Rising College Costs due to Administrative Bloat
From Investors Business Daily:
An IBD analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 1989-2009 the number of administrative personnel at four- and two-year institutions grew 84%, from about 543,000 to over 1 million.
By contrast, the number of faculty increased 75%, from 824,000 to 1.4 million, while student enrollment grew 51%, from 13.5 million to 20.4 million.
The disparity was worse at public universities and colleges, where personnel in administration rose 71%, faculty 58% and student enrollment 40%. Private schools also saw administration and faculty growing faster than student enrollment, although faculties slightly outpaced administration increases.
Nifty graph here! More:
Administrative personnel are employees who are not engaged in instruction and research. The jobs range from university president and provost to accountants, social workers, computer analysts and music directors.
One reason administration at public institutions has grown faster may be that bureaucracies tend to expand their staff and programs over time, regardless of need.
“The increase has a lot to do with all the money these institutions pull in from third parties, like state funds and student financial aid,” said Daniel Bennett, a research fellow at the conservative Center for College Affordability & Productivity. “They’re using it to grow their staff rather than on students.”
The Cranky Professor adds his first-hand two cents:
What’s gone up is staff….And by “staff” I don’t mean “departmental secretaries.”…What we mean are student services. And the people who defend this growth, almost all of whom are self-interested members of the student services staff, explain that we HAVE to grow here because students now expect these services.
I suppose they’re right. Advertise a full service nanny-system and you will get parents and students interested in a 4 to 6 year extension of the nursery.
Perhaps it is the only way to run a college nowadays. I am skeptical. I’m not skeptical about the quality of our support staff – I’m sure they’re as excellent and hard-working as the faculty and secretarial staff. But the trend lines are undeniable — that’s where the growth in full-time, benefit eligible appointments is. Faculty have grown too, but as we know from all too many articles, that growth is not in the tenurable category.