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View Diary: Reasons why college is so expensive. (50 comments)

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  •  and public schools (2+ / 0-)

    The layers of educational bureaucracy follows the bloated upper level economic model of the Wall Street firms that just collapsed.  Look at the CSUs and UC out in CA.  Huge salaries, housing allowances, car allowances supposedly because you can't recruit the best without these retention programs for upper level bureaucrats.

    •  Top admin is overpaid (2+ / 0-)

      ... I completely agree with that. But it would be good to know how much that directly contributes to the overall cost of a university education.

      •  It is hard to figure how this has much affect. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DBunn, Killer of Sacred Cows

        I teach at at insitution that it well known for being lean in terms of administration and staff, yet tuition has risen dratically over the last two decades.  Our tuirion is lower than most other similar schools, but not dramatically so.

        So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

        by illinifan17 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 02:27:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to admit (0+ / 0-)

          ... my objection to excessive admin compensation is linked to the broader issue of wealth/income disparity in the nation at large.

          Here in CA, there have been some scandals with the UC top admin people, that have kind of fanned the flames for me, I guess. The nominal salaries are several hundred thousand dollars, then you got the perks, then there's the sweet severance payouts for folks who should not have been hired in the first place. Add in the aroma of nepotism and cronyism, and it's just not very pleasant.

          When I compare the tender concern for the dignity and net worth of top administrators, to the rather ruthless way those very administrators treat people on the lower rungs of the faculty and staff ladders, I get sorta angry.


          But I suppose it's not only the universities per se that are at fault here. They are a micocosm of the broader social landscape. My anger at overpaid university administrators really belongs to the entire elite class, and the cliff edge they have spent the last 30 years leading us towards and now over.

          Each separate university board exists in an environment that they do not control. They have to bid against other schools and the private sector for (perceived) top talent. Their pay scales for executive talent have to stay within an order of magnitude or so of the private sector. Their presidents and deans have to be on at least somewhat of a peer footing when they deal with the corporate execs and major donors, upon whom they increasingly depend for funding. And of course, university boards will tend to be populated by civic-minded elite types, who naturally want to see people (the ones they actually meet and rub elbows with) treated well.

          If we want to untangle this rat's nest, we have to ask a few questions: Why is executive comp in the private sector so high? Why do universities have to turn to corporatations and wealthy donors for funding? If general wealth/income disparity continues to increase, what else can happen other than for college to become increasingly unaffordable to the average kid, while the salaries of top administrators to continue to rise?

          What I'd like to see is some boldness from a few univerity boards. These guys are supposed to be in the leadership elite, so lead already. Just say this: we have a President job for a smart, savvy, accomplished, charismatic, and otherwise fully qualified man or woman who is willing to work for half of what others get for the same job, because s/he agrees with us that, for the good of the university and the nation, this elitist bubble has to be popped. And we're looking for someone excellent who wants to be the point of the pin that pops it.

          Start there, and work outwards. Someone has to start somewhere, right? If nothing else, the university that does this will get a rousing cheer from their faculty, staff, and students.

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