Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Subsidize Student Loans? Not the Problem

University Administrators are a class unto themselves. If they ran US corporations we would now be paying $5,000 for a gallon of milk. Why? Because they would have raised great amounts to construct massive barns for the cows, and massive cow support systems, but failed to figure in the life cycle costs or removing the cow manure. That is what would drive the costs of milk.

Now to the NY Times and Congress. Students have gotten hooked on ever escalating tuition. Part their fault. If you pay $250,000 for a BA in Roman Art or Byzantine History, then you have set yourself for a tragic economic crisis, unless you are a Trust Fund baby. If you are middle class you have demonstrated your total lack of understanding of our economy. And perhaps you are doomed to fail.

When I started tuition was about $1,200 per year, a small fraction of the average middle class salary, one may say 10%. Thus one could have parents pay, but equally one could work in summers and save and get by paying one's own tuition. Now tuition is $60,000 and it has become a multiple of average middle class salaries and unpayable by any summer job other than selling drugs or arms.

Why? Professors just do not get paid that much more and offices really are no better. Labs got more complex but alas the Administrative overhead has exploded and the buildings have life cycle costs that have exploded. Namely University Presidents have expanded plants with no thought to their life cycle costs. Then as they costs kick in, yes buildings age, and need upgrading, the weakest link is fixed and the others go to disrepair. And as Administrators grow they suck up more buildings, more costs, and drive students and faculty away.

It is a deadly cycle. More Government subsidies will not solve the problem. Revolt against Administrators is the only solution.