Any parent of a teenager headed off to college knows just how expensive higher education can be. Tuition costs in the United States have increased by as much as 400 percent in the last 20 years. Today, Americans carry almost $1 trillion in debt from students loads. That's mind boggling.
Why so much? Why does college tuition cost so much?
I heard an interview on the radio the other day about why college tuition has risen so much over the last few decades.
In the story it was noted that college and universities' tuition rates cover not only a school's operating expenses, but also administrative and teaching costs, scholarships, sports teams and sometimes large construction and expansion programs.
And it's the new construction and expansion costs that could be fueling the tuition hikes. As schools expand and build to compete for students and tuition dollars, (as well as their prestige and status) costs go up. Think about all the impressive school resources that were pointed out to you and your child on your last college tour. To be honest, I can't remember visiting a college in the last three years where there wasn't at least one -- and often a lot more -- new buildings going up.
It makes you wonder: do they really need all these new buildings?
But it's not just the buildings and renovations that have caused tuition rates to skyrocket. College administrator positions -- such as deans, provosts and assistant deans, have grown, adding to school expenses and spending.
Ironically, one area that hasn't seen an increase in spending is in the area of teaching. More and more schools are turning to adjunct faculty, student teachers or non-tenured faculty to teach today's university and college students.