81. The Universities in Trouble
April 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
Amazing to me how peole fail to disaggregate numbers. In this case, apportioning university costs across undergradtaues fails to recognize that the faculty are paid by research grants and very little of what a university does is directly related to undergraduate costs. At 50k per year four undergrads could hire a nobel laureeate to really teach them, say four hours a day!
Since most American colleges have an endowment less than 1 percent the size of Harvard’s, most do not have Harvard’s problem. But they have other problems. The sources of income on which they depend—tuition revenue (at private colleges) and state appropriations (at public colleges), as well as annual alumni contributions (at both)—are under pressure too. Everyone knows about the competitive frenzy to get into a few highly ranked colleges, but in fact most of the 1,500 private colleges in the United States do not attract significantly more applicants than they can enroll. On the contrary, they struggle to meet enrollment targets, especially now that families in economic distress are turning to public institutions, which tend to be cheaper.