Consider this: a student in the University of Utah would spend $390 a year on tuition in 1970. Today, that same student would need to shell out $6,000 for a single year of college. On the other hand, college tuition and fee have averaged an increase of about 400% from 1982 to 2007.1
This is a mind-boggling occurrence. Inflation aside, how come college prices have so drastically skyrocketed when there are so many schools competing for students?
Here are a couple of proposed reasons why going to college is getting more and more expensive than it should be:
There is no incentive to be efficient. Why should colleges and universities seek to lower expenses when there is no outside pressure to do so? Individual departments don’t have to answer to anyone for most of their expenses because they don’t aim to make a profit. There is very little pressure there for the educational sector to be fiscally responsible.
Increasing number of administrators. The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. This is the problem that many universities face as more administrators are hired than actually needed. By contrast, the number of teachers actually teaching and training people has increased at a significantly lower pace. Here are a few statistics for you: the period between 1993 and 2007 saw the number of full-time administrators grow by 39% while employees engaged in teaching grew by a mere 18%.
Mandatory health insurance. Universities justify their high fees further by mandating health insurance so that students can focus on studying in the event they get sick. This means that students pay on average $1,000 a year for this insurance, which is sometimes unnecessary as some students either have their own health insurance or are still covered by their parents’ plans.
Here’s to hoping our government will take note of these issues and step in to make schools more efficient and less bureaucratic while preventing them from mandating health insurance.