Friday, July 12, 2013

Real College Crisis

Look at this!  A new blog post!  It's been about a year so clearly time to get back in the saddle.  Not sure if anyone reads this thing or reads blogs in general. They are dying (or are already dead).  Given way to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr to name a few.  Which is fine.  I find those more enjoyable anyways.  But sometimes you have thoughts which are longer than 160 characters or thoughts that don't involve photos of your kids.  What to do with those thoughts?  Blog them for no one I guess.  

I read a lot of stuff on the internet throughout the day.  Most of it is garbage.  Stuff that is just adding to the "Random Information that is not really useful and may only get used once or twice in your lifetime and only in social and non-educational settings" portion of my brain.  Which over the years I think has become the largest part of my brain.  

But not everything is useless or garbage.  If there is one thing I'm a sucker for that isn't garbage it is articles or information about the rising cost of higher education.  It's fascinating to me.  

Anyways, an article just came out about the rising cost.  It's nothing new.  These articles pop up all the time.  Consumers are aware of it.  Society is aware of it.  People ("experts") are warning us about it.  Yet the colleges, who are also likely aware of what is going on, are ignoring doing anything about it presumably because, "Hey, the students keep paying the higher price, so why not charge it."  For whatever reason people treat college like Disneyland.  No matter how absurd the admission price is, people won't even question it and will just open their wallet and hand over their money.  (Speaking of Disneyland, based upon the description of some of these schools, they sound about as entertaining as the Happiest Place on Earth). 

Two fun excerpts that I enjoyed that seemed too long to post on Facebook.  By the way, at first I was reluctant to blog this because I felt that if I didn't post about it on FB no one would read it. But then I remembered that no one reads anything on FB anyways.  Sometimes you click on links, but mostly you just scroll through  the news feed to remind yourself that even though life isn't as great as some people, it's not nearly as pathetic and lame as other people. 

Here is the article:

Here's an interesting stat from the article about how much tuition has gone up at Auburn, which I'm pretty sure is on track with most every other school:

"The Auburn trustees who approved Gogue’s salary also recently voted to increase next year's student tuition by 4.5 percent, on top of an 8 percent increase last year and a 13 percent increase in 2010."

A 25.5% increase over a 3 year span?  That's just unbelievable and unsustainable. Unsustainable meaning that I'm sure they haven't provided their graduates with jobs that pay 25% more than the jobs their graduates from 3 years ago received. 

So generous of them to only increase it by 4.5% this year after increasing it by 21% over the past two years.  Tuition of course should have gone down over the past 5 years when the economy was in the tank and no one could get jobs.  But no chance any school will ever drop their cost of tuition.  

If you read the article it explains where a lot of the money goes - to unnecessary things.  Which is fine.  If there is one thing the housing bubble taught us it is to live large while the money is pouring in because the money will always be there.   

"Looking for a rec center with an acre of cardio and weight machines like the ones used at the Beijing Olympics? Then UMass Amherst could be the school for you. The aquatic enthusiast should head to the University of Cincinnati, whose rec center promises "850,000 gallons of fun," with three indoor pools, a vortex, a bubble couch (whatever that is), and a current channel for those "looking for an upstream workout.”  The University of Iowa’s $72 million rec center also has a vortex, a massive climbing wall, 72 tread mills with TVs, a 25-person hot tub, and a “club level” locker room with a biometric hand scanner for extra security."

Maybe I'm off with all of this.  Maybe a lifetime of debt and having to pass on getting a home or a nice car because you can't afford one with all your student loan debt is worth 4 years of sharing a vortex pool with 20,000 other people. 

Here is the part that goes without saying and what fascinates me about the rising cost of tuition: money (or students) won't always be there because iIt's another bubble only this bubble is so obvious coming on the heels of the last one.  But people seem to be ignoring it and yet like all bubbles, they eventually pop and are a sticky mess. 

“It’s very similar to housing loans in that the federal government is contributing to this by making it easy to borrow,” he said. “It's a bubble, but it's a different kind of bubble in the sense that it can't go on like this. Eventually you hit the wall."

Sounds like fun.

1 comment:

Silvs said...

I think I still like blogs most. I am one of the few weirdos who does actually click on links and read things and I still have an RSS feed, so that's how this found it's way to me for perusal.

Oh, the conversation we could have about the costs of higher education. The biggest culprit, I think, is the availability of money. College became such an emphasis as a way to the better life that suddenly it started getting flooded with money so that everyone could attend, even if it became an albatross hanging around their necks for the rest of their lives. It was the same story for housing, and now it's the same problem for education.

I'm curious about what will disrupt this trend. I think it is starting to shift. You probably read that article from Google about the exec who openly declared that they don't even require college degrees of their employees. Another thing is the amount of open culture courses being offered by many, many prominent schools. That will be a disruptor if it ever becomes mainstream.

Anyway, couple all of that free money with education and what naturally happens to any institution? The expansion of administration. Tons of numbers out there showing the expansion of college administration is exploding vs. professors and actual educational resources for the students. I could go on...but I already have.