government to steal your money and set up so-called “public” universities. They you demanded that the government provide untold grant money to offset ever-rising costs. Then you demanded that the government subsidize tuition costs by forcing and backing risky student loans for an unlimited amount. Then you accepted government run wealth transfer schemes (the lottery) on the promise that every kid with a B average would get his/her college paid for. Then you turned a blind eye as grade inflation swept even your kid’s school, turning them more into Hope Scholarship entitlement institutions, rather than places for education (which of course they never were anyway). Then you demanded another tax break for saving money for college.

All the while, the money either granted or given or guaranteed through loans goes way up, and you are actually surprised that college costs are going way way up too. What are you people just plain idiots????

Why is the price for big screen tvs constantly falling and the quality going up and up and up??? Its because the free market is at work.

Nobody guarantees your loan for a tv. Nobody at the TV factory has tenure and cares more about research and publishing than building your tv. Nobody gives you an unlimited check for whatever a tv will cost.

If you were a business that could count on whatever money you charged either being loaned to your customers at dirt cheap interest rates, or granted to them, or flat out handed to them, why would you ever work to keep costs down????

Wake up people. Its all been about you and how you can use the force of government to help you buy into the lie that college and university are worth whatever these places want to charge. Suckers! You made your bed, now sleep in it.

By the way, all the other government you demanded so loudly – that’s going to come back to haunt you too. In fact, that’s it rounding the corner. Good luck.

College Professor

October 24th, 2009
12:48 pm

DeKalb Conservative again shows that he really does not understand how a university works. When those professors at research institutions work primarily on research with only a few classes to teach, it does NOT mean that they have a light workload. Yes, they have a light teaching load, but at those institutions, a professor’s contract assumes s/he will dedicate at least 50% of the time on research. Furthermore, those TA’s are indeed students, too. When we work with doctoral students, many of whom work as TA’s, we are indeed educating future researchers and professors. Unfortunately, this type of mentoring and nurturing of future professionals don’t show up in a bean counting tally sheet. Guiding a doctoral student through his/her doctoral dissertation is a huge time commitment on the part of a professor. At some stages of the program, you will spend hours with one student guiding through his/her research and dissertation writing. At another stage, you may see him/her only once every other week. But, if you have 5 doctoral students, that is a huge amount of work, that may not be visible to outsiders.

Speaking of TA’s, they are actually providing cheap labor – they receive tuition waivers and small stipends. In return, they teach classes with less than what it would cost to hire a professor or even a part time instructor. They usually don’t receive any benefit, either. So, in the end, those TA’s are pluses on the tally sheet.

Now, sometimes those TA’s are better teachers than the professors for whom they work. A bright researchers doesn’t always make a bright teacher. Young TA’s are often much more idealists and dedicated to whatever they are assigned to do. Some take their teaching so seriously that their actual graduate study suffers. I’ve seen those, too.