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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Brigham City, UT

BYU-Idaho may be the model to follow-----don't put faculty and administration at the center of the universe----let the students shine------grow the school and at the same time, do the impossible---cut costs. All other models will fail; I've heard someone say the current university as we know it today, will not exist in 2020. And that is a good thing.

Cedar City, UT

"Higher education" has become one of the biggest frauds of our time. We have set up a system in which the "degree" has become essential to all things. We push all our kids toward college, even if they don't qualify. Employers are now requiring degrees even for routine tasks. Students are steered into massive debt for many years to make the loan companies (and colleges)rich, and when they wind up dropping out and default, penalties and interest boost the debt sky high. Pretty soon you will need a "sanitary engineering" degree to get a job cleaning toilets. People with degrees are now taking menial jobs while those without are pushed to the unemployment line, where they have given up. Many with degrees pay so much on loans that they would actually pocket more at a non-degree job with no loan expenses. Thank you, Sallie Mae.

West Valley, UT

Why are costs up?

One reason.

Easy access to government money through subsidized loans and Sally Mae.

Higher education has been turned into a bubble just like housing was not too long ago. Colleges and Universities have caught on to how easy it is for students to get loans so they just keep jacking up the price... and since everyone still thinks that you *MUST* have a college degree to get anywhere in the professional world students and parents are willing to pay these outrageous costs in order to get one.

The colleges, text book companies and housing facilities have all gotten in on the game... to the tune of billions in profits every year. Students come out $20,000 to $50,000 in debt after 5 years at an average institution and they think it's just the normal thing. Little do they know they'll be paying on those loans for the rest of their lives. With interest rates at 10-20% financial institutions are raking in the dough.

Thankfully some students and parents are catching on to this. They see the job market and realize that for many people college will never pay off. Last time I checked only a third of graduates were landing jobs in their field of study within two years of graduation... that's pretty dismal. So what do we end up with? College grads waiting tables or manning the register at Wal-Mart. Eventually the tide will turn and enrollment rates will begin to fall. At that point institutions of higher learning will have to lower costs or close the doors.

West Valley, UT

@Foxtrot: I hate to tell you, but the income disparity studies between grads and non-grads were done 20 years ago or more. BEFORE the recession... back when highly educated workers were still in demand.

To my knowledge there haven't been any studies of income disparity done since 2008. If there were I would wager the numbers would be very different.

Port Alice, B.C.

Have friends who had 13 children. In the year or so between finishing high school an going on missions the boys in particular took courses such as heavy equipment operators. On return from their missions they attended university and had summer jobs that paid them up to 35 dollars an hour.

Out of this comes three doctors, one dentist and one MBA/CPA.

The medical care costs are an interesting factor. While at the Y, I broke my leg skiing. I head a snap as the leg went by my ear an can remember hoping that it was my leg (insured) and not my ski that was broken.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

No puzzle here. The government provides loans that artificially inflate the price of tuition. I don't know that my fellow-students or the private school ever evaluated tuition based on average annual salary, demand for degrees, or anything else. They knew Stafford loans paid 18,500 and so they charged 18,500 + X. Any effort to reign in tuition can begin with reducing subsidies by removing the government from the student loan game.

Same with sky rocketing medical costs. If you want costs to come down then get the government out of the business of subsidizing medicine.

In free markets, price is determined by what the market can bear. Unqualified lending to un-screened applicants, independent of their qualifications is exactly what got us into the mess we are in today.

And, I'll point out, that thanks to BO, the government is the only game in town for student loans. That is crazy!!

Mountain View, CA

@DeltaFoxtrot - funny what your name means.

Fine I might be willing to conceed that $1M is a bogey, but, even if it is off by an order of magnitude, whatever. $3K for $100K? Ok. $3K for $500K? ok.

I am not sure why the costs are going up so quickly, there is undoubtedly waste to be cut, but I am always amused at everyone thinking that everyone else is corrupt or stupid, the mirror seems to never be looked at. Its obviously easier to throw stones.

I am also amused at the seemingly irrational connections.
Sallie Mae = bad = "skyrocketing" costs of education (whatever that means)
Professors who are some of the most educated and talented people in the world should work for? How much? So that is the reason.

I don't like Obama : US Government is bad: Corruption is inherent: People are stupid: Why school costs are going up.

Anyways. I always get sucked into these conversations. I don't know why. Convincing people that education is worth it, is probably a fools errand.

Tooele, UT

Re: "No worry Procuradorfiscal, about the leftists. They are counteracted by the right-wingers . . . who've donated nearly $700,000 to USU.

Not even close! That $700K wouldn't hire enough conservative brainpower to counteract 1% of the leftists at USU -- by comparison at least, a pretty convervative institution.

Of 1.2 million American "higher" ed professors and instructors, 72% self-identify to the left of center, 15% to the right. 50% reported registering Democrat, 5% Republican. No figures were reported on registration as Communist-Workers, Democratic-Socialists, Libertarians, or other fringe parties.

Other studies suggest academics substantially under-report left-leaning.

So, suggestions there are no legitimate worries about leftist bias in Big Ed ring a little hollow.

Salem, UT

Just look at who gets hired as Presdients in Higher Ed.- all with steller credentials in management (joking)- in Utah it appears last names help alot and then we pay them substantial six figure salaries and ask for no real measure in terms of an ROI for what we pay them- as long as they tell funny stories and smile for alumni and say the right things we increase their salaries- but then again I think that is exactly what The Regents desire

podunk utah

It is a fact University administrators and professors are left of center and trying to get these folks to understand a profit motive and run a university more like a business will be tough. I just wonder where the chief financial officers of these institution are hiding, seriously if you did not make an attempt to consolidate I.T. and purchasing accross the entire university, you..CFO should be fired for being incompetent. THAT IS BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 101.

Riverton, UT

The article didn't mention the relationship between tuition costs and state appropriations for higher education. The legislature has a hand in this issue also. At UVU, state appropriations amounted to over 60% of the budget as recently as 2000-2001, whereas in 2010-2011 they were about 42%. This decrease tends to push tuition upward.

Nevertheless, UVU remains a bargain at about $4600 per year (resident tuition + fees, 2011-2012).

South Jordan, UT

Yeah, this article isn't worth reading, so I didn't. Yes costs have risen since 1980. While I think Universities, particularly state run ones charge students way too much. I highly doubt that this article has taken into account, inflation, supply and demand, rise in expected future wages, rises in the cost of living and the increase in services universities provide. So the purpose of the article? To get people fired up about a rise in costs that is perfectly logical but to the non business savvy seems unfair and unreasonable. Sorry things are more expensive now. A college education today costs more than in 1980, bottom line.

West Valley, UT

@Foxtrot: You are getting the idea... I still don't think that's quite right though. Figure $3k per semester... two semesters per year... for 5 years (average graduating time now). That's $30,000 just for tuition. Now figure in housing, food and books for those 5 years... probably another $30,000. So you're looking at $60,000 as the up front cost of a college education.

Still not bad if you assume a college grad may make $500,000 more over a lifetime.

But wait... we're not factoring in compound interest on those student loans for the 10-20 years that they will take to pay back. That will easily stretch $60,000 into hundreds of thousands.

What good is an additional $500,000 over the course of a working life (40 years)... vs $100,000 - $200,000 in college loan payments?

Now we are looking at making maybe an extra $400,000 over a 40 year career. That's $10,000 a year.

So really, the statement should be "A college grad will make $10,000/yr more than a non-grad."

I'm not going to deny that $10,000/yr is great, we'd all love an extra $10k/yr. But really in the end... how much of a difference does it make? That looks a whole lot less significant than the mythical $1M.

And those are conservative estimates.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

1. Anytime a third party payer is involved (health insurance, car insurance, etc) costs skyrocket. Government is the third party payer for college. Government imposes a huge regulatory burden on schools and eliminates any incentive to address real issues.
2. Public schools (K-12) sends about $10,000 per student in my state (WA). This is equal to $300,000 for a classroom of 30 kids and they still complain about education being underfunded. I think it is way over funded.
3.Public school teachers teach 5 to 6 hours each day. University professors teach 6 to 10 hours a week in many cases. Professors should be required to work for a living.
4. Textbooks are a racket. Many books are revised every couple of years for no purpose but to render the previous revision obsolete and force the students to purchase new books. Many professors publish their own texts and require their students to purchase them at $100 + per copy. Professors should be required to write a text as a part of their job so the state owns the intellectual property and then text books should be revised only when they can be significantly improved.

Private industry innovates to reduce costs and deliver higher value. It is high time higher education did the same.

Tempe, AZ

1-am-1 Strongly recommend you actually read the article then post a comment. By so doing you'll discover just how inane your comment really is.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's compare the costs of healthcare to college tuition costs over the last 40 or so years. What do they have in common other than both rapidly outpacing inflation? I think the obvious factor is increased involvement by the Federal Government. Why was that left out of the article? This article actually said unlimited use of a copy machine? Seriously?
To the writer's credit they did mention increased college level bureaucracy to deal with the Federal bureaucracy which goes back to my main point.
Onward to the abyss!


"The Rock" said: "Government imposes a huge regulatory burden on schools".
What regulatory burden does the government place on Stanford University and other private institutions (who, by the way, charge a lot more for tuition than public institutions)?

"Podunk" said: It is a fact University administrators and professors are left of center.
Interesting. Since Phd's probably have higher average IQs than non-Phd's, I wonder if there have been any studies correlating IQ and political leaning?


Over 410,000 foreign student visas were issued in 2010. That's enough foreign students to fill 20 medium-sized university campuses. I believe the cost of U.S. tuition would go down significantly if the number of foreign visa was drastically cut.

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