Stop universities from exploiting college students

Universities will increasingly be only for rich kids

Tenured professors generally throughout the country teach only two classes per semester, with some 15-20 students in a class. Such a load, I can report as a college professor and administrator for my adult life, is not heavy lifting.  We are told that they spend the balance of their time publishing articles or books or doing research.  Well, maybe not. Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University for 20 years, reports that “only half of all professors publish as much as one article a year.”  World Shakespeare Bibliography documents that from 1980 to mid-2010, there were 39,222 scholarly articles published on Shakespeare.  Should a professor now get some release from class time to research and publish another article on the Bard?

Bok also said that “universities are like riverboat gamblers and exiled royalty:  their desires are never satisfied.”  There are desires for nice amenities on campus and for campus expansion. There is administrative sloth.  Universities have more administrators and staff than faculty members. Tuition and related costs keep going up and up and up.

Why do universities permit this abuse?  It is because they can get away with it.  University A can raise tuition each year because they know universities B through Z will raise it.  There’s safety in numbers.

I have no doubt that it will one day cost $100,000 a year to attend major universities in the country.  That is because there will always be more than enough wealthy parents to pay that amount, believing the cost worth it for the future success of their children.

And that’s the rub:  College is becoming more and more and more only for rich kids.  You would think that political leaders might step in to correct these abuses.  But they won’t because it’s too risky.  If a politician takes on the elite schools for excessive tuition and related costs, organized alumni, supporters, and  associations are large and powerful enough to turn that questioning politician out of office.

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