A Major Reason for the Ridiculously Increasing Costs of a College Education

There have been previous healthy memory blog posts about the inexcusable increases in the costs of a college education.  Instead technology should be seriously reducing these costs.  With respect to public institutions, significant decreases in support from states provides a partial reason, but no justification.  University presidents once were supplied with a house on the campus and a reasonable stipend.  But today at the prestigious universities presidents expect mega millions. Even at non-prestigious universities, not just six figures, but well up into six figures seems to be the norm.

A book by James R. Flynn, the James Flynn who identified IQ inflation and a continuing need to recalibrate the IQ quotient, has written a book, “How to Improve Your Mind:  Twenty Keys to Unlock the Modern World,” that offers some profound insights into this problem. He has identified a flow of power from the academics, who do the actual teaching and research, toward he administrative center.  Flynn laments that gone are the days when Deans were elected by academics from their number who, if they wanted a second term, had to stand for re-election.  So the salaries of both presidents and deans are grossly inflated.  The fundamental problem is that the administration controls basically all the power, which, of course, includes funding.

C. Northcotte Parkinson, the author of the famous Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands as to fill time available for its completion” made a highly insightful study of bureaucracies.   Bureaucracies grow and feed upon themselves without providing benefit to the organizations they are supposed to be supporting.  Indeed, they can be decreasing the effectiveness of the organizations they are supporting.  At the last place I worked, I estimated that the efficiency of the organization would be increased if the correct percentage of the staff were eliminated.

The same is true of colleges and universities.  Administrations have been growing at the expense of working academics and students.  Moreover, as it is the administrations who have the power and control the pursestrings, if budget cuts are required, they are made at the expense of the academics and the students.  They will reduce research support fire faculty and make higher reliances on graduate students and adjunct faculty.

The problem with providing student financial aid is that colleges and universities simply adjust tuition and their various special fees, and likely expand the bureaucracy.  The only agency here that can effect the situation is the government.  The government can tie increased funding to cuts specifically in the administration.  If this is done, then it is likely that not only costs will go down, but the administrations will become more effective as they will have reduced themselves from unnecessary burdensome bureaucracy.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There have been previous healthy memory blog posts about the inexcusable increases in the costs of a college education.  Instead technology should be seriously reducing these costs.  With respect to public institutions, significant decreases in support from states provides a partial reason, but no justification.  University presidents once were supplied with a house on the campus and a reasonable stipend.  But today at the prestigious universities presidents expect mega millions. Even at non-prestigious universities, not just six figures, but well up into six figures seems to be the norm.

A book by James R. Flynn, the James Flynn who identified IQ inflation and a continuing need to recalibrate the IQ quotient, has written a book, “How to Improve Your Mind:  Twenty Keys to Unlock the Modern World,” that offers some profound insights into this problem. He has identified a flow of power from the academics, who do the actual teaching and research, toward he administrative center.  Flynn laments that gone are the days when Deans were elected by academics from their number who, if they wanted a second term, had to stand for re-election.  So the salaries of both presidents and deans are grossly inflated.  The fundamental problem is that the administration controls basically all the power, which, of course, includes funding.

C. Northcotte Parkinson, the author of the famous Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands as to fill time available for its completion” made a highly insightful study of bureaucracies.   Bureaucracies grow and feed upon themselves without providing benefit to the organizations they are supposed to be supporting.  Indeed, they can be decreasing the effectiveness of the organizations they are supporting.  At the last place I worked, I estimated that the efficiency of the organization would be increased if the correct percentage of the staff were eliminated.

The same is true of colleges and universities.  Administrations have been growing at the expense of working academics and students.  Moreover, as it is the administrations who have the power and control the pursestrings, if budget cuts are required, they are made at the expense of the academics and the students.  They will reduce research support fire faculty and make higher reliances on graduate students and adjunct faculty.

The problem with providing student financial aid is that colleges and universities simply adjust tuition and their various special fees, and likely expand the bureaucracy.  The only agency here that can effect the situation is the government.  The government can tie increased funding to cuts specifically in the administration.  If this is done, then it is likely that not only costs will go down, but the administrations will become more effective as they will have reduced themselves from unnecessary burdensome bureaucracy.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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