30 November 2011

Arne Duncan: Barking up the Wrong Tree

No one should be surprised by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's call for reducing higher education costs. It's a trendy issue at the moment, not least because of the attention brought to student loan burdens by Occupy Wall Street. But telling that to higher ed administrators, especially financial aid officers, isn't the right audience. At my institution, at least, the cost to students has been rising not because the cost of providing education is rising but because the cost burden has shifted dramatically from taxpayers to students.

Utah Valley University's commitment to transparency allows a close look at what's really going on at one, presumably representative, state university. We publish an annual Factbook that includes budget data for the past 20 years. That data doesn't paint a pretty picture.

UVU's inflation-adjusted costs per FTE have stayed flat since 1990.
State appropriations haven't, so neither has tuition.