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December 21, 2012 2:38 PM College Costs Too Much (Except for Mine)

By Daniel Luzer

The representatives of America’s institutions of higher learning have spoken: college is too expensive. Well, unless you mean their individual schools, which are totally affordable and a good deal.

According to an article by Sara Hebel in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A survey on higher-education governance released on Thursday by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges… asked more than 2,500 board members at both public and private colleges about their perceptions of college prices, costs, and outcomes.
Fifty-five percent of board members surveyed said higher education in general is too expensive relative to its value. But 62 percent said that their institution costs what it should. Almost all boards report that they have the power and responsibility to set tuition and fees.

This represents a very real problem as far as potential reform of higher education goes. Sure everyone knows college is too expensive, but not too many people are willing to take responsibility for the actual price of college.

In addition, almost half, 45 percent, of respondents believed that their institutions prepared people for jobs. Only 19 percent, however, said that was true of colleges in general.

This “my pretty tress will be unaffected by this forest fire” problem is, it should be noted, by no means exclusive to higher education governance.

A 2012 Gallup poll indicated that 53 percent of Americans were “dissatisfied” with the quality of American education, but 75 percent of parents indicated that their own children were receiving a good education in local schools.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer