Almost on cue.

12 09 2010

Historiann (for the uninitiated, she’s talking about Colorado State University – Fort Collins):

[I]f the only universities you’d consider sending your children to cost $30,000-$55,000 a year, your world is very different from the world the vast majority of Americans inhabit. But these are the people who are driving this “debate” in the op-ed pages of the New York Times and your local newspaper.

Take look at Baa Ram U.’s fee schedule for the 2010-11 school year, where tuition and fees are still less than $7,000 a year. At an average courseload of 10 3-credit classes per year, that’s less than $700 a class. How strange that the low cost of higher education in universities like mine doesn’t drive the debate! How odd that the fact that faculty haven’t had a raise since 2008 (although our parking permits and health insurance haven’t taken the same deflationary holiday, natch), and haven’t been able to hire since 2007-08, isn’t a part of the conversation! Tuition here is extremely low–artificially and shockingly low even compared to our “peer institutions” like Michigan State or Arizona State. But even there, you can get the same number of undergraduate credits for $11,204 and $8,132, respectively.

$7,000 a year seems to me to be an extremely reasonable price for an education that, if undertaken with at least a modest level of seriousness of purpose, will probably be a ticket to the middle class.

Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifuss in the LA Times (close enough):

Added tuition revenue has also gone to raise faculty salaries. Yale’s full-time faculty members now average $129,400, up 64% in inflation-adjusted dollars from what they made in 1980. (Pay in other sectors of the U.S. economy rose only about 5% in this period.) Stanford’s tenured and tenure-track professors are doing even better, averaging $153,900, an 83% increase over 1980.

It’s as if Dreifus and Hacker felt they had to throw in an attack on faculty salaries just so people will take them seriously. There are very good sentences in their op-ed, but process it all together and it comes out as totally incoherent.

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One response

13 09 2010
Historiann

What can they possibly think the effect of columns like this will be?

I get it that they want to gin up the outrage and sell books. But I can think of a lot more things to be outraged about aside from the *very* occasional 6-figure professor’s salary.

I don’t know if anyone in my department will ever get there, at this rate of no-raises, and most of us will be working for at least another 20 years.

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