Thursday, March 06, 2008

When you're the third party... 

Big question: why is college so expensive? There�s the capital costs of maintaining a huge infrastructure, much of which is picturesque but aged � ivy is all that holds some of these buildings up - but the simple act of putting one person in a classroom to talk to 30 other people doesn�t seem like it should be as expensive as bypass surgery. Back in my time, you could get through the U without hanging a few hundred thousand in debt around your neck � but even then, the cost of sitting in a clammy auditorium with 300 people watching introductory Biology on TV monitors was the same as the cost of an English Lit class with 17 students drowsing in a suffocating classroom built in the time of Coolidge.
Lileks asks the question. The budget of the U and of MnSCU is getting bigger, and with the roads and bridges paid for without 'mortgaging our future' we have bonding bills with larger chunks for the U and MnSCU, paid by ... a mortgage on our future. (Along with hockey arenas. Our future wants to pay for hockey arenas.)

Why do we pay so much for college? Richard Vedder has blogged about this for years, and the argument in a nutshell is,
are rising costs inherent in the nature of the higher education delivery system based on third party payments, non-profit providers, a lack of a bottom line to measure performance, and other consideration of that nature?