SALT LAKE CITY — Steadily rising tuition costs at colleges and universities may be caused by an inherent flaw within the higher education system, and students may not even be fully prepared to enter the job market upon graduation.
A recent Forbes article indentifies some of the key reasons why tuition continues to rise and why it is not likely to change. According to the article by James Poulos, "The sharp downturn in governmental education subsidies has played a meaningful role in spiking costs, but it’s an artifact of shifting policies and the shock of the economic crisis. Beyond those exogenous factors, the shared culture of academic administrators makes for an endogenous factor that deserves far more scrutiny than it has received."
The article indicates the increasing diversity and expansion of administration as well as amenities not directly related to education are problems because education and instruction become less efficient and less effective, and the scope becomes too broad.
The article concludes: "The economic failures contained in higher education, and emanating from it, won't change without a major change in the culture of college administrators. Ultimately, that's unlikely—so long as colleges are so strongly incentivized to keep today's kind of administrators in place by Americans' idea of what college is for."
Cornell economics professor Robert Frank provides additional insight into the issue in a New York Times article. He writes, "Higher education has long been a primary source of America’s competitive advantage, so government officials would be wise to proceed cautiously. But an examination of the economic forces that have shaped the higher-education market in recent decades suggests that there may be promising opportunities to curb tuition growth."
Frank describes one such opportunity: "We might consider taking more direct aim at the component of tuition inflation that is attributable to growing salary gaps. Raising taxes on top salaries would be a good idea for American society in general, and not just for higher education. It would not only shrink the effect of salary disparities, but would also generate some much-needed revenue."
In an additional Forbes article by Sheryl Nance-Nash, creditcardassist.com founder Bill Hazelton offers another perspective and possible solutions to this issue that has garnered much attention recently, especially now in an election year. A major problem is that students are graduating with thousands of dollars in debt and not finding jobs so they can pay it off. Hazelton calls higher education a "giant pyramid scheme" and says something must be done soon.
“Strict regulation of recruiting practices should be at the top of the list to stop this abuse," Hazelton suggests as a solution in the Forbes article. "Overzealous recruiters that over-promise students the type of jobs they're hoping for is the first place to start. Overstating student success in finding employment is rampant in all areas of college recruiting. The practice actually should not be allowed at all. Misleading students into thinking they’ll get the job of their dreams and saddling them with a crazy debt load is at the heart of the issue here.”