Chart of the Day: Tuition Inflation

Recent news articles report that college tuitions are soaring this year… again. Does anyone really believe that the price hikes for higher education at public universities can be fully accounted for by cutbacks in state funding? Let’s take a look at the long-term picture comparing the cumulative change in tuition and fees (for all colleges and universities, not just public ones) to other elements of the Consumer Price Index.

Source: Moody’s Analytics

— James A. Bacon

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8 responses to “Chart of the Day: Tuition Inflation”

  1. Groveton Avatar

    So, I understand why the libs won’t point their fingers at higher education the way they point at, say, pharmaceutical companies. Lib dogma requires that no criticism be leveled at the liberal sanctuaries of higher education. You aren’t even allowed to wonder if a particular hockey stick graph may have been contrived without hearing howls of angry defenses of “academic freedom”.

    But where are the conservatives on this? I would think the cons could find few more appealing targets than the oceans of liberalism known as colleges and universities. Yet few cons are to be heard on this matter. Isn’t an affordable education as critical to societal well being as affordable health care? Aren’t the colleges and universities creating as much of a debtor nation as the credit card companies?

    Beyond Jim Bacon’s lonely cries in the night I read few pointed critiques of the Liberalville we call higher education.

  2. I notice that Rick Perry has caused a real kerfuffle in Texas by challenging the institutes of higher learning to come up with a plain-jane 10K degree.

    Word is that this idea did not go over well with the folks who run those institutions.

    I’m 100% in favor of it. In fact, I think it should be mandated in Va to require UVA, VaTech, etc to offer a 10K degree program – no if’s, and’s or but’s.

    This is the type of thing that would give Conservatives …REAL Credibility and totally freak out those liberals who run those places….

    One or both of Tim Kaine’s opponents should make that one of their campaign pledges….

    Bob McDonnell should sign a Gov legislative order to make it happen.

    but Groveton.. my man… WHY in the world don’t the Conservatives have their OWN universities which offer ONLY MBAs and such and not of those artsy fartsy useless degrees?

    all kidding aside.. higher ED is out of control… and it really does symbolize the frustration that many have in realizing just how immune from change places like UVA and Va Tech are…

    They are like publicly-funded fiefdoms… and we the serf financiers…

  3. Groveton Avatar

    George Mason, VCU and Christopher Newport should become employment focused universities. Want to study English Lit? Go to William & Mary. Want to get a law degree? Head to UVA. Want to study information management, accounting, data science? Go to GMU, VCU or CNU.

    Also, no intercollegiate sports at those schools. Normally, I’d support sports that paid for themselves but that opens the door to the whole absurd Title IX debate. Under that abortion of common sense, a school cannot have a profitable men’s football team unless it also supports sports which can’t support themselves – like women’s golf. Now, don’t get me wrong – if there’s some woman’s sport which more than paid for itself, I’d be all for it. However, that should be the only litmus test – does the sport pay for itself. If so, play ball. If not, the participants have to ante up the extra funds necessary. If that’s too much of a challenge for our political class … then no sports. Better none than adding to the cost of a degree to support endless, politically correct teams.

  4. sports corrupts colleges and distorts their missions the way it is currently done with Athletic Directors and Coaches making more money (and wielding more power) than those on the educational side of these institutions.

    I don’t blame Title IX. I think that is evading the real problem.

    Just take a casual look at the TV on weekends these days in the fall and winter especially.

    Millions upon millions of dollars are paid – not to the schools – but to the sports departments of the schools.

    and that money is used to recruit players into what has become de-facto farm systems for the professional sports teams.

    Sports are a big part of what is wrong with our universities in my view.

    You’d think with those millions of dollars that that money could be used to help pay for the educational side of these institutions.

    Instead.. they get the millions of dollars from the media/entertainment companies and then go to the state legislators for millions more and than charge students grossly inflated (and inflating) tuition rates.

    Colleges and Universities in this country are a symbol of how messed up this country is.

    When more people can tell you the current standings of the NCAA sports programs than be able to identify their elected leaders or know how Medicare is funded….. and how much of the budget it actually consumes…. it … it’s an indication of what the priorities are – of the public – and the leaders of the Universities know full well that that how they operate are actually supported by much of the public who emblazons the logos on their clothes, their cars and even lawn chairs and coolers….

    We have College Sports and overpriced college tuition because the public support it – and besides … anyone and their dog can get a govt subsidized loan to go to these overpriced, bloated institutions of higher learning.

    The Sports are emblematic of who we are as a society.

    the “prayers”.. the playing of the National Anthem.. the air force fly-overs and parachute teams… the sky boxes… the scandals… etc, etc..

  5. I have to agree with you on this one, Larry.

  6. Groveton Avatar

    You guys are a challenge.

    A very few college sports more than pay for themselves. Men’s football and basketball for example.

    A sport that generates more money than it consumes does not raise the cost of tuition.

    My proposal would be to let colleges have sports teams that paid for themselves or turned a profit. That might only be men’s football and basketball. Beyond that, the participants in the sport would have to foot the bill for any expenses incurred beyond what was taken in. I believe a lot of club sports (like rugby) already operate that way.

    Title IX becomes an issue because the only sports which would pay for themselves are (by my guess) men’s football and basketball. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on the sex of the student. Since my proposal would only have colleges supporting sports that pay for themselves and because those sports are men’s sports, I believe Title IX would prohibit my plan.

    As for sports being evil … spare me the nerdy hogwash. Nobody forces you to participate in sports or watch sports. There are plenty of people I know who think my interest in this blog is pretty damn bizarre. They wonder about grown men and women who obsess about human settlement patterns and the cost of college tuition. I tell them what I’ll tell you – if you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you don’t like college sports, change the channel and watch Rachel Maddow or Glenn Beck or some other hyper-useful program. If people don’t like this blog they can always use their computer to send Tweets about what they had for lunch.

    Personally, I gave up on the University of Virginia football and basketball years ago. Not because sports are evil but because UVA sucks. I do however always watch the NCAA lacrosse tournament. And, of course, the NFL is a near religious experience.

  7. Sports should not be “for profit” entities that are components of higher education.

    They are defacto farm teams that has goals and objectives that do not align with higher education and, in fact, run counter to the purpose of higher education.

    you say UVA sucks. I say that many of our Universities have had their missions corrupted and damaged by essentially being run as dual operations – education and sports.

    there are major universities and colleges in this country that concentrate solely on Education and Sports are intramural and do not involve multi-million dollars contracts with the media and millions of dollars used to recruit players who have little or not interest in getting a degree in anything and just are there because they can play sports for money and train for the the big leagues.

    I do not think they are evil. I think they do not belong in the institutions of higher learning in the form they are in which are essentially for-profit operations whose mission has little to do with “higher education”.

    I do change the channel but that does not fix the problem.

    Colleges and Universities are corrupted by the influence of big money for sports. They are, for instance, forced to accept as students, people who have zero interest in a non-sports education.

    Institutions of higher learning are forced to treat sports students differently… giving them total byes on grades… because the team cannot afford to lose them.

    Tell me the last time a major College Player has been kicked out over grades.

    It’s disgusting and obscene and it contributes to an overall attitude that if Colleges and Universities have to live with the corrupting influence of sports that it’s then okay for them to live with other corrupting influences – like accepting money from for-profit businesses to influence research.

    Worst of all – these institutions believe that they can charge outrageous tuition because they really do not have to compete with each other over price and quality – because of “branding” from Sports.

    As I said.. there are hundred of Colleges and Universities in this country that do not have anything beyond intramural Sports programs as a PART of their mission but not a corrupting influence.

  8. Groveton – you can’t have it both ways guy. You can’t decry the way the institutions are now run these days and at the same time defend the influence of big money sports corrupting influence.

    We have a number of things wrong with our institutions of higher learning but the worst by far is the role that money and sports now occupy.

    Rich Perry has challenged Texas institutions of higher learning to offer a 4-year 10K degree for those who want a basic College education and guess what the answer from those big-money sports institutions has been?

    “Get lost”.

    Bonus Question: Why doesn’t Bob McDonnell ask the Virginia General Assembly to require UVA and VaTech, etc et all to provide a basic 4-year degree for 10K?

    Bonus Answer: Because all the big sports alumni supporters in the GA would have nothing to do with that proposal.

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