Cherokee8215 wrote:I look at what my alma mater is charging these days, and I just can't figure out where all of that money goes. The facilities aren't fancy, and the few modern buildings were built with money from the "whale" donors. Few if any professors are earning six-figures. The food is a notch above low-grade dog meat. They nickel and dime the students with fees, and force basically everyone to live on campus to foster some kind of "collaborative learning environment" or whatever (read: money grab, they don't want that money going to the local landlords). Even though it's a lower tier school, they are extremely stingy with scholarships unless you had a 3.8GPA or higher in HS or are a good athlete.
And of course, they pay no property taxes on the campus.
Yet they are now charging $40-$45k a year with room and board. I don't get it. I guess you can charge whatever you want, so long as people are willing to pay it.
Classroom education sure doesn't look like it would cost that much. Big building with big classrooms, 100 chairs, a college professor salary, a few bucks for electricity and light bulbs. Lets pay the professor $100k, and assume (probably generously) that everything else to keep the classroom open (rent for the room, utilities, cleaning, etc.) is another $100k. That means you could charge $2k/year and break even. Now if you had 500 students, it would be far less in faculty salary, but you'd need 5 times the classroom space and support, so not much savings there.
What has been left out? Administration, admissions, deans office, financial aid office, registrar, counseling, advisors, etc. Assume college dorms run break even, or even at a profit, so won't count those administrative costs against the college. Offices for faculty? Faculty staff? Healthcare and other benefits for faculty and staff? Office hours? Teaching assistants? Even if free graduate students, they still need offices and rooms to hold meetings. What about labs? Chemicals and supplies? Some schools recoup this with fees, others wrap it into tuition.
Want better student faculty ratios? Want better professors? Might have to pay 200k! For 10:1, that could mean $20k/student for faculty salary alone. Want small school? Highly paid school president could be making nearly $500k, so if only 5000 students, that's $100 just for the salary of the president. Want nicer environment, don't forget landscaping costs. Want sports? Gyms? Do you see a line item charge? Someone somewhere is paying for that? Libraries?
Sure, there are government funds and endowments at some schools to help, but at many schools, they're not that significant. How the Harvard sized endowments choose to spend their extra funds varies, but my understanding is largely subsidizing need based students. Fundraising helps pay for some building costs and some schools have land, but others have to acquire these on the open market for expansion.
It's a complicated equation, but college costs are real and more money means more services. Whether its worth it is another question, but cutting costs means cutting services somewhere.
http://www.usnews.com/education/article ... dents-earn