Next step of my parenting journey... sending kids to college (or not)

MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
316
But if as an employee of a university you still feel attacked by my post, maybe you can help me better aim it. You tell me, who is responsible for hiking the tuition each year? What person or group of people within or associated with the university chain of command gets to decide how much the service costs? That's who my post is aimed at. That perpetual rate hike is the component of this situation for which the university is culpable.
There are many components to rate hikes. Inflation is the most obvious. (names of political figures removed by moderator.) There is (a) local inflation, there is (b) official inflation, and there is (c) real inflation. Where are most most higher ed institution located? Population centers. For more than 100 years now people have been moving from rural to more urban areas. Costs in urban areas have outpaced rural areas. Everything in urban areas is becoming more expensive quicker than average. Labor costs, land costs, taxes. Higher ed is largely non-profit but that doesn't mean they pay no taxes. The employees certainly do. So if a university is located in some urban area with high income taxes, those taxes are ultimately paid through tuition. So that's (a) price pressures from local inflation. Then there is (b) official inflation which everyone knows is underestimated. Tuition will always run at least with (c) real inflation. So yes, of course tuition has outpaced official inflation, since higher ed has to pay real people and buy real products.

Then you have regulatory price pressures that only increase with time. New laws are made all the time. So the cost of legal compliance keeps going up and up. Even laws from all over the world create expenses for US institutions since a number of students are foreigners.

There are price pressures for safety on campuses, especially lately. There are private police departments to pay for.

There are price pressures from a very litigious society. As I have mentioned before, mental health counselors, diversity officers, all kinds of mediation and student conduct officers, the list is endless. None of these positions even existed not that long ago.

Now take everything above and compound it for a few decades. Every single group of people you can think of is responsible for rising costs. Including kids and parents.
 
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MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,597
Not sure why my words were quoted as having been said by @MrSalts .
Who wore,that because it certainly wasn't me. Someone needs to call a Mod - second time this happened to me. I blamed @crutschow for dieting my words but it seems to be a systems issue.

Note from moderator: When dealing with multiple quotes sometimes out quoting system gets things mixed up.
 
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Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,327
There are many components to rate hikes. Inflation is the most obvious. (names of political figures removed by moderator) Inflation is not so simple either. There is (a) local inflation, there is (b) official inflation, and there is (c) real inflation. Where are most most higher ed institution located? Population centers. For more than 100 years now people have been moving from rural to more urban areas. Costs in urban areas have outpaced rural areas. Everything in urban areas is becoming more expensive quicker than average. Labor costs, land costs, taxes. Higher ed is largely non-profit but that doesn't mean they pay no taxes. The employees certainly do. So if a university is located in some urban area with high income taxes, those taxes are ultimately paid through tuition. So that's (a) price pressures from local inflation. Then there is (b) official inflation which everyone knows is underestimated. Tuition will always run at least with (c) real inflation. So yes, of course tuition has outpaced official inflation, since higher ed has to pay real people and buy real products.

Then you have regulatory price pressures that only increase with time. New laws are made all the time. So the cost of legal compliance keeps going up and up. Even laws from all over the world create expenses for US institutions since a number of students are foreigners.

There are price pressures for safety on campuses, especially lately. There are private police departments to pay for.

There are price pressures from a very litigious society. As I have mentioned before, mental health counselors, diversity officers, all kinds of mediation and student conduct officers, the list is endless. None of these positions even existed not that long ago.

Now take everything above and compound it for a few decades. Every single group of people you can think of is responsible for rising costs. Including kids and parents.
Again, I fail to see how any of this is unique to University operations. You mentioned the tightening government regulations on the automotive industry (which I acknowledge and agree with) but check out the price of a new car vs college tuition below.





Has the college education industry suffered a heavier assault than the health care industry at the hands of regulation? I don't think by any stretch of imagination that it possibly could have. Earlier you cited technology as a reason. Have you visited a modern hospital? One of Houston's main industries is Health Care and we have several huge medical industrial complex campuses all around. These places are the size of airports and their networks are probably at least the size of the networks the largest universities have. I can't believe there is any industry against which I can compare the medical industry as if it were any kind of positive example. This is ridiculous. The case for college tuition increase is indefensible, but I applaud your effort.

Don't take it personally, I don't fault the Universities for charging as much as they can get away with. That's how a free market economy works. I blame the public K-12 system for drumming up false demand and the banking industry fueling the fire. The problem, as I have stated repeatedly, is that the kids are being conditioned to "need" college like they need water, and being given the means to sell out their futures to obtain it, before they even understand the implications of the decisions they're making.
 
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MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
316
Don't take it personally, I don't fault the Universities for charging as much as they can get away with.
That's the point I'm trying to make. They are not charging as much as they can get away with. There is no profit to be made. They are overwhelmingly non-profit institutions. All tuition money is spent on student amenities and education in a very transparent and frugal way. They are not the Pentagon, there are no $10,000 hammers.

Yes, some things can certainly be cut and the education quality will remain the same. But they are not cut because there is demand for them, and students are clearly willing to pay. If there were no students willing to pay, then those olympic pools would be closed. Demand drives supply.

I'm still not sure how a university can be compared to a car. Televisions got much cheaper in the last few decades. So did computers. I don't see how price of TVs or computers are benchmark for pricing other things or services.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,484
Here in Georgia, they allowed Lottery, but the profits go toward in state college tuition. Keep a B average at a public state school and your tuition is paid for if you are a GA resident. Still have to pay for books, food, housing, etc. but at least your tuition is covered. Helped us put 3 through college.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,327
They are not charging as much as they can get away with. There is no profit to be made.
Ok I've been debating you with as much intellectual honesty as my intellect allows, on what I thought was a difference of opinion. I got the feeling you weren't reciprocating the intellectual honesty part. Now I see why. This is no mere difference of opinion, it's a conflict of interest, and one that I gather is quite serious from your side of the table. That's the only conclusion I can reach given the words I just quoted. There is no way you believe what you said. I am done with this exchange.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,597
There is no profit to be made.
Of course there is no "profit" to be made but, there are bonuses and raises at issue.
university presidents get raises and bonuses for increasing enrollment and balancing budgets, recruiting better faculty, moving the university up in various rankings, improving the team sports so more alumni donate - and donations overall to increase the university's endowment. Even bonuses for convincing donors or the state to fund more buildings or "chairs".

All of those cost money, are laid by student tuition and few presidents have direct goals of cutting tuition unless the school is in decline and the board of regents determines that enrollment is shrinking because the school is deemed a poor value and it is impossible to raise quality vs easier to lower the tuition.
No, no $10,000 hammers or toilet seats, but plenty of motivation to play the system, balance personal goals and objectives with personal goals and objectives (see what I did there? No mention of students and tuition in a university president's decision-making process). University presidents don't have to explain anything to students. No negotiations with parents.

Now, that was university presidents. Crap rolls down hill so every person below has their creative levers to pull to meet goals and objectives they usually have nothing to do with teaching quality or tuition bills and many of those problem-solving (bonus building) levers cost money. Again, no golden toilet seats but, money is thrown around like crazy at universities.

if you don't think money is thrown around freely at university's, then explain how football and basketball coaches are the highest paid employees in most State budgets.
 

MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
316
if you don't think money is thrown around freely at university's, then explain how football and basketball coaches are the highest paid employees in most State budgets.
Because the money making athletics programs like football and basketball, the ones with stadiums, are largely independent financial entities from the university. And they even subsidize sports programs that don't bring in full stadiums.

few presidents have direct goals of cutting tuition unless the school is in decline and the board of regents determines that enrollment is shrinking because the school is deemed a poor value and it is impossible to raise quality vs easier to lower the tuition.
This is just false. Keeping tuition in check is one the highest administrative priorities. Students are not completely price insensitive. Quite the opposite. Cost of attendance is easily the top 5 concern of any incoming student. Not being interested in improving one of the top metrics that students look at when they pick a school is just not reality.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,597
Because the money making athletics programs like football and basketball, the ones with stadiums, are largely independent financial entities from the university. And they even subsidize sports programs that don't bring in full stadiums.
One of the biggest lies in any college.
In 2019: only 25 of 129 Division 1 schools athletic departments made money. Of the schools that didn't make money, the losses averaged $16M per school. All Division 3 schools lost money.

I used to have a subscription to the NYT that did a story on this but here is another similar story.
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/do-college-sports-make-money/
 

MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
316
One of the biggest lies in any college.
In 2019: only 25 of 129 Division 1 schools athletic departments made money. Of the schools that didn't make money, the losses averaged $16M per school. All Division 3 schools lost money.

I used to have a subscription to the NYT that did a story on this but here is another similar story.
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/do-college-sports-make-money/
I'd suggest taking a critical reading class at a higher ed institution.

In total, then, only 25 of the approximately 1,100 schools across 102 conferences in the NCAA made money on college sports last year. That's because the cost of running an entire athletics program, which can feature as many as 40 sports, almost always exceeds the revenue generated by the marquee attractions of football and basketball.
What they are saying is athletics programs as a whole a net loss on average. But they are not saying a football or basketball program doesn't fund itself and can pay millions to its own coach if it wants to.

In other words, the majority of universities in the nation's top athletic conferences — the schools you see on TV every weekend competing for national championships — lost money through their sports programs to the tune of approximately $16 million each.
Ok, so the average is $16M. Now let's take a look at some real numbers.

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/s...xpenses-revealed-2019-fiscal-year/5449837002/
The Florida State athletic department spent just over $150 million on its teams during the 2019 fiscal year, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY in partnership with Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

The athletic department generated a revenue of just over $152 million. It's the fifth time in the last six years that FSU has generated more total revenue than the department has spent.
Do you see how a few million for a coach fits in those numbers? The profitable sport funds itself in full, paying their own coach, and then funds other sports at the school.

Because the money making athletics programs like football and basketball, the ones with stadiums, are largely independent financial entities from the university. And they even subsidize sports programs that don't bring in full stadiums.
I didn't say football/sports funds the whole athletics program. No contradiction there.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,597
I didn't say football/sports funds the whole athletics program. No contradiction there
The first four sections of your post are Short sighted - I only quoted the fifth. Athletic Directors want people to redirect your attention to the profitable sports and then YOU can argue on electronics website that students don't pay anything for Division 1 sports - when they really do. You were letting the magician distract you with his right hand while he put the rabbit in the hat with his left hand. If you disagree, look at the first four sections of your last post - you were clearly distracted from the whole story - the story of tuition.

It doesn't matter if Football and basketball are profitable. No school has only a profitable football or only a profitable basketball team and no other sports to support. They have ATHLETIC departments. Your analogy is like saying, well, Corporation X has lost money for the past 50-years and likely to lose money for all future years, but I'm going to invest because they own a profitable football team.

Also, those 25 athletic departments, averaged over the last 10-years, were money-losing operations. Averaged over 10-years, no school was a net positive cash flow. Also, most schools (as the link you attached models) does not include the cost of capital investments - stadiums, training centers, weight rooms, coaches offices. It seems stadiums are getting improvements and expansions every few years with hopes of making the program look more profitable (because the stadium improvement is often paid by different university facilities budgets that are not attributed to the Athletic Department.

If a school spends more on an athletic department than revenue supports, those negative values are made up by Tuition dollars. Games are played with State bailouts but, that means all the taxpayers are paying for an athletic program when they could have been saving for their own kid's tuition.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,327
The first four sections of your post are Short sighted - I only quoted the fifth. Athletic Directors want people to redirect your attention to the profitable sports and then YOU can argue on electronics website that students don't pay anything for Division 1 sports - when they really do. You were letting the magician distract you with his right hand while he put the rabbit in the hat with his left hand. If you disagree, look at the first four sections of your last post - you were clearly distracted from the whole story - the story of tuition.
Consider that you might be talking to the magician himself. This thread makes more sense that way.
 

Brian Griffin

Joined May 17, 2013
64
Apologies for being late in that thread, and politics aside, we all know that the value of colleges are being downgraded year after year. In the US, these student loan debts are reaching trillions, and it is not the only country in this world which suffered from that. Plenty of other countries are having the same syndrome - unemployment, underemployment, stagnation of wages and inflation of tuition fees. Seems like student loans would cling on to people like herpes, and it is very hard to go away.

I had worked briefly in academia as a lab tech and I had bailed out my idea of doing a doctorate after I had seen:
- academic staff are poorly trained in their subject fields. Research journals are being churned a lot just to fulfil the criteria, and have the high chances of ended up with results that cannot be replicated, or worse, manipulated.
- schools admitting students who are not up to standards - I mean, with very poor high school results. In the end most of them couldn't understand how transistors work, or have poor programming skills (in the engineering campus).

The whole problem is many parents, including mine, thinking that getting a degree just to reach the "American Dream" when there's actually none, or to show their friends that "My kid study in a famous University" or stick university bumper stickers on their cars. And then expecting them suddenly earning lotsa money so that they can buy something they want or don't want.

They have not examined their kids' capabilities before tossing them into the place. This kind of behaviour is very, very damaging to everyone.

Letting the kids to "sort it out" in the campus could bring more harm than good. Pushing them to the college despite the poor high school results would only cause them to drop out later, or to graduate with poor GPA. An argument about it was to "give people chance to enter the college and improve themselves", and unfortunately, I have witnessed that many, many of us are not fit to go to college. I had known an acquaintance who almost failed many subjects in high school, and still could get admitted to college. Whatever happened was then difficult - he had developed gaming addiction, returning home late and played until 3-4am, and had failed some subjects there. Also - he broke that PC I built (he shared that PC with my brother who is his roommate). I saw a bunch of pirated game DVDs around the desktop that would not work with the system (it was that newly-released Doom3 back then). Did he even know how to operate a computer or to read the system requirements before entering college??

Some of us had untreated psychological baggage that may come from high school issues (depression, anxiety, addiction) and this college route (if not examined properly) can be a sure-fire way to failure.

Many of the youth are still not matured enough for this path - they ended up partying, doing drugs, drinking too much, or gamble too much until they could not handle anymore the intended daily requirements of the college. I had also seen a lecture hall filled with guys banging on table and cheering when a lady walks in with a shorter skirt. Do they know they would get into trouble if they do the same in the working environment? Read Brian Profeta's "A dangerous place for a child is college".

The obsession of college had shaped many of the people to be very disrespectful of service industries and security workers. This narrative "if you don't study hard you gonna become a security guard or a painter" was repeatedly drummed into us when we were younger. In the end people had become more entitled and had very little empathy because they think that things are easy to come by.

The complaint that I had wasn't directed to the colleges - I'd still say colleges have the best role in building doctors, scientists, architects and engineers. However, there are many paths to success and a gainful employment and college is just a small part of it. Technical and skill-based education are more helpful towards people who aren't academically inclined and they are a better and lower cost alternative to college.

Our human greed in how we handle the colleges is too dangerous for our youths nowadays. Compared to purchasing a car or a house, a college degree is a very complex product with very little warranty on it. Unscrupulous people had built degree mills and got away with all that, negatively impacting our lives.
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
2,625
Apologies for being late in that thread, and politics aside, we all know that the value of colleges are being downgraded year after year. In the US, these student loan debts are reaching trillions, and it is not the only country in this world which suffered from that. Plenty of other countries are having the same syndrome - unemployment, underemployment, stagnation of wages and inflation of tuition fees. Seems like student loans would cling on to people like herpes, and it is very hard to go away.

I had worked briefly in academia as a lab tech and I had bailed out my idea of doing a doctorate after I had seen:
- academic staff are poorly trained in their subject fields. Research journals are being churned a lot just to fulfil the criteria, and have the high chances of ended up with results that cannot be replicated, or worse, manipulated.
- schools admitting students who are not up to standards - I mean, with very poor high school results. In the end most of them couldn't understand how transistors work, or have poor programming skills (in the engineering campus).

The whole problem is many parents, including mine, thinking that getting a degree just to reach the "American Dream" when there's actually none, or to show their friends that "My kid study in a famous University" or stick university bumper stickers on their cars. And then expecting them suddenly earning lotsa money so that they can buy something they want or don't want.

They have not examined their kids' capabilities before tossing them into the place. This kind of behaviour is very, very damaging to everyone.

Letting the kids to "sort it out" in the campus could bring more harm than good. Pushing them to the college despite the poor high school results would only cause them to drop out later, or to graduate with poor GPA. An argument about it was to "give people chance to enter the college and improve themselves", and unfortunately, I have witnessed that many, many of us are not fit to go to college. I had known an acquaintance who almost failed many subjects in high school, and still could get admitted to college. Whatever happened was then difficult - he had developed gaming addiction, returning home late and played until 3-4am, and had failed some subjects there. Also - he broke that PC I built (he shared that PC with my brother who is his roommate). I saw a bunch of pirated game DVDs around the desktop that would not work with the system (it was that newly-released Doom3 back then). Did he even know how to operate a computer or to read the system requirements before entering college??

Some of us had untreated psychological baggage that may come from high school issues (depression, anxiety, addiction) and this college route (if not examined properly) can be a sure-fire way to failure.

Many of the youth are still not matured enough for this path - they ended up partying, doing drugs, drinking too much, or gamble too much until they could not handle anymore the intended daily requirements of the college. I had also seen a lecture hall filled with guys banging on table and cheering when a lady walks in with a shorter skirt. Do they know they would get into trouble if they do the same in the working environment? Read Brian Profeta's "A dangerous place for a child is college".

The obsession of college had shaped many of the people to be very disrespectful of service industries and security workers. This narrative "if you don't study hard you gonna become a security guard or a painter" was repeatedly drummed into us when we were younger. In the end people had become more entitled and had very little empathy because they think that things are easy to come by.

The complaint that I had wasn't directed to the colleges - I'd still say colleges have the best role in building doctors, scientists, architects and engineers. However, there are many paths to success and a gainful employment and college is just a small part of it. Technical and skill-based education are more helpful towards people who aren't academically inclined and they are a better and lower cost alternative to college.

Our human greed in how we handle the colleges is too dangerous for our youths nowadays. Compared to purchasing a car or a house, a college degree is a very complex product with very little warranty on it. Unscrupulous people had built degree mills and got away with all that, negatively impacting our lives.
You left out 1 important fact,
the schools and colleges are promoting all of this ON-PURPOSE.
.
.
.
 
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