Comments about ‘College costs skyrocketing since 1970s’

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Published: Sunday, Jan. 8 2012 11:00 p.m. MST

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Holladay, UT

Universities should teach courses on how to rip off students.

Danite Boy

Tuition at th University of Utah is approximately $3000 per semester, not $3000 per year. The article grossly understates the cost of attending the U.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

Part of the problem is that the prestige of a college or university is partly driven by its perceived value -- and the price of tuition becomes a key function of that perception. High prices signal value. Consequently, you have many mid-tier universities increasing tuition partly to compete with the Ivy Leagues in terms of cost perceptions. School debt becomes a badge of honor.

Some schools want their students to "owe" money to them in paying back loans after graduation as it creates a post-graduation relationship where the graduate can then be the target of ongoing donations and development opportunities.

Finally, many universities are now engaged in "branding" wars to compete with the better-known schools. Thus, they have marketing and development people, whose sole purpose is to build the image of the school and procure donations for buildings, facilities, and ad campaigns.

Lost in all this is funding for faculty... sure new incoming faculty get high market-rate pay, but loyal faculty (the backbone of many universities who have built programs, taught lots of students, established research records) see their salaries "squeezed and compressed."

The future of academia as a career is bleak!

Danite Boy

The article opens by stating that a University of Utah student now spends $3000 per year on tuition. Tuition for a full-time student is actually double that. The university's tuition schedule lists tuition of $2924.99 for a student taking 15 semester hours.

Lafayette, IN

Universities are also competing in meeting student's sense of entitlement (some would say students have gotten spoiled). And they are competing in the perpetual race to move up a few spots in the ranking of colleges (which is like professional sports teams competing over the top-tier players).

Kearns, UT

Very good article. When I attended the U in the 80's the excuse for tuition rising faster than inflation was "we didn't raise tuition in the 70's and we need to catch up", that excuse is a little threadbare now. The real causes are explained well in this article.

Taylorsville, UT

Yea, right after NCLB was created and enacted by presidential executive order as a law. Then soon after the NCLB run out of federal funds so more laws and more financial institution were created, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to help reduce education costs to students and to guarantee funding for schools and education costs. And they all did just the opposite to college and state funding of public education.

The promise of money for schools, not ones education, was enough to create a national panic of money grabbing for federal funds. As the programs grew and terms and conditions of getting money from the feds for education, it required a lot of matching fund taxation of the people to get the "free" federal education funds.

Schools grew fat and the more students in their schools the fatter the schools could get from federal spending and the industry of debt of student deferred borrowing created a whole new prosperity for higher education and public schools in the hands of federal lending.

Educations new role as OJT instructors for specialized labor failed becasue the jobs have disappeared, now government spending is the new measure of economic growth.

Tooele, UT

Re: "College costs skyrocketing"

The elephant lurking in the room in any discussion of wildly inflated and unsustainable education costs -- something also left unsaid in this article -- is the fact that Big Education has taken on the task of providing a posh, inviting, non-demanding home for otherwise unemployable marxists and leftist advocates.

People like the current President, his marxist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn, Ward Churchill, Richard Cloward [who, interestingly, taught at ASU], Frances Fox Piven, Cornel West, Van Jones -- and well, the list is endless -- all found highly remunerative posts at Big Ed colleges to support their anti-American activism.

Maintaining these cynical, closet capitalists in the style to which we'd all like to become accustomed is a primary cause of the deranged increase in the number of non-pedagogic positions in major universities. And that's the primary source of the bloat requiring such breathtaking increases in tuition costs.

Sanpete, UT

It is not just Universities.
I was at Snow College last year. Before my mission when I went and came back last year, tuition had already gone up 300 bucks in two years. It went up 700 dollars from when my brothers were there 6 years ago. It's ridiculous.

the boonies, mexico

Just examine the sports depts of our universities and the wages they get (Whitt) as an example, then go right down the list of classroom instructors and the to the supervisorial salaries then you have the lid of from the can of worms! Politics again, don't you all just love it?

Mountain View, CA

Hmm, I am always fascinated by these types of articles.

First, the U is extremely affordable. Stop complaining. Even BYU is a steal.

Second, if you don't think it is worth it, don't go. What is the number? Oh yeah, a college graduate, on average earns a $1 million more than high school graduates during their lifetime. It seems as if $3000/semester is steal.

After moving outside of the state of Utah I am probably biased because I moved for school, but Utahns DO NOT VALUE EDUCATION the way the rest of the country does. Everything from complaining how much their public schools costs to the cost of tuition at its EXTREMELY affordable colleges.

I really appreciate my extraordinarily expensive education. Every dollar of it. My opportunities afforded was greatly opened by those degrees and experienes, not to mention my income which is considerable.

Its a free world. If you don't like it, go somewhere else, or don't go. No one is forcing you. The day that tuition isn't worth it that is when FREE MARKET will compensate.


No worry Procuradorfiscal, about the leftists. They are counteracted by the right-wingers such as the Koch Brothers who've donated nearly $700,000 to USU. The money has been used to hire five new faculty members, and establish a program for undergraduates to enroll and learn about Charles Kochs Science of Liberty management theory. The Koch Brothers have made similar donations to George Mason University, Florida State, Brown, and others.

What about salaries? For example, at UC Berkley, 2 coaches are paid over $1m. At UC Davis it has been reported 19 professors and administrators are paid over $400k. UC San Diego has 45 staff making over $400k and at UCLA seven employees received paychecks exceeding $1,000,000, and 72 professors and administrators received paychecks over $400k.

(Note however, these UC schools are in the top 10 nationally ranked public schools).

Another factor:pensions
The economic crash took a big chunk out of pensions. The State of CA stopped funding pensions when they were overfunded in the 1990s. Most likely tuition will be raised to make up the current and future gap.

Demand and supply won't work. Many more US and foreign students apply than get accepted.

Salt Lake City, UT

"They calculate that Berkeley could save $40 million to $55 million just by simplifying organizational structure. 'This might include eliminating some administrators and having supervisors oversee more subordinates.'"


When the institutions of academia and "higher learning" are such stellar examples of mismanagement and, let's be honest, stupidity, what hope have we that politicians (even less renowned for their intelligence and/or integrity) will do better.

In fact, as noted in several places in the article, it is the combination of the two, with government dabbling in the finances and operations of higher education, that is the most likely culprit in this example of institutional inefficiency and ineptitude.

Taylorsville, UT

This article not only underestimates the cost of attending the U now, but unless there was a tremendous jump in tuition from 1970 to 1972, it listed those numbers incorrect as well. Tuition in 1972 was about $350 a year.


I believe the author incorrectly reported tuition costs at the U of U. I'm certain I paid (out of my own pocket) at least $54 per semester, not per year. (those were the days!)

Additionally, the article failed to identify the Goldwater Institute as a conservative think tank.

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

I'm amazed that no one is willing to face the reason for the incredible tuition increases. Yes, the cost of living is higher, but these increases are so far beyond that, even far beyond the rise in healthcare costs, that it's really said. So, how do the universities get away with these sky-rocketing tuition increases? Because our federal government makes it so easy for them to do it. With loans. Take away the loans, the student enrollment goes down quickly, the universities must take drastic steps to get their houses in order so tuition can be lowered to get the students back. Every time the government intervenes, costs rise. Think post office, education and healthcare. Wait until Obamacare is really in place.

The other, smaller but important issue is that professors are rewarded for publishing, not teaching. It's the academia way and its ridiculous. Get rid of government loans and publishing rewards and tuition will drop by 40-50% very quickly. The free market always works.


At 15, Jarvis Nelson should be in high school and even thinking about college.

Yet Jarvis is in seventh grade, and doesnt know where hell go to high school or even where he will be living when he graduates from junior high, hopefully next year. Jarvis, like thousands of other students in Chicago Public Schools, is homeless.

He is just one of more than 10,660 students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year. Thats 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year. Last school year ended with a record 15,580 students with nowhere to call home, the current surge means this school year is on pace to be another record breaker.

Nationally, 1.6 million U.S. children lived in homeless shelters, motels, with relatives or other families or living on the street in 2010 a 38 percent increase since 2007.
(Chicago Sun Times)

Alpine Blue
Alpine, UT

Foxtrot is correct. It is still an amazing bargain at twice the price for an excellent education.

Although a college degree may not be as monetarily valuable as thirty years ago, it is still essential to get ahead in the world. Many skilled workers do very well financially without a degree. But for those who want to get ahead and enjoy a satisfactory career-a degree is essential.

Tooele, UT

Re: " The day that tuition isn't worth it . . . [the] FREE MARKET will compensate."

Big Education destroyed the free market years ago.

For 200 years, ambitions American students could and did work their way through school. During my grad-student years, a "student loan" was charging tuition on a credit card, then paying it off with student-level work during the semester.

Try either today.

Big Ed lobbied governments -- at all levels -- to put a fat thumb on the scale, skewing costs to the point of unsustainability. It then lobbied bloated federal entities to intervene even more heavily, through unsustainable grant and student loan programs.

Now that foolishness has all come home to roost, and there's but one way out -- cut costs.

Start by leaning the employee pool -- unnecessary administrators, high-priced profs that haven't recently seen the whites of a student's eyes, unnecessary platoons of TAs and post-docs, whole fluff-based departments.

Then, cancel all unfunded research. Cancel building plans.

Most of all, reign in accrediting "guilds."

In other words, re-establish a genuine free market.


The $54/year tuition in 1970, as stated in the article, is a gross understatement. In my freshman year at the U in 1959 the tuition was $85/quarter (3 quarters in a normal school year--pre-semester times)...$255/year. In 1966 it was over $200/quarter...$600+/year. Textbook expenses exceeded tuition costs in the early '60's.

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