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True Cost of Education at a Research University

Bob Samuels - who is at UCLA - has an interesting piece on the above topic. It is something that I have been harping on for some time. See for example: "Dirty Little Secret Finally Acknowledged Research Funding From Outside Federal Grants
Requires Additional Subsidy."

From the Samuels piece:

As I have argued elsewhere, the problem is not that the universities have taken on many different functions; the issue is that these institutions engage in false and misleading accounting practices that result in escalating costs and decreased educational quality.

For example, most schools argue that they lose money on each student because the true cost of education is much higher than the price of admission; however, when universities make this claim, they are secretly arguing that everything a university does should be paid for by each undergraduate student.

By concentrating on the true instructional cost, I have argued that universities could easily freeze tuition and increase enrollments and still turn a nice profit,
but in order to do this, schools have to be honest about how they spend their money.

Since schools do not want to acknowledge that undergraduate students subsidize external research, they end up secretly stealing money from instruction to pay for research and administration. For instance, the University of California currently receives $10,000 from each undergrad and $14,000 from the state for each student, but only $5,000 of this amount goes to instructional costs. This means that the majority of undergraduate funds goes to pay for research, administration, and other activities that are not directly related to undergraduate education. In other words, undergraduate students and the state are unknowingly subsidizing the research mission.

Say it isn't so, Mr. President and Mr. Pfutzenreuter.

Please show us the true cost of undergraduate education at the U. I know it may be difficult, but please make an honest attempt and put the numbers out for all to see in a way that can be understood, discussed, and argued about.

This is what is called transparency or being open. Recall your own words, Mr. President?


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