Saturday, 18 June 2011

Your $22k College Tuition Bill

There is this great piece written by Richard Vedder for the Wall Street Journal back about ten days ago.  The topic?  Time to make professors teach.

There's this research out there which ends up suggesting that while universities sit there with a huge swarm of professors....the majority of them barely teach twenty percent of the classes.  So you end up with the rookies or nontenured guys....teaching around 57% of classes (the average that the study came to conclude).

In essence, what your local state university is doing....is hiring up guys....pushing them like young doctors through this period of low pay and enticing them to reach the status of "tenured".  Once you produce a paper or two....write a conclusive study....publish a book, then you start to look good for tenured status.  Once tenured, you start to see fewer classes, and mostly sit around with spare time where you tell the university staff that you are producing all kinds of data and information.

Their one curious guy mentioned in this written piece....was a professor who had done the research to conclude since 1980....over 21,000 articles had been written on Shakespeare.  The significance?  Well.....a bunch of journalists just keep coming up with different ways of telling some story about a dead playwright from over 500 years ago.  What made the professor sit around and analyze this?  Who knows?  Could he have taken on more classes and been just as productive?  Yes.

What the article goes to suggest is that the university crowd probably has thirty percent more folks working for it....than they should have.  As you pay $22k a year for Johnny Junior to attend the University of Florida complex....rest assured that some professor is sitting there....maybe teaching three classes for the entire year....pulls in his $100k a year....and is writing some research piece on how the Braves quit being a loser in the 1980s.....and finally became a winner.  If you cut the thirty percent crowd and got professors back to teaching....then your tuition for Johnny Junior would revert back to $16k and be kinda reasonable.

Who manages the colleges and allows this kind of mismanagement to occur?  Strictly guys with PhD's who will tell you that this is the path to a successful college.  If you asked them to evaluate a change back to professors teaching....they'd likely throw a fit and refuse such a situation (maybe even suggest a strike).

So here you are.  Our college tuition costs spiral upwards.  You kinda understand the bold logic to this.  And there's not much to do but stand, grin, and expect a yearly tuition rate of $40k by 2025.  For those who wondered....that's enough to buy two base model Ford F-150s.....and they would actually produce more than the average university professor.