Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Rant: CU Tuition!

Keep in mind, this isn't personal. I never paid a dime of tuition (scholarships and stipends FTW!) to CU and neither did Sarah.

Still, this DC article distressed me. For those who don't want to read the whole thing:
CU has consistently raised tuition by ~10% a year for at least a decade (this year, the proposal is a 15.7% increase!) At the same time, they have given massive raises to (and hired more) administrators. Ostensibly high administrator pay is necessary to "keep pace" with "peer institutions" (other state flagship universities).

Here's my take: nobody goes to college because the chancellor is awesome. Most college students couldn't name the chancellor, vice chancellor, or even president of CU (nor the board of regents, who make the actual decisions, of course). When you think of awesome CU employees, you think of people like Carl Wieman, or Tom Cech. People who do awesome research, who do great teaching. Not figureheads. Not paper-pushers or bean counters. Do you need paper pushers and bean counters? Of course! Do you need to pay them $389,000 a year? Heck no!

So my proposal - simply make it part of the CU bylaws that no administrator can make more money than the average full-time, active (ie, doing research and teaching) professor. We have freaking NOBEL LAUREATES who make considerably less than some administrators - that's pathetic. No more than 1 administrator per 10 active faculty members, too! When I want to brag to someone about CU, I talk about Carl Wieman, not Bruce Benson or Phil DiStefano. They're glorified paper-pushers at best, but really more like figurehead leeches who seem to continually multiply.

There - a nice simple salary cap. Might be worth applying it to the athletic department as well while we're at it - I love sports, but we don't need coaches who make millions of dollars a year while top-notch teachers and researchers quit to join the private sector because they get paid peanuts.

Here's the other thing - if you actually paid the people who make CU great, cut administrative spending to the bone, and cut tuition, CU would be on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Parents would fight tooth and nail to get their kids a spot here. "Peer" institutions would have no choice but to follow along - or have their best potential students cherrypicked by CU.

5 comments:

printenv said...

I second everything you just said, well said.

Feldy said...

Amen on the administrators, but I think football actually makes CU money. I heard a thing about Penn State (let's just keep it on topic...) that the football program pays for all of the other sports. Accordingly, it may actually make sense to pay the coach more money since wins => more money. The efficacy of the coach is assumed here and maybe that's not right.

I think most administrators probably need to be interviewed by the Bobs with the key questions being, "so...what would you say you do here?"

Walt said...

Yeah, the athletic department is a weird case. They keep needing loans from the university, but they pay them back eventually.

The thing that sucks is that it actually looks like big-time college sports hurts students grades (http://www.cappex.com/blog/blog/college-admissions/college-sports-affect-student-grades-says-study/), at least according to one study. I'd rather pay money for sports that are played by actual students (ie, DIV3 style) rather than recruit "student" athletes who are basically unpaid pros.

But whatever. Sports is not the problem, massively overpaid administrators are.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Good article on this issue: http://www.thenation.com/article/160410/faulty-towers-crisis-higher-education?page=full

Cleaveland Mountaineering said...

Preach it!

Great teachers are the bottom line that students will be inspired by. Research helps too. Cut the admin salaries, keep tuition the same, but give out more STEM (Science, Tech, Enginerd, Math) scholarships and pay good faculty more.