Controlling the Cost of Higher Education
I have two kids and I’m frightened of what college costs today. Most of the money is not going to professors—it’s going to administrators. If it doesn’t directly impact the student experience, universities should take a long look at it and rein in their costs. It’s likely that schools are not up to the task of bringing down their own budgets, and government will have to help them scale back and become more cost-efficient.
Problems to be Solved
- College tuition is too expensive, forcing students who want to attend to either give up or take out student loans in an amount that will saddle them with debt throughout their lives
- Colleges have skewed incentives based on ranking system to invest in the wrong things
- There are limited incentives for schools to be more cost-efficient and student-directed
- Taxpayers are subsidizing the students at rich universities when those schools should be investing their own money in their students or domestic expansion
- Great new schools rarely crop up despite the demand for them
As President, I will…
- Explore a gradual phase-in of a desired ratio of administrators to students of 1 to 30 as a condition of public funding as opposed to the current 1 to 21. The ratio was 1 to 50 in the 1970s – if we can get back to that level then college will be much cheaper.
- Work with the Dept. of Education to create an information database on all post-secondary education institutions, focusing on information such as:
- Avg. debt of a graduating student
- Avg. debt discounting students who don’t take out loans
- Avg. salary of a recent graduate
- Avg. salary of a graduate 10 years out
- Stipulate that any university that receives public funding cannot increase its costs by more than the rate of annual median wage growth the year before.
- Stipulate that the president of any university that receives public funding must meet once per year with a group of alumni to discuss their job prospects.
- Amend or modify the U.S. News and World Report rankings and eliminate the ability of any university to compensate administrators with incentives tied to their rankings.
- Require all universities with endowments of over $30 billion to contribute 1% of their total endowment each year ($300 million+/year) to the founding and operations of a new university in Ohio until it becomes self-sustaining, and which point another community will be identified (the “Harvard Creates a New University in Ohio Tax”).
- Revisit the tax-exempt status for schools that have more than enough money to fund their operations and aren’t investing that money back into the students at that institution.
- Invest in schools that are innovating and growing.