School Expense Does Not Equal Student Expense

Minding the Campus has a thorough discussion of the costs of higher education–and how much is the student and how much is research.

The official accounting by the UC administration concludes that student fees now cover 30% to 40% of the average cost of education (this is the source of the numbers quoted by the Howard Jarvis group, above). But the official calculation includes the full cost of faculty research throughout the academic year. It is, therefore, a badly distorted figure.

To correct this, one must disaggregate the accounting reports according to the two basic functions of the university. This idea raises the hackles of administrators and faculty alike, not just at UC, but at research universities across the country. The common practice is to hide all of the cost of faculty research not covered by sponsored research grants under the misleading heading of expenditures for “Instruction.”

The article is interesting and offers some points of comparison.

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