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

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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