Funding the Left — and Indenturing Our Children

The Obama administration has doled out a record amount of college loans this year to help students cope with the affordability crisis in college tuitions. Meanwhile, college tuitions became even more unaffordable. Gee, do you think there could be a connection?

Uncle Sam gave out $28.2 billion in Pell grants to students in the 2009-2010 school year, almost $10 billion more than the previous year. Since taking office, President Obama has increased spending on student aid by nearly 50%, to $145 billion total year, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“But college affordability remains a problem,” says writer Stephanie Banchero. Gee, do ya think? From 2000 to 2010, tuition and fees at four-year institutions increased an average of 5.6% faster than the inflation rate. Apologists for higher ed blame cutbacks in state appropriations, which declined 5% in 2009-2010. “There’s only so much cutting you can do before institutions suffer in fundamental ways,” weeps Terry Hartle, an official with the America Council on Education, a higher-ed lobbying group.

Cutting? Did the man say “cutting?” Higher ed has been one of the great growth industries of the 2000s. In a quick Internet search, I failed to turn up long-term historical data on higher education revenues, but I did uncover some figures covering the school years between 2003/4 and 2006/07 from the National Center for Education Statistics. During those three years, which appear to be representative of later years, total operating expenditures for all U.S. institutions of higher education increased 16.0% (in real, inflation adjusted dollars) over that three-year span.

Where did the money go? Here are the spending categories that came out ahead:

Instructional wages and salaries — 16.8%
Auxiliary enterprises — 17.8%
Institutional support — 19.0%
Academic support — 19.9%
Student services — 20.6%
Operations & Maintenance — 25.4%

Here were the relative losers:

Public service — 13.5%
Research — 11.7%
Scholarships & fellowships — 9.6%

Four of the most administration-intensive categories — institutional support, academic support, student services, operations & maintenance — raked in the most money. (For a definition of the categories, see “Trends in College Spending,” pages 19-20.) In other words, those higher tuition payments and bigger college loans are going largely to expand higher ed bureaucracies. But don’t worry, faculty members appear to be well taken care of. As for making college more affordable through scholarships and fellowships, who do you think colleges exist for? The students? Get real.

When higher ed spokesmen whine about “hardship” and “cuts,” they’re talking about the bitter, cruel, punishing years when expenditures increase only 1% or 2% faster than the general inflation rate. The faculty and administrators in the world of higher ed are one of the most protected classes in the American economy. No wonder the campus crew is overwhelming Democrat and liberal — they are the beneficiaries of one of the most expansive income transfer schemes in the nation. And who is paying for it? We, the taxpayers… We, the parents of college students… And the college grads who enter the working world with massive student loans.

Through the mechanism of runaway college tuitions, Middle America is subsidizing an intellectual elite that trashes our values, mocks our way of life, advocates the politics of wealth redistribution and transforms our children into a 21st century version of indentured servants. Tuition payers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!


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25 responses to “Funding the Left — and Indenturing Our Children”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Love it. It's not the plutacracy that strengthens the plutacracy; it's the elitist, liberal educators. Brilliant!

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    "Through the mechanism of runaway college tuitions, Middle America is subsidizing an intellectual elite that trashes our values, mocks our way of life, advocates the politics of wealth redistribution and transforms our children into a 21st century version of indentured servants. Tuition payers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"

    ALERT!

    Two alternatives:

    Someone is ghost writing for Mr. Bacon, OR

    Mr. Bacon has jumped the shark.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I thought you said that the rich were paying too much of the taxes?

    If so then the rich are subsidizing the rich kids, right?

    Observer

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Again Observer puts his finger on flabby journalism.

    See The Washington Post from Sunday: "The tea party warns of a New Elite. They're Right"

    If someone bothers to read the article by Charles Murray they find that there is a 'new elite.'

    It is the children to those who are in to top 25 percent of the household incomes. Those that pay the most taxes and not 'liberals.'

    Observe the sign: Do not throw rocks at empty pigeon holes.

    MGM

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    This is just silly:

    "Through the mechanism of runaway college tuitions,"

    Average tuition is lower than in 2005 due to increases in scholarship funds to off set the Republican recession.

    "Middle America is subsidizing an intellectual elite…"

    Wrong again.

    "that trashes our values, mocks our way of life,"

    Who's 'values' and Who's 'way of life?'

    "… advocates the politics of wealth redistribution…"

    by widening the wealth gap, right?

    "and transforms our children into a 21st century version of indentured servants."

    Such as???

    "Tuition payers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"

    Now Bacon is channeling Marx?

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    This is just silly:

    "Through the mechanism of runaway college tuitions,"

    Average tuition is lower than in 2005 due to increases in scholarship funds to off set the Republican recession.

    "Middle America is subsidizing an intellectual elite…"

    Wrong again.

    "that trashes our values, mocks our way of life,"

    Who's 'values' and Who's 'way of life?'

    "… advocates the politics of wealth redistribution…"

    by widening the wealth gap, right?

    "and transforms our children into a 21st century version of indentured servants."

    Such as???

    "Tuition payers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"

    Now Bacon is channeling Marx?

  7. Now don't ya'll drop your teeth here but I'm in Bacons corner on this.

    I don't think Pell grants should exist except for possibly high demand fields.

    Channeling Accurate – there is no "right", no "entitlement" to a college education.

    If you want a college education – work your butt off in high school to get the grades sufficient for a scholarship and get yourself a job at night and weekends to save up for college … and then perhaps.. the govt might offer a cost-match loan or similar.

    I think the same way about how we do College now as the corruptive influence of competitive sports.

    the whole thing has turned into a racket….and no one feels the need to "earn" their way into college by achievement and hard work.

    Many college educations now days are worthless in today's world.

    Thousands of tax-payer dollars are frittered away on useless college degrees that add nothing to the GDP of the country.

    Let's get the govt out of higher education and let the Colleges and Universities get rid of some of their tenured deadwood.

    If someone wants to dedicate their life to getting a PHD to study fly specks.. that's fine …go for it.. but we don't need to be subsidizing it.

  8. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Mr. Bacon may indulge in his usual diatribe about the "liberal" boogie-men on college campuses.
    But the reasons for the excessive tuitions are many-faceted and do have to do with a dearth of state funding.
    I bigger joke is how much college presidents are paid.
    Example: when Virginia Commonwealth UNiversity hired Miachel Rao to replace Eugene Trani as president in 2009, they gave Rao a package worth $890,000. That's right, $890,000. This outsize sum is for a man who is apparently solid but not world-beating as a chemistry researcher or an adminitrator. Rao has only played in the second division of colleges — such as Central Michigan and Mission College as president.
    We may have thought that John Casteen ($797,048) got overpaid at U.Va. but Rao makes this look like chump change.
    And while Mr. Bacon is ranting about the liberal boogie man, maybe he should look at the U.Va. alumni magazine since he is listed as being on the board. The back pages of it are filled with ads for Albemarle County country properties worth from $2 million to $15 million plus. It is really rather disgusting not to mention tacky.
    What the hell is going on here? Is the message that since you are in U.Va. you must be rich? That's news to me since I am a U.Va. parent. I thought the mission of colleges was to educate and serve, not prep for the upper classes or the nouveau riche.
    Maybe Mr. Bacon can get off his liberal bashing and enlighten us on what is going on in Charlottesville.

    Peter Galuszka

  9. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    MGM, I have blogged on my Boomergegddon blog about Murray's column in the WashPo about the nation's intellectual elite. If you were paying attention, you would remember that Murray emphasized that the intellectual elite lives in its own world, and has little interaction with the rest of America. The same can be said of academia.

    Surely, you would not contest the reality that the cultural and political tenor of American universities is very much to the left of mainstream America.

    Surely, you would not contest the reality that Higher Ed costs are out of control.

    And surely, you would not contest that the preponderance of those runaway costs are heaped upon the American middle class.

  10. I do wish we could keep this on a fiscal conservatism context and stay away from bomb-throwing partisan phrases like "intellectual elite" which tends to slough off support that would otherwise be there.

    If we make all of these issues about left and right – we lose.

    That's what has happened.

    It's almost as if we don't want to find common ground but rather we want war….no matter what….

  11. I do wish we could keep this on a fiscal conservatism context and stay away from bomb-throwing partisan phrases like "intellectual elite" which tends to slough off support that would otherwise be there.

    If we make all of these issues about left and right – we lose.

    That's what has happened.

    It's almost as if we don't want to find common ground but rather we want war….no matter what….

  12. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    As usual, Peter focuses on a peripheral aspect of my post — the "liberal boogie man" mentioned in the last paragraph and totally misses the main point.

    Some of the university president salaries *are* outrageous. (We actually agree on something.) But ask yourself why. How do universities get away with it? Why is management not held accountable? Because *there is no accountability* in the system! Universities can't be acquired n hostile take overs. Stockholders can't revolt. Even consumers don't revolt — because the federal government keeps on doling out more debt.

    American universities are among the most out-of-control and unaccountable institutions in the country.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    More foolish rock thowing.

    PLEASE pay attention to what Larry G. says.

    "Surely, you would not contest the reality that the cultural and political tenor.."

    POLITICAL TERROR? Get a grip.

    "…of American universities is very much to the left of mainstream America."

    There is no simple 'left' and 'right' and there is not yet a 'mainstream' America, only stupid stick figures and strawmen.

    "Surely, you would not contest the reality that Higher Ed costs are out of control."

    The only solution for that is what Dr. Risse calls Fundamental Transformation. ALL cost and ALL consumption is out of control.

    "And surely, you would not contest that the preponderance of those runaway costs are heaped upon the American middle class."

    There is NO middle class. Read what you and others said in Property Dynamics.

    Stop throwing rocks as empty pigeon holes.

    Every foolish post loses you write-in votes.

    MGM

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, if more conservatives managed to get past grade school…

    Buckley was the last conservative intellect.

  15. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Mr. Bacon,
    Yes there is an accountability system, It is called a "Board of Visitors" and in the public system they are usually political hacks and big campaign contributors.
    Peter Galuszka

    PS; BTW you never answered my question about the UVA alumni mag. You should know. You or on the board. Could this be another example on non-accountability?

  16. Over the course of forty years the choice is paying back a hundred grand plus interest or not earning four hundred grand.

    We could pay unemployment to all students and avoid paying it later.

    Or we could add the cost of unemployment to tuition and call it the cost of the privilege of having a job.

  17. Groveton Avatar

    I showed up the day Elvis died.

    Moved my kit into Emmet dorm.

    Walked down to Mincer's Pipe Shop to buy cigars for me and my roommate.

    Decided to take the long way back.

    I was standing on Madison Lane in construction boots, oil stained jeans and a black Led Zepplin tee shirt smoking a cigar when a foreign car slowed down in the street.

    Four Richmond-esque preppies stared out of the windows of the slow moving car at the long haired guy with the Zepplin shirt and the cigar.

    The preppies were wearing wrinkled khacki pants, glaringly bright colored alligator shirts and some type of rubberized shoes. It was the uniform of the preppy. I would see it over and over again for the next four years.

    I knew right then that there was nothing about this place that should be taken seriously.

    What I didn't know then was that a little 9 year old boy was growing uo in Northern Virginia. He wouldn't take the place seriously either. His name? Ken Cuccinelli.

    Colleges are mis-managed clown shows. The worst of the worst is UVA.

  18. If you beloved in a free market you would do what my father did and let the kids pay for their own school. Then watch the tuition come down.

  19. Now don't anyone drop your underwear or gawd fobrid soil it but I'm opposed to non-earned/no-strings govt aid for college – period.

    students should have to earn every penny.

    Kids who can pass the NAEP test for advanced proficiency would get scholarships on a year for year service for school.

    Others would have to earn their tuition and room & board.

    Parents would NOT be allowed to pay unless they sent their kids to private school but public schools would be open on a pure achievable / earned basis.

    Each kid would know in Grade School that if they passed the NAEP advanced test that they would be guaranteed entrance to any state-supported college of their choice – no matter the school they attended no matter in what section of town it was and if their school did not give them enough then they would have access to self-learning via the internet and paid tutors.

    What we're teaching our kids right now is that there are all kinds of ways to game the system in place of academic excellence.

    We need to turn this around and reward those who achieve FIRST and foremost – a clear and unambiguous path no matter your demographics or parents or economic status.

  20. Achieve what?

    I got good grades but maybe not as good as if I didn't work full time too. High school or college.

    You put too much faith in tests. I think all you learn from a test is what score was earned on the test. Its not something to grade a whole life with. I was never an excellent student, but I had a long standing habit of acing standardized tests. I concluded there was something wrong with one system or the other.

    Besides what's with giving no help except a free ride to state supported schools? Why not just close the state supported schools and be done with it. Let Darwinism run its course.

    Maybe I and the larger economy would have been money ahead if it didn't take fifteen years to get through college and grad school. But maybe not since I did it with no debt and money in the bank. Who knows? In the work force I was then behind on the experience curve.

    I don't think simple answers are often right answers.

  21. not tests… measurement…

    you cannot being to know what you have achieved or not in your studies without some form of measurement.

    It's a simple thing.

    Colleges do this already with SAT and and we also have Merit Scholarship and others.

    My point here is to give students two important things:

    1. – specific goals they can achieve and simple rules

    2. – rewards for achievement and success

    Both of these things are what most everyone needs to succeed in life and where is a better place to teach them?

    In other words – we make a bargain –

    You do well in school – and we'll reward you with the means to use that schooling to make your way in life.

    There are still no guarantees.

    but right now – we have a seriously inequitable system that severely disadvantages kids who are in bad circumstances that they are not to blame and at the same time we have what boils down to – preferential policies for those who have built-in advantages that they did not earn themselves.

    The very remarkable thing about the U.S. Military in this country is that it introduced the ultimate level playing field …

    and I would assert –

    that it showed black people that they could be as good as they wanted to be and that advancement based on merit was a legitimate "test" for advancement.

    I'd like to see that ethic in our public colleges.

    Any child that does well in school should be offered a clean opportunity at college.

    If you don't agree with this – then you really don't agree with the fundamental purpose of public education to start with…

    right?

    why else should taxpayers be paying for public schools for any kid?

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    I disagree.

    I once completed 89 questions on a hundred question exam and left the last eleven blank.

    I scored an 89 on the exam.

    What did it measure?

    Aside from my teachers credulity. She was seriously pissed off.

    And she had the nerve to give me a B.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    Measurements have accuracy and precision. The precision of academic measurements is sorely lacking. Anything more than pass / fail is a joke. And even that is not certain.

    Would you accept a precision blind approach based on your pilots academics?

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    Giving them a better place to live will work far better than testing them in school.

  25. Our ranking in the world in education has steadily fallen from number 1 to 15th a worse.

    We now score lower than most industrialized countries and even some developing countries.

    All of those countries MEASURE the academic performance of their students – and always have – as have we.

    You cannot even get into the military now days without a test and many of our kids fail that test by the way.

    arguing against measuring is dumb.

    anything that you want to be high quality needs to be measured to insure that you are accomplishing the goal of your process.

    Our higher education system is the best in the world – and now 40% of the PHDs awarded go to foreign students.

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