Put 50 randomly selected U.S. professors in a room. Within 10 minutes they will be complaining about the growing number of administrators in their universities. Professors aren’t right about everything, yet they have a point in this case.
An examination of federal data on the explosion in college costs reveals how far colleges have gotten away from their original mission of providing “higher” education.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2010-11, nonprofit colleges and universities spent $449 billion. Less than 29 percent of that — $129 billion — went for instruction, and part of that amount went for expenses other than professors’ salaries. Yes, the $449 billion includes money spent on auxiliary enterprises (food and housing operations, for example), hospitals and “independent operations” (whatever they are). Suppose we subtract the $85 billion that pays for all of that from the total. That leaves $364 billion. The $129 billion for instruction of students is still only 35 percent of that.