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Income Inequality–among Universities

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Moody’s has just released a report indicating that just ten universities control over 30% of the total institutional wealth in higher education.

The first number in brackets is the previous year’s total; so it is very clear that, here as elsewhere, the rich are now getting much richer one year to the next.

The second number in brackets is the endowment per student, which demonstrates that most of the elite private universities have much higher endowments in proportion to their fixed expenses than the elite public universities.

1. Harvard University — $42.8 Billion [35.8 Billion] [$1,709]

2. University of Texas System — $36.7 Billion [$25.4 Billion] [$118]

3. Stanford University — $31.6 Billion [$21.4 Billion] [$1,351]

4. University of California — $28.6 Billion [NA] [NA]

5. Yale University — $25.4 Billion [$23.9 Billion] [$1,955]

6. Princeton University — $21.3 Billion [$20.9 Billion] [$2,621]

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — $15.2 Billion [$12.4 Billion]…

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OCAAUP Testimony on Legislation Stripping Ohio Faculty of Collective-Bargaining Rights

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Testimony of John McNay, Ph.D., President

Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors

Before the House Finance Committee

Representative Ryan Smith, Chair

April 16, 2015

Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Driehaus, and distinguished members of the Finance Committee: my name is John McNay and I am President of the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the largest faculty organization in Ohio, which represents nearly 6,000 college and university professors at both public and private institutions of higher education across the State of Ohio. I am also a professor of American history at the University of Cincinnati where I teach courses on the Cold War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. I am chair of the history department at the UC-Blue Ash campus.

I come to you today to voice my association’s strong opposition to provisions that were added to Substitute House Bill 64 this…

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Sound-Bite Pronouncements on the Present and Future State of Higher Education

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Sandra Napolitano, the President of the University of California system recently wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in which she argued that, despite the challenges created by unprecedented cuts in state support for public higher education, it is a gross exaggeration to assert that American higher education is in crisis.

Scott H. Levine, the Executive Director of Higher Education Research Consultants, responded in a letter to the editor that Napolitano failed to account for four factors undermining American higher education:

(1) The average student is a working adult, needing completely different services than traditional residential higher ed offers;

(2) Online learning has proved to be hugely successful for some adult learners (not all), and it must factor heavily into the evolving university;

(3) Universities are difficult to manage, due in large part to tenured faculty who simply don’t want to change;

(4) Private, not-for-profit higher education institutions educate…

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Two Very Different Issues: Paying College Athletes and Paying for Intercollegiate Athletics

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Now that the dust is settling on “March Madness,” all that is left to do is to count the money—the revenues generated by and those spent on “dreams of glory.”

In a recent post, I included the following chart: it show what college basketball players would earn, on average and team by team, if they received a share of the total revenues comparable to what is defined in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement:

If College BB Players Were Paid

If players were getting paid in college at this level, perhaps more of the very talented players might hang around for more than a year before jumping to the NBA.

That flippant observation aside, the immediate counter argument will be, of course, that the revenue-generating sports support other sports at an institution, and that there is no parallel to that arrangement at the NBA level. And that argument can be supported by data such as that represented…

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National Issues Seen through the Lens of Institutional Data

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

In discussing and charting the dramatic shift from state support to tuition as the major revenue source for public colleges and universities, we typically focus on national or state-by-state data.

But we can also chart that data for individual institutions. For example, here is such a chart for Pennsylvania State University:

Tuition vs State Support at Penn State

The advantage of considering this issue more narrowly is that it brings it even closer to home for individual listeners and readers. The institutional data makes it easier for them to visualize the money coming directly out of parents’ or students’ checking accounts.

Moreover, framing the institutional data within the broader state or national data causes people to see this more pointedly as both a personal issue and a broader societal issue, the sort of perception that is generally a prerequisite to galvanizing large numbers of people into action.

Somewhat more cynically, the institutional data allows us to make…

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A Real Numbers-Cruncher Weighs in on the Campos Article

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Rudy Fichtenbaum has sent me the following statistical analysis in response to the assertions made by Campos in the article in the New York Times and as a follow-up to my own post on that article.

I don’t think that anything that Rudy points out in this analysis substantially contradicts anything that I have asserted in my own post, but where there are any inconsistencies, I will gladly defer to his data and to his analysis.


Here is some more data to further refute the claims in the Campos article in the New York Times.

The following Excel spreadsheet, along with the graphs representing the data in the spreadsheet, show state support for higher education per student, which is the way to compare state support with tuition.

State Support for Higher Ed and Tuition

Allocation of Emplotees Graph 1

Allocation of Emplotees Graph 2

State Support and Tuition

Just talking about the absolute inflation adjusted state support is very misleading because it doesn’t take into account the increase in the number of students…

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Getting It Right and Getting It Wrong on the “Real Costs” of Higher Education

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

In the Sunday Review section of the New York Times, Paul F. Campos has offered his opinion on “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much.” [The whole piece is available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/the-real-reason-college-tuition-costs-so-much.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0]

Campos argues that attributing the rise in tuition costs to reductions in state funding is a fairy tale that administrators have been telling to cover up the tremendous increases in administrative positions, administrative compensation, and administrative support staff that have been the major drivers of increased costs.

He has gotten it half-wrong and half-right–if one is feeling very generous toward him..

Campos asserts: “In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8…

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The Student-Debt Crisis Is Real—the Result of Short-Term Ideological Choices and an Impediment to Solving Long-Term National Issues

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The Progressive news site Nation of Change has today run an article titled “Four Charts with What Everyone Should Know about the Student Debt Crisis.” The full article is available at: http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/04/four-charts-with-what-everyone-should-know-about-the-student-debt-crisis/

I think that the most telling of the charts may be this one, which shows the incredible increase in government-backed student debt:

Student Debt Chart 1

The chart does not even include private loans, which have also increased dramatically over the past two decades.

The Far Right cannot have it both ways. Either their economic policies or their ideological aversion to domestic government spending is to blame for this dramatic shift in the cost of higher education to our students.

If the economy is to blame, then their economic policies caused the Great Recession, and the Far Right’s strident opposition to more effective regulation of the big banks and Wall Street is completely bogus.

If the economy is not to blame, then…

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Coming Next: Adjunct Faculty Not Just Treated as Contingent Employees but Formally Classified as “Temps”

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

A colleague sent me a link to the following post at Fighting against Casualisation in Education, a UK site promoting activism among contingent faculty. The actual post appears to be taken largely from the site of the University of Warwick.

I am assuming that most of you, like me, will have little or no familiarity with this university. As the following lead paragraphs from the Wikipedia article indicate, it is clearly not a “fringe” institution; in fact, it appears to be anything but that sort of incubator for dubious ideas:

“The University of Warwick (informally known as Warwick University or Warwick is a public research university in Coventry, England. It was founded in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand access to higher education. Warwick Business School was established in 1967 and Warwick Medical School was opened in 2000. Warwick merged with Coventry College of Education in 1979 and Horticulture Research…

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