Posts Tagged ‘Parkinson’

The Absurdity of College Costs

September 15, 2015

How did this happen?  Today graduates need to begin their lives saddled with a ridiculous amount of debt.  Parents need to dig into their retirement accounts, either delaying or forgoing retirement, to provide an education for their children.

When I did my undergraduate work at Ohio State University (OSU) college was affordable, and at that time Ohio did not have a state income tax.  Now it does, but students are finding private colleges more affordable than OSU! This is an outrage!  State universities have an obligation to provide an affordable education to its residents.  When a private college can provide a more affordable education, something is seriously wrong.

Colleges and Universities need to be questioned why costs are increasing.  Technology provides the means to reduce costs significantly.  Are the making use of this technology?  Are they using it effectively?  Also remember that colleges and universities avail themselves of cheap labor, namely adjunct faculty and graduate students, who work for ridiculously low wages.

I believe that one of the problems is that colleges and universities have burdened themselves with unnecessarily heavy overheads that contribute virtually nothing directly to education. The problem is that they are bureaucracies, and bureaucracies  grow.  It’s in their nature.  Northcotte Parkinson, famous for his law that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, is also famous for his study of how  bureaucracies   grow unnecessarily.  I’ve worked in such bureaucracies and have watched this meaningless growth.  Given modern IT, bureaucracies should decrease, but instead they increase.  It’s inherent to bureaucracies to grow themselves.

Moreover, the issue should go beyond affordability.  Higher education should be free.  The results of the GI Bill provide ample evidence for this.  Most of the post war prosperity can be attributed to the higher educational achievements who were able to use the GI bill.  Any debts incurred in providing free higher education will be wiped out by increases in productivity.   Read or reread the healthy memory blog post “Why Information Grows.”  The answer to why countries succeed, it is due to knowledge and know how.

Read or reread the healthy memory blog post “2015 Labor Day Post.”  The future should be characterized by continuing education throughout one’s lifetime.

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