The Reality of Why Higher Education is So Expensive

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college debt

By Michael Becker

You hear it all the time.  There’s a crisis in higher education.  It’s too expensive.  Kids are graduating so deep in debt with college loans that they can’t qualify for a mortgage.  Heck, they can’t find a job so they can move out of mom & dad’s basement.  One thing you never hear is any discussion about cost control.

Here are some basic facts about higher education.

Growth of administration.

Using 1997 as a starting point, there are 27% more faculty today.  State funding is about 18% higher.  The cost to students is up more than double, about 210%.  Obviously, cost of faculty isn’t driving tuition, what is?

Administration.  Administrators are up two and one-half times, 254%.

There are other factors as well.  In a cost control measure, the faculty structure has changed dramatically over 20 years.  Universities are moving away from full time faculty and hiring more and more adjuncts.  The benefit for the administration is that they pay adjuncts by the class, and because they are part-time contractors, they get no benefits.

There are some full time professors, however.  For instance, there’s Robert Reich.

Robert Reich, who served as U.S. secretary of labor for four years under Bill Clinton, is currently a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

So far so good.  Reich is not on welfare.  The problem?

The ultra-progressive economist — inasmuch as a mere law school graduate can be an economist — raked in an impressive income of $242,613 from the taxpayer-funded school in 2013, according to

For that sweet salary of $20,217 per month, Reich is slated to teach exactly one course this fall.

We’re pretty sure he’s got the University of California health plan too.

Since Reich is a hard core Democrat, you’d think we could find some evidence of hypocrisy along the way.  You’d be right.

In a Facebook post dated June 29, Reich heralded “gay pride parades and same-sex marriage victories” but warned that “public morality” — “what happens in boardrooms among corporate executives” — remains a grave problem.

“The moral crisis of our age has nothing to do with gay marriage or abortion,” Reich recently wrote. “[I]t’s insider trading, obscene CEO pay, wage theft from ordinary workers, Wall Street’s continued gambling addiction, corporate payoffs to friendly politicians, and the billionaire takeover of our democracy.”

Frankly Mr. Reich, we’re significantly more concerned about the crony governmentism that sees people who have served in high office move seamlessly to public universities and get deals not available to your average PhD schmuck.  Or even your exceptional PhD schmuck for that matter.

We’re fond of Glenn Reynolds’ (the Instapundit) proposal for “public servants” who move to the private or university sector. His premise is that they’re moving to jobs solely because of their government employment at high levels and there is an unspoken quid pro quo involved.  He’d like to see them taxed at 75% for all the salary over their last government paycheck.

We’re not fond of taxes, but we’re fond of this one.

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