College Productivity Fails To Keep Up With Cost Hikes

NCPA Research Explores Tuition & Aid Increases


DALLAS -  Both college tuition and federal aid dollars show rapid hikes in recent years but unfortunately research also shows education productivity has dipped at the same time, according to a new analysis from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  

From the 1979-1980 school year to the 2009-2010 school year, average tuition and fees at private four-year universities rose more than 175 percent - from $9,501 to $26,273 (in 2009 dollars). Over the same period, in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions rose more than 220 percent - from $2,174 to $7,020.   The report, "Why is College So Expensive?" finds that much of this increased spending is being allocated on noninstructional activities, such as administration and faculty research.

NCPA Editor and co-author Courtney O'Sullivan also finds that increased financial aid and tuition costs are not resulting in improved productivity, measured by the number of degrees awarded and the time it takes to graduate.  The analysis also concludes that rising government subsidies have increased the quantity of education demanded without improving quality.

Ms. O'Sullivan can answer questions about the report findings.

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