Making college more affordable

Protest at U of M
About 100 people attended a rally at the University of Minnesota in 2010, protesting the effects of recent budget cuts.
MPR Photo/Tim Post

As college costs continue to rise and student loan debt continues to mount, public colleges and universities are beginning to confront the issue of affordability.

In a piece for CNN, Richard Vedder and Matthew Denhart wrote:

Whereas private businesses cut prices for consumers and costs to themselves through efficiencies that increase profits and incomes, universities lack those incentives.

Indeed, the typical successful university president views his or her key constituencies not to be the customer (students and their parents who pay tuition charges or the granters of research funds), but rather others -- the faculty, important alumni, key administrators, trustees and occasionally politicians. They please these constituencies by raising, and then spending, lots of money.

They effectively bribe powerful faculty with low teaching loads, high salaries and good parking. They give the alumni successful intercollegiate athletic programs that are expensive and usually financed off the backs of students. They give trustees whatever they want, no matter how costly or eccentric.

Vedder, director of The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, joins The Daily Circuit Wednesday to discuss the steps universities are taking to make tuition more affordable. Kyle Stokes, education reporter for StateImpact, will also join the discussion.

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