Growth in colleges' endowments is not bringing lower tuitions

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  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2012 6:46 a.m.

    With something like 40ish percent of schools losing money on their football programs, its amazing that the football programs are not cut.

    And tuition continues to increase despite the budget busting non-sustainable sports programs. I agree with Grassley. Schools need to be held accountable for building "fancy facilities instead of using them to lower tuition"

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    Re: "Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa . . . questioned whether increased access to student loans allows schools to spend their endowments on fancy facilities . . . ."

    Of course it does.

    "Educators" in the "higher ed" industry have zero incentive to lower costs to students. Rich rubes are routinely inveigled to make restricted donations to a particular department, specific endowed chair, specific facility [often to be named for the donor or a relative], or specific research area, by assurances that government has undertaken to fund student costs, so they shouldn't feel a need to assist in that area.

    Benefit to students of these donations is nearly nil, but the benefit to already-overpaid "educators" and administrators is patent.

    The result of 35 years of aggressive fundraising for my own [state-owned, graduate-level] alma mater is a five-fold increase in posh physical plant, nearly seven-fold increase in staff and faculty [including adjuncts], six-fold increase in the number of "deans," and inflation-adjusted tuition about 6 times what I paid.

    Obviously, no regard whatever for student costs.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 5:21 a.m.

    continued ...

    As a higher education administrator, I find that for some students, lack of financial resources does stand in the way of earning a degree and becoming more educated. I also find, however, that motivation and lack of preparation during their time in K-12 plays an even larger role with many of our students. In the state of Utah, one could earn a four year degree with only some $4,000 per year of tuition (books and fees would take it closer to $5,500). With a combination of part-time work and living at home, many if not most fresh high school graduates could make this happen relatively debt free if they were willing to make other consumption sacrifices. Many, however, feel a sense of entitlement that not only makes foregoing other consumption in favor of education a distasteful choice but that also makes spending long hours studying so as to truly become educated a poor option.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 5:20 a.m.

    Much of the time, university administrators seek endowment funds in order to differentiate themselves from other universities. These funds, in addition to providing scholarships, are used to send students abroad, purchase research and teaching equipment that would not normally be available, hire better faculty, support student clubs, etc... On the one hand, using endowments in this way allows students to have a better experience than they would normally have if the endowment were not in place. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see what higher education might look like if a more spartan approach were taken and endowments were used to basically increase access.

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 5:15 a.m.

    One of the things I've come to appreciate about BYU is how much financial aid they provide to their students. Many, many BYU students receive full- or part-tuition merit-based scholarships, which are rare at most public universities. Also, BYU is committed to hiring students whenever possible, which provides those students not only with a convenient source of income, but in many cases, opportunities to apply and expand the knowledge they're gaining in their studies. Tuition at BYU has risen over the years, but they are more committed than most schools to keeping higher education affordable.