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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the dollars-and-sense dept.

Education 538

An anonymous reader writes When you think of people who teach at a college, you probably imagine moderately affluent professors with nice houses and cars. All that tuition has to go into competitive salaries, right? Unfortunately, it seems being a college instructor is becoming less and less lucrative, even to the point of poverty. From the article: "Most university-level instructors are ... contingent employees, working on a contract basis year to year or semester to semester. Some of these contingent employees are full-time lecturers, and many are adjunct instructors: part-time employees, paid per class, often without health insurance or retirement benefits. This is a relatively new phenomenon: in 1969, 78 percent of professors held tenure-track positions. By 2009 this percentage had shrunk to 33.5." This is detrimental to learning as well. Some adjunct faculty, desperate to keep jobs, rely on easy courses and popularity with students to stay employed. Many others feel obligated to help students beyond the limited office hours they're paid for, essentially working for free in order to get the students the help they need. At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?

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Administrators (5, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 5 months ago | (#47290029)

In all aspects of education, from primary school to university, the growing swarms of administrators soak up the budget. In some school systems, they vastly outnumber the actual teachers, have better pay, and yet contribute nothing to the operation of the schools.

Re:Administrators (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#47290057)

In the "dot com" bubble, many geeks got rich. I've worked with a couple guys over the years who made a million or two in that one. Quite a few math Phds got nice 6-figure jobs for a few years during the finance bubble - nice while it lasted.

The tuition bubble is far more evil. Students are walking away with ~100k in debt, and no better employment prospects* than they had before. Faculty are getting poorer. It's not like the janitorial staff are getting rich here. It's a bubble based on deceiving children that benefits no workers, only the top of the pile: the most evil bubble in my lifetime.

*Yeah, sure, a college education can have other benefits besides future salary prospects but that's not how it's sold to high-schoolers and parents! The sales pitch is outright fraud.

Re:Administrators (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290097)

The tuition bubble is far more evil. Students are walking away with ~100k in debt, and no better employment prospects* than they had before.

To begin with, colleges shouldn't be about finding jobs, but about increasing your understanding of the universe and making you a well-rounded human being. If that leads to a job, great, but that shouldn't be the point. All these people who go to college for the piece of paper are turning colleges into half-assed trade schools. And that's where they should go: Trade schools.

"Everybody's gotta go to college" is a disease that's killing education.

Re:Administrators (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290141)

>> *Yeah, sure, a college education can have other benefits besides future salary prospects but that's not how it's sold to high-schoolers and parents!
>
> To begin with, colleges shouldn't be about finding jobs, but about increasing your understanding of the universe and making you a well-rounded human being.

Looks like you failed at remedial reading.

Man I hate fuckwits like you who think that they can misquote by omission and then go on to restate what you omitted as if you had some great insight.

Re:Administrators (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290225)

Man, I hate fuckwits like you who think that because I replied to someone, that automatically means I'm trying to debunk something they said. I merely described a problem that one of his sentences made me think of.

Re: Administrators (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290143)

Tell that to the businesses with secretary jobs requiring a four-year degree.

Re:Administrators (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#47290155)

Ivory Tower Mentality right here:

If that leads to a job, great, but that shouldn't be the point.

6-figure debt makes it the point. A debt that you cannot refinance makes it the point. A debt you can't escape through bankruptcy makes it the point.

A trillion dollar debt problem in the US makes it the point.

HR departments requiring a BA for the most menial of office tasks makes it the point.

Requiring a fucking MA to work in a library as a salaried employee and not a volunteer (the US is the only country I know of that does this) makes it the point.

But sure, it's /all/ the student's fault for expecting something in return for all that money. /sneer

I have nothing but contempt for you.

--
BMO

Re:Administrators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290241)

But sure, it's /all/ the student's fault for expecting something in return for all that money. /sneer

It's the student's fault, the government's fault, and society's fault. The student for missing the point of education. The government for allowing so many people to get into this debt to begin with, and for not imposing more restrictions upon loans and grants. And many people in society for not doing more to deal with this horrendous situation.

Don't straw man me. But I do believe it is unacceptable to be a tool for the corporate elite and help ruin education even further with this "Everybody's gotta go to college!" nonsense. It's a problem that must be solved from multiple fronts, including changing people's ideas about education.

Re:Administrators (1)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#47290265)

>Don't straw man me

You said, and I quote accurately:

All these people who go to college for the piece of paper are turning colleges into half-assed trade schools

If those aren't students, then who the fuck are they?

--
BMO

Re:Administrators (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290453)

If those aren't students, then who the fuck are they?

Students who share the blame.

Re:Administrators (3, Interesting)

thunderclap (972782) | about 5 months ago | (#47290367)

Students don't miss the point of education. They are never told. Most still believe its 4 years of party time with classes inserted. Its the small percentage that go to the trade schools who want a career or go to a college for a big money career who get screwed. Those who go to party are lost already. We are already second century Rome here, only we are our own visagoths.

Re:Administrators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290393)

I'm not sure which parts were sarcastic, but I have to say: I hate the student mentality regarding education, but I understand it. If you're paying so much money, obviously you feel you *deserve* something in return. State-funded education works so much better because you can hold students to higher standards - they won't get angry if they fail and have to do another semester. As it stands, most American universities offer bullshit degrees. As long as you make students (and parents) customers, you have to do everything you can to make them graduate in four years. Which makes out for very shitty education.

It doesn't help that k-12 education is underfunded dramatically in my state, so students that come to us don't know what plagiarism is and have never written a research paper.

Re:Administrators (3, Insightful)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 5 months ago | (#47290409)

Ivory Tower Mentality right here:

If that leads to a job, great, but that shouldn't be the point.

6-figure debt makes it the point. A debt that you cannot refinance makes it the point. A debt you can't escape through bankruptcy makes it the point.

Yeah, it's all fine and dandy to talk about education as discovering the wonders of the universe, but few would go into debt 100k for the feel good experience, particularly when it's available to you for free. If you want to discover the universe, a universe of information is available to you on the web. Read it and feel all warm and fuzzy.

But if you want a family and any financial security, that kind of money needs to *produce* an equal or greater amount of benefit that you couldn't get otherwise.

Re:Administrators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290447)

6-figure debt makes it the point. A debt that you cannot refinance makes it the point. A debt you can't escape through bankruptcy makes it the point.
A trillion dollar debt problem in the US makes it the point.

None of that tirade makes job placement the point of a university. A big chunk of universities should be shut down and reopened as vocational or professional trade schools, and employers should adjust their expectations.

Employers require the degrees to get in the door, have tried to offload employee training to universities, and then complain that the universities aren't preparing students to work in their jobs. A university was never and should never be the place to do those things.

6 figure debt for a university education neither qualifies nor entitles you to a job. You shouldn't be going into that kind of debt for a program of study that isn't entirely practical skills if the only reason you're taking on that debt is on the hope of a higher paying job. A $40,000 degree and a $140,000 degree provide the same job training: virtually none.

But sure, it's /all/ the student's fault for expecting something in return for all that money. /sneer

What they got for that money was an education. If they expected job training and placement as the primary outcome, then they were egregiously mistaken. Universities have grown badly overpriced as a result of serving such a large segment of the population and the administrative and bureaucratic headaches that come along with it.

University study has long been a luxury of the wealthy or the intellectually-driven. People who work for a living don't need it, and while it was briefly a worthy experiment in trying to make it so that you didn't have to be rich to attend, the outcome is that people associated achievement with the university study itself because of the historical achievement of graduates. But shifting the balance to working and middle class graduates killed that achievement, and somewhere along the line, people started looking at it as a meal ticket.

A university education is not an actual requirement for the vast majority of jobs. The fact that corporate HR culture has driven millions of people there just as a filter for applicants is a problem with the labor market. It is not a university's obligation or place to repurpose its entire mission because all these people are there for the wrong reasons. Had universities banded together and turned away students based on the perceived purpose of their attendance, you'd be ranting about how they were guarding a class system instead. Anyone can attend university now, but most people still shouldn't.

Take up your job requirement problems with HR.

Re:Administrators (1, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47290163)

Lets not delude ourselves. People go to college for the drugs, sex, and booze. The piece of paper at the end is incidental.

Re:Administrators (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290397)

Maybe people like you, there are individuals out there (like this guy) who actually are savagely hungry for knowledge & a chance to apply that knowledge in a career field knowing they are taking a large risk in a competitive environment completely driven by the desire to succeed, & disregarding any excuse to remain "normal" & "laim" like the majority of society. INTELLECT IS PRICELESS.

Re:Administrators (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#47290407)

I had neither of those. Then again I chose a degree in a subject matter that actually gets people employed.

Re:Administrators (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 5 months ago | (#47290307)

Learning for learning's sake is great, but frankly that can be done in your spare time without getting in debt for tens of thousands of dollars.

Re:Administrators (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#47290357)

Learning for learning's sake is great, but frankly that can be done in your spare time without getting in debt for tens of thousands of dollars.

Not all university libraries are open to the general public, and there are still a number of fields where you cannot get an up-to-date view of the basics online: you need books, and they are expensive books that typically only libraries can afford. Advances are moving at such a pace -- and academic publishers have raised their prices to such a level -- that it is unreasonable to expect the man on the street to "educate himself" like might have been possible in the 1950s.

blame HR and the schools the tech schools drop (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47290383)

blame HR and the schools the tech schools need to drop the part of giving out an piece of paper and tech real job skills and HR need to stop looking for that piece of paper.

Re:Administrators (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 5 months ago | (#47290395)

You really should get your head out of the clouds. The point of any schooling is to prepare one to live. It doesn't matter if it's college, vocational school, or any other training. Sure, we want to increase our understanding of the Universe and be well rounded human beings, but that is the secondary goal of college. The primary goal is to make a living. You know. Food. Housing. Clothing. Those little things. Such idealism. You sound like you live in the Ivory Tower yourself.

Re:Administrators (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290111)

Well, the *most* evil "bubble", at least if you're living in the USA, is probably the one created by the Doctor's Guild. They've cooked up a tidy artificial shortage so that we have 2/3 as many doctors as we need, sending salaries (and costs) through the roof. Add that to the general inefficiency of private insurance (which has several times the administrative overhead of single-payer systems AND can't bargain with drug companies worth shit, doubling drug prices) and you've got something that dwarfs the educational crisis.

Not that that's much consolation or anything.

Re:Administrators (4, Interesting)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 5 months ago | (#47290459)

Medicine, and particularly the Doctor's part in it, is fundamentally an information technology, which would be getting cheaper, faster, better, and more accurate every year but for the state enforced monopolistic shake down.

Google could replace 80% of doctors with free web app in a year, and a free market in medicine and diagnostics would reduce prices to a tenth of what they're currently.

Re:Administrators (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about 5 months ago | (#47290353)

It's a bubble fueled by taxpayer money. Huge artificial demand has been created, and then subsidies pay for the inflated tuition.

Re:Administrators (4, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | about 5 months ago | (#47290073)

In all aspects of education, from primary school to university, the growing swarms of administrators soak up the budget. In some school systems, they vastly outnumber the actual teachers, have better pay, and yet contribute nothing to the operation of the schools.

You beat me to it. It's time for adjunct administrators and more full time professors.

Re: Administrators (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290227)

Wrong. So many full time faculty just soak up the union perk of never needing to evolve. Half the IT profs I have come across couldn't cut it in the real world as an entry level programmer or sys admin, yet they are making six figures to regurgitate a book written by someone else.

Re: Administrators (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 5 months ago | (#47290325)

Oh look, he thinks that IT is programming/comp sci.

How cute.

I don't expect the IT guy to be able to write a damn line of C code, but I have also run into plenty of programmers that can't remember why you have to "safely eject" a USB drive in Windows.

"Uh, hey, I can't find my stuff...can you get it back?"

IT is to comp sci as plumbing is to hydrology - I don't expect the hydrology prof at URIGSO to know how to hook up plastic pipe to copper, and I don't expect the plumber to tell me anything about the Ogallala Aquifer.

--
BMO

Re: Administrators (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 5 months ago | (#47290375)

So you would be shocked if an OKlahoma plumbers shared his concerns about fracking polluting one of the world's largest shallow water table aquifers located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. The saddest is part is requiiring those who worked in repair side of computing to have a comp sci degree. I don't need to understand computing to repair the hardware of a computer. I need to understand electronics.

Administrators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290091)

including the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and the Dean of Minority Integration. But you're forgetting scholarships and pizza parties.

Re:Administrators (-1, Flamebait)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47290229)

Ah, yes. Fresh from somehow cratering the US economy through their iron grip on a modest number of mostly small mortgages for low value properties, the darkie industrial complex is now behind the spiralling cost of US college educations... It's the same all-purpose paranoia you get with "If there's a problem, it's caused by wily Jew-financiers from the International Money Cartel!", except that the explanation for exactly how the alleged puppetmasters actually have access to enough strings to get a piece of the action, much less control it, is markedly less plausible.

Re:Administrators (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290123)

In capitalism, people doing the actual work get screwed by the layers of management stealing from them.

In leftism, people doing the actual work get screwed by the layers of administrators stealing from them.

Re:Administrators (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 5 months ago | (#47290317)

you point out how they are the same. The differences are simple. In capitalism you get to choose what layers of management are steeling from you. In leftism, you're stuck with a single source of theft.

Re:Administrators (5, Informative)

cashman73 (855518) | about 5 months ago | (#47290151)

I don't know about administrative staff, but at many of the D1 research schools, tenured and tenure-track faculty have largely been replaced by "perma-docs". That is, postdoctoral researchers that are entirely paid by "soft money" (e.g. grants), have zero teaching responsibilities, are not offered tenure (only the minute chance of a tenure-track job if they keep applying enough) and have no job security. It is not uncommon to see people in STEM fields with a PhD and having done three, four, even six post-doc appointments. In the past 20-30 years, the number of tenure/tenure-track jobs has declined dramatically, and the number of post-docs has increased exponentially.

Re:Administrators (2)

mc6809e (214243) | about 5 months ago | (#47290203)

In all aspects of education, from primary school to university, the growing swarms of administrators soak up the budget. In some school systems, they vastly outnumber the actual teachers, have better pay, and yet contribute nothing to the operation of the schools.

Don't forget those in the construction industry. Like administrators, they contribute where it counts: in the voting booth where they help elect those that will continue to increase spending on that abstraction "education" rather than on actual educators.

Re:Administrators (5, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about 5 months ago | (#47290257)

Administrators care only about getting more students through the door and the tuition dollars rolling in therefrom.

If you want to quickly solve this problem, have US News add percentage of faculty in full-time tenured position as a weighting factor to school rankings. Overnight you'll see tens of thousands of adjuncts being offered tenure.

While a simple faculty/student ratio is used there is actually a huge pressure to have the highest number of faculty, and therefore pressure to drive down cost. Quantity is weighted more highly than quality.

Re:Administrators (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 5 months ago | (#47290373)

In my department, the faculty work in a run-down, dilapidated old building. Offices are barely large enough to hold weekly meetings with undergraduates, and it's difficult to get the lab space you need to do research. Half a dozen postdocs and graduate students are crammed into a single office. The building is infrequently cleaned- the walls, bathrooms and offices are filthy- and they don't even empty the trash cans in the offices anymore. The workers went on strike to get something like a 1.5% annual raise- which is not a raise by any stretch of the imagination when you factor in inflation. It just means your salary isn't cut.

Meanwhile, administration gets a shiny fancy new building, with huge meeting rooms and offices, and the head of the university gets a big fat raise- and they were already paid about ten times what a starting faculty member would make.

A good administrator is worth their weight in gold. They make things happen, they facilitate research and teaching, and make it easier for everyone else to do their job. But bad administration... bad adminstration is like a parasite. They turn things around. Instead of supporting the university, they see the rest of the university as working to support them. Instead of focusing on doing groundbreaking research, they want faculty to get government grants which pay overhead- i.e., support for administration. Somehow, there's never enough for the people who actually make things happen. But there's always enough for the people at the top of the university hierarchy. It reminds me a lot of that scene in 'Animal Farm' where the milk goes into the pigs' slop;

Re:Administrators (5, Insightful)

Mantrid42 (972953) | about 5 months ago | (#47290437)

Yup. One administrator should not be worth four professors: http://io9.com/professors-pran... [io9.com]

Re:Administrators (1)

jythie (914043) | about 5 months ago | (#47290441)

It does not help that our society has more respect for administrators then teachers, so there tends to be less outrage when their salaries are being discussed.

Because (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290037)

Because Teacher Unions Bad!!! Raaarrrgh!

Why? You need more administrators (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290047)

The number of non-teaching administrators has soared over the decades.

Tuition has soared, most of the teaching faculty making peanuts, the money has to go somewhere.

Particularly "diversity" related administrators.

Profit (4, Insightful)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 5 months ago | (#47290055)

At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?

Because profit is all that matters?

Re:Profit (2)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 5 months ago | (#47290205)

This. Anybody who thinks the primary goal of college is education is mistaken. It is a profit-driven enterprise, pure and simple.

In the U.S. most employers demand at least a 4 year baccalaureate degree in something as a bare minimum job qualification. So if you want a job, you need to get a degree. Colleges charge as much as the market will bear and outsource the teaching to part-time and full-time adjuncts who are paid a fraction of what a full-time tenure-track faculty member would require to teach the same course load. And, by the way, they have no tenure protection so the administration has the adjunct faculty by the short hairs. Ouila! A cheap and nervous workforce - a corporate executive's wet dream!

Ok, idiot, explain California (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290239)

The "public" U.C. System in California (remember: state-owned and operated) is one of the worst examples in the nation... it used to be a "shining example" to be emulated. There's no "profit motive" at all in the UC System - just giant heaping piles of politically-connected Democrat activists given "administrator" jobs with huge salaries, generous benefit packages, and no real duties.

Janet Napolitano (formerly governor of AZ and Obama DHS secretary) needed a place to hang-out, make lots of money, and "cool off" politically before going back into federal politics someday so her high-level Democrats found her a "parking place" .... Democrat Jerry Brown of California made her the president of the University of California. Nothing says "academic excellence and freedom" like "used to run the agency that gropes people and rifles through their luggage at the airport" (and sucks the data from their laptops and tablets if it chooses to during the "screenings").

Yeah, you're right.... ignore all the politics and corruption and don't notice that much of the problem rests in government-run or non-profit schools .... blow the Karl Marx dog whistle! Some greasy, smelly, toxic teacher once told you to blame "corporate greed" and "profit" for everything and you never thought things through enough to realize how utterly ridiculous that was.

Oligarch's Game (3, Insightful)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | about 5 months ago | (#47290061)

Evermore, even our education system in the USA is now a "big" business, just like healthcare - this is despicable. Its a disgrace. It's been going on for decades, albeit at a somewhat chelonian pace; and now it's accelerating. Keep on voting GOP and corporate clown Dems... and this result will continue. Young people- you must get and vote - save your generation. Mine is lost to the oligarchs.

Re:Oligarch's Game (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290183)

Evermore, even our education system in the USA is now a "big" business, just like healthcare - this is despicable. Its a disgrace. It's been going on for decades, albeit at a somewhat chelonian pace; and now it's accelerating. Keep on voting GOP and corporate clown Dems... and this result will continue.

Young people- you must get and vote - save your generation. Mine is lost to the oligarchs.

There are certainly plenty of schools that now take the "big business" attitude towards higher education. However, don't be melodramatic... There are plenty of Universities in the USA who maintain a more traditional and dedicated academic environment. When I was in high school choosing a college, I did plenty of research on all my options to find the place that would give me the best education and I found that there were plenty of public and private schools that do this. I had an extremely difficult time deciding where to go to college because there were so many good choices in the USA. Yes, some are expensive but they do come in a wide range of prices so anyone can get what they are looking for. I ended up paying more to go to Tufts, but I had a very stimulating and rewarding intellectual experience in both my major and required courses. I even minored in a foreign language, which I never imagined myself ever being interested in doing. Going to college with similar creative and like minded peers has paid dividends in my professional life as well. My high school friends who only went to college with the attitude of getting a piece of paper ended up being the ones who now complain college is pointless and a waste of time. They also seem to be the ones who are stuck in soul less corporate jobs.

Obviously (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 months ago | (#47290065)

Because there are too many of you.

Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290095)

Agree.

Supply and demand. To many people with limited outside opportunities willing to teach for a hand-to-mouth compensation.

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290185)

If that were true, tuition would be in free fall.

Pathetic (5, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 5 months ago | (#47290069)

The state of the education system in the US has become pathetic. I've seen it for years in the primary education system. I'm a little shocked that it is now at the university level too. Especially with the prices of tuition these days. It's even more surprising when you read stories like this [thefiscaltimes.com]

I just want to know (5, Interesting)

pooh666 (624584) | about 5 months ago | (#47290093)

Where does the money go? Not generalizations, but accounts. If research is paid for by outsiders, if sports pay for itself, then where is this ever growing cost of education coming from?

Re:I just want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290127)

landscaping

Re:I just want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290131)

Government lust and greed. Government me harder in our common core!

Re:I just want to know (5, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | about 5 months ago | (#47290149)

If research is paid for by outsiders, if sports pay for itself, then where is this ever growing cost of education coming from?

1. Sport only pays for itself in a very limited number of institutions. The claim is that somehow the sport gets almuni to gift more money, but I doubt that there are any studies that have investigated this claim.

2. While the pay of the teachers has been going down, pay for administrators has been going up.

Re:I just want to know (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 5 months ago | (#47290335)

Citation needed on point 1; everything I've read says that football produces about $15 for every $1 invested in the program. This probably isn't true for other sports, but College Football is Big Business in the south for Universities.

Re:I just want to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290349)

Football pays for itself. But most other sports often do not. And remember, colleges must spend equal amounts on men's and women's sports. Field hockey isn't a money maker. Nor is swimming, nor soccer, nor track, nor lacrosse, nor rowing, nor fencing, nor tennis, nor rugby, nor hockey, nor...

Alumni might donate more to schools that have successful men's football or basketball programs...not successful swimming or hockey programs. I'm not saying that paying equally for all sports is bad, just that it is quite expensive to do so, as football costs usually are high.

In my opinion, on campus bars and smoking rooms could quickly pay down the costs of a college tuition!

Also, in my experience, adjunct professors, at least on the graduate level, were often less "in the clouds" and more familiar with working in their fields, thus often better for training students for working in their fields. (and have better contacts for the students)

IF we removed government subsidies for universities, both directly and in student grants, the number of students would plummet. We keep this up partly to keep young adults busy and keep them from rioting. By the time they get out, they have higher aspirations and more debt, thus are usually willing to work harder and complain less.

Re:I just want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290169)

> If research is paid for by outsiders, if sports pay for itself, then where is this ever growing cost of education coming from?

Those things are mostly false. [usatoday.com]

Re:I just want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290215)

Where does the money go? Not generalizations, but accounts. If research is paid for by outsiders, if sports pay for itself, then where is this ever growing cost of education coming from?

Decreased education funding from the state.

Re:I just want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290235)

That may be part of it, but I think it still is increasing. We need to look at the out-of-state tuition pricing.

For a school to be accredited, we should demand that no more than X% of the tuition be used for administrative purposes (and sports).

And we should demand that any school willing to take part of federal aid (in terms of receiving money from Direct Loans and such), that they must post a break-down of tuition. They must show it to the student at time of application and have the student sign off that he or she has seen it. We should demand this be done.

Re:I just want to know (5, Interesting)

Enry (630) | about 5 months ago | (#47290237)

I've worked in IT at two major East Coast Universities for the past 12 years. There is a boatload of bureaucracy to be sure at almost all levels. Then again, some of it is warranted. Gone are the days of a researcher just getting a grant and spending it all on the research. You need to have grant administrators to make sure the grant is written properly and meets the needs of the funding agency, then you need them afterwards to let you know if you can spend the money you got on the things you want - these grants often times have strict rules on them.

Then there's all the federal regulations. Are you in a lab that got private (not public) money for doing stem cell research? Awesome! Just make sure that any equipment you use (staff payroll, PCs, consumables, anything) hasn't been paid for by a federal grant. So now you have to buy everything twice and make sure you don't cross the streams.

Even if you get a $500,000 grant, anywhere up to 2/3 of that goes immediately to the university you work for for overhead. Aforementioned administrators, physical space, power, cooling, IT...hey, so let's talk about IT for a bit.

So each researcher thinks they're the best thing to ever hit the institution and the way they do things is right. Forget the fact that your IT staff has way more experience and would be happy to help you design whatever you need - they're idiots! So you go off and design your own system and have the grant pay for it, but you ten forget that you don't have any IT staff, so you have a few postdocs take care of it until you realize they're spending all their time working on that and not doing research, so you call up the CIO and yell at him for a while. An IT person shows up and starts identifying problems with your design and why didn't you consult him when you were writing the grant but that's not your concern. So now you're telling the researcher you need a blue Hadoop cluster and you need it right now otherwise you'll take your entire lab across country where their IT staff is apparently more organized than yours. So the IT guy is building the blue Hadoop cluster, burning through IT budget since the CIO promised you they'd take care of it. IT is now underfunded and can't afford the $3 million for a new storage array since every other researcher is doing the exact same thing. But now there's a bigger problem - you ran out of storage space! Where are you supposed to put the 75TB of data you just remembered you needed a postdoc to download? Those stupid IT guys, saying that storage is $.50/GB. I can go to Best Buy and get a 2TB drive for $100! Why can't they just use those drives?

Hmm...I seem to have gone off on a rant. Anyway, a former director described one location as "land of 1000 CIOs". In a way it's true since it's the researchers that are bringing in money, way more than the students. So the researchers generally get their way or else they'll take off elsewhere and take all that research money with them.

And where's my blue Hadoop?

Re:I just want to know (2)

oursland (1898514) | about 5 months ago | (#47290425)

Even if you get a $500,000 grant, anywhere up to 2/3 of that goes immediately to the university you work for for overhead.

I worked on a military funded research project and the Army Research Labs contract administrators balked at the 40% (!!!) mandatory overhead costs. They felt it was exorbitant as they had their own people who oversaw nearly every aspect of the contract. The only thing the university had to provide was a space for us to work.

I just want to know (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290299)

Sports and sport complexes, and administration.

I work at a relatively cheap college. Adjuncts get paid 1900 a semester. I'm a part-time librarian and get about 15000 a year when the going rate is about 50000 (so part time would be 25 - 30000). Yet our president lives in a mansion on the main line, one of the most expensive areas on the east coast. The library still has asbestos in it, but will they build a new building? No, they'd rather have a fancy new gym. It is a nice gym and I plan to use the pool frequently once I work fulltime and don't have to pay for membership, but still - you can see where their priorities lie.

Re:I just want to know (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#47290355)

a lot of people go to school to another state
used to be you went to your state school. now kids want to be independent and fly off to some school a thousand miles away. a state school in another state and pay out of state tuition and room and board

a lot of people who went to college in the 70's and 80's also worked full time or part time and lived in crappy apartments. now the kids aren't working and borrowing their living expenses for four years

Any chemistry or physics adjunct could explain (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 5 months ago | (#47290103)

It's because colleges and universities are natural collectors of Element 0 -- Administratium [lhup.edu]

There are no more (1)

Chad Smith (3448823) | about 5 months ago | (#47290107)

Middle Class jobs. Too many golden parachutes being handed out to administrators.

Somebody's Getting Paid More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290119)

It's just not the people actually teaching.

Re:Somebody's Getting Paid More (2)

cashman73 (855518) | about 5 months ago | (#47290175)

The football and basketball coaches are doing great!

University of the People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290129)

Need more projects like this: http://uopeople.edu/ [uopeople.edu]

Re:University of the People (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 5 months ago | (#47290315)

"The people"? It must be some communist ploy!

Not to be snarky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290133)

Seems being a college graduate at all these days isn't much guarantee of a middle class job.

Re:Not to be snarky (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47290245)

Allowing a 'middle class' to exist would be permitting a bunch of entitled looters to expropriate the wealth creators!

Re:Not to be snarky (4, Insightful)

TarPitt (217247) | about 5 months ago | (#47290283)

*Not* being a college graduate is a certain guarantee of a lifetime of poorly paying jobs.

Different Type of Bubble (5, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47290139)

Basically post-secondary education was marketed really really well.
So we have more and more post-secondary students.

This has wide ranging effects.
A diploma is worth less and less, as everyone has one (we have far more graduates than jobs that call for them).
A diploma costs more, more demand for a diploma from children means you can charge more.
And since the job market is flooded with out of work Professors and Master students the mean salary and working conditions for lecturers/professors falls.

Wrong question (4, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 5 months ago | (#47290153)

"At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?"

You are asking the wrong question. It isn't "We" it is "They". Colleges are seen as the bastion of liberalism but they are run as businesses by over paid executives hired by boards of directors (trustees) with the goal of maximizing profits and endowments. There is no "We" in this question.

Supply and Demand. (2)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about 5 months ago | (#47290157)

At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?

Because many more able people want to teach than there are available positions.

When will the left ever learn? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290159)

Government intervention is ALWAYS economically bad, inefficient, rife with negative side-effects, etc (Yes, even in things like having a military - but THERE it's at least a "necessary evil"). Our founders explained this; they warned against it; SOME people simply refuse to learn basic lessons no matter ho many times the evidence smacks them in the face.

The huge ramp-up in federal involvement in education (NOT among its Constitutionally-enumerated powers) which has gone "on steroids" in the Obama-era take-over of the student loans business, broke a basic economic constraint and the numerous consequences will be felt for decades. By making it so students had virtually unlimited ability to "go into debt" paying for college, the federal government freed the colleges to boost tuition and other student expenses (even while neglecting their basic and vital job thereby producing no more, or even less value) WITHOUT LOSING CUSTOMERS (the normal constraints on such increases were gone). The Colleges, in effect, contracted "defense contractor disease". The Colleges, flush with new money, did what most institutions do when buried in cash: They boosted the pay and benefits of the top executives and hired lots of their friends to be "top executives" and administrators (with great salaries and benefits) while ignoring infrastructure and "lower-level" workers. The new armies of executives did what they always do: complained about the legitimate costs of the institutions and looked for ways to reduse THOSE in order to suooprt their own lavish lifestyles. California's "U.C. System" is a fantastic example of this: Stagnant salaries for profs, reductions in the number of full-time profs, increases in un- or under-paid assistant positions, but MASSIVE growth in the army of highly-paid administrators. All this corruption to be paid for over the coming decades by the current generation of college kids who were duped into supporting this with the lie of "free money", are getting educated no better than their parents, but are ending up with huge student loan debts they will be unable to escape via bankruptcy filing and which will impact their purchases of homes, and cars, their marriage plans, etc.

Re:When will the left ever learn? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290359)

When will the guberment learn blah blah blah wibble blah? This is the angry bold text. Socialists. Socialists. I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing. Government is bad. Except when it's killing brown people, go America. Kill more brown people. Taxes. Taxes. More angry bold text.

Re:When will the left ever learn? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 5 months ago | (#47290445)

+3, Funny (because its true)

More money in politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290165)

Obama was a non-tenured adjunct lecturer and he's doing well now.

Republicans view them as servants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290177)

just as they view the rest of us. That is why the Republicans that control education in this country are taking money from professors by refusing to pay them fair market value. As always, Republicans stand against capitalism. They hate the idea of competition. Now, they're destroying the college system to replace it with something far more sinister.

Re:Republicans view them as servants... (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 5 months ago | (#47290331)

That is why the Republicans that control education in this country

Wow. You really think Republicans control education in this country?

Not just administrators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290189)

I'm seeing a lot of noise about administrators being the high cost.

But don't forget the football coaches and their million dollar salaries.

Amereeka (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290191)

Fuk Yah!

pitchforks and torches (0)

sdinfoserv (1793266) | about 5 months ago | (#47290193)

Welcome to the new (cough, cough) reality that most other professions came to realize 15 years ago. College tuition increasing since 1985 by 500%, throw in ‘paid by the class’ lecturers, virtually no professional jobs upon graduation, and welcome to the US of the future. A degree has virtually no value. There are no jobs, the banks changed the law so you can’t remove student debt with bankruptcy, the average age of a fast food worker has risen from 17 to 25 in the past 10 years. The average amerian makes less than their 1987 counter part. Telephone operators, once a position with pension, now a part time call center rep manufacturing jobs shipped by the 10’s of millions to whatever country is cheapest by a nickel per hour – copy write laws be damned – engineers, programmers, radiologists , This is all connected. Pretty soon the 1% will have syphoned off every extractable penny in the new era of robber barons. As they buy politicians, eviscerate the environment, and convince most of us (US) Unions are corrupt. (maybe there has been instances, but the unions didn’t almost topple the world economy ) . . Tax rates have dropped from 70%+ during the Carter administration to all time lows. As the rich have private doctors, send their kids to private schools, hire private security, while screaming red herrings like ‘class warfare’, while refusing to pay any taxes as infrastructure crumbles, emergency responders are slashed to dangers levels, and schools fall apart. This is a trend we must change and take this country back. Pitchforks and torches my friends that’s where this is heading.

Drone/automated weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290233)

You're missing a key piece of the puzzle. Pitchforks and torches won't help the masses AT ALL when they're facing drone airforces and armies that can be controlled and manned by the 1% and their quislings. If you have drone armies, there is NO ONE to refuse orders from the 1% to open fire on the civilian population (aka the 99%).

Whomever controls the automated weapons will decide who "surplus population" is and when it's expedient to get rid of them.

Re:pitchforks and torches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290295)

> ... Pitchforks and torches my friends that’s where this is heading.

I see that, too. I see voters voting against their best interests because they think that an issue is about "them", but it's really not. Back a few years ago when there was a lot of talk about the "death tax" the allowed rate per individual was 600K, so a couple, if they set things up before one of them died, could have an estate of $1.2 million with no inheritance taxes. It's higher now. What percentage of American families have that size estate? It's now even higher. It's just one more thing that doesn't even affect the majority of the population, but the !% have gotten the population to think, "We need to abolish the death tax."

The population really needs to look at the issues and see if it's really about them. More often than not, it's not about them.

Gov owns student loans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290337)

Federal government owns nearly all student loans, I believe it is over 90% now. They are the ones that changed bankruptcy laws so they wouldn't be left out, it wasn't the banks. About 4 years ago a bill was passed, promising to be deficit neutral so it could pass via reconciliation, that gobbeled up all student loans and used the interest to pay for that bill to make it so the CBO could declare it deficit neutral. That bill is commonly called Obamacare. Yes, its Obamacare that is eating the interest on all student loans now, not banks.

It was also pointed out that upon passing Obamacare, full time jobs would start going away for contract jobs without benefits. People were called all kinds of names for saying this, yet this is exactly what we are seeing here, along with many other industries. If you don't like this kind of thing, stop supporting politicians who put this into place. It shouldn't be a surprise to you, you were told it would happen, but instead of trying to work it out so it didn't happen it was easier for you to call everyone racists instead.

Worked out pretty good for you, didn't it?

More for war in Afganistan (1)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 5 months ago | (#47290195)

10 or 100 professors working on contract bases means more money for military spending.
Imagine Afghanistan and other countries that will be destroyed by massive attacks from the air.

Sounds like fun.

It depends on the field (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 months ago | (#47290255)

Professors in technical areas make large amounts of money, and are guaranteed their salary for life once they've been promoted once (to associate professor).

In my department, at the lowest level - assistant professor (tenure track, but not yet tenured) - they are making well north of 10K dollars a month. Full professors fall anywhere between 15K-25K a month.

On the other hand, professors in the arts or history departments make less than many staff earn.

Note that this is all public record - I'm not exactly giving away secrets.

We need more respect for trade schools (4, Insightful)

TarPitt (217247) | about 5 months ago | (#47290279)

and for the skilled mostly blue-collar jobs that are vital to our society but do not require 4-year degrees.

Once a skilled trade provided a good shot at a decent middle-class livelihood. Something has happened to devalue these skills.

Young people get college degrees for which they are unsuited because it appears there is no alternative.

Despite all the jokes about degreed barristas working for the minimum wage, the absence of a degree is now the best way to ensure a lifetime of poorly paid jobs.

Re:We need more respect for trade schools (3, Interesting)

rcoxdav (648172) | about 5 months ago | (#47290343)

The issues with the trades is not pay. Take a look at how much a plumber or electrician can make in the Chicago area. Here [plumberslu130ua.org] is a link showing how much they make. A 5th year apprentice would make about $70k a year working full time.

The problem is that the trades are totally dismissed by the school counselors. We don't need so many people in traditional colleges. We need more people in the trades. Another example is in lower level IT. Basic help desk and level 1 support people need vocational training, not a BS or BA. We need to re-align higher education.You do not need a BS in CS to maintain a network.

Re:We need more respect for trade schools (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290439)

How long do you think those plumbing salaries will stay at $70k once you start shoving loads of high schoolers into trade schools? Think supply and demand. You're going to increase the supply of workers, but without any way of increasing the demand for plumbers (only so many toilets get installed/repaired every year).

This is the same pump and dump that has collapsed wages in most other job classes. Too many people for too little work.

Worked at a major university (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290289)

I'm a retired chemistry professor from a Major university and was on some committee or other looking into university finances. One striking stat was that the non academic administration used 60% of the total budget. 60%!!!! Nothing could be done about it - the salaries of those folks were locked in by long term contract and many of them had no idea what an institution of higher education was about. These guys were bean counters, fund raisers and politicians but never taught a class, met a student, got a grant or did research in their professional lives yet they made judgements about the faculty competence, salaries and promotions. One of my professor colleagues found that the department secretary was making more than he was and left academia for a government research lab. No wonder universities are filled with temporary teachers having MS degrees making $2,000 per semester per 3 credit hour course. Think about lab instructors making $700 per semester per 3 contact hours teaching per week involving student contact plus time for lab report and quiz and exam grading, weekly staff meetings, and office hours. I wonder if fast food workers, restaurant wait persons, and bar tenders don't make more income in a year.

Could be Worse (3, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 5 months ago | (#47290291)

I honestly feel bad for these people, but they think it's bad now, just wait.

A first semester physics class pretty much covers the same material at every university and doesn't really change from year to year. In this day and age, there's really no reason other than tradition why we need to keep hiring thousands of people to present essentially identical lectures over and over.

Because we reward administrators and not teachers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290293)

Administrators are getting record salaries, all the benefits you can imagine, and extremely lucrative "golden parachutes"

At my university they have a graph showing administrator pay and lecturer pay, and the administrator pay is literally off the chart while lecturer pay is on a steady decline.

It's the same thing in high schools. We're bitching about tenure and bad teachers -- who hires those bad teachers? Administrators. They pick the cheapest green thumbs they can find so they can get rid of the more expensive, more qualified veteran teachers. It is literally, entirely their fault why schools hire bad teachers.

Administrators are the reason high school and university funds are misspent, misdirected, misused, and why actual services to help the students and teachers/lecturers are not funded. They're the ones that want a $400 ELMO machine in every classroom but won't spend a nickel on writing paper, pencils, books, or any of the basics.

When it comes to education administrators are always the problem. They are the most removed from education, they have the least experience with education, and they never listen to the students, parents, or other faculty when making their decisions.

Professors are disposable (4, Interesting)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 5 months ago | (#47290301)

The fact of the matter is that there are far too many people who want faculty positions compared to the number of available positions. I quote directly from our university president, "I can get professors anywhere."

This is detrimental to learning as well. Some adjunct faculty, desperate to keep jobs, rely on easy courses and popularity with students to stay employed. Many others feel obligated to help students beyond the limited office hours they're paid for, essentially working for free in order to get the students the help they need. At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?

There is pressure from the administration to buffer grades, as that effects various important statistics for the school, and it's far easier for them to give out As rather than worry about complaints and legal action etc., but otherwise the administration couldn't give a rats arse about how popular the professors are with the students. They care most about how much research money the professor is bringing in. Maybe at some big private school where you have legacies and wealthy donnors to worry about the administration actually cares about the students' feelings.

No one goes into a professorship expecting a 9-5 job, but pointing out professors are spending extra time with their students isn't really making the case the situtation is detrimental for education, either. When you get your degree, you have a decision -- do I enjoy doing research/teaching so much that I go into academia, or do I want a profitable career and go into industry? Professors aren't in it for the money. They're the sort of people who just wouldn't fit anywhere else. You don't need to pay them well. The professors making $40k tend to work as hard and spend as much time in the lab as the professors making $80k. I'll bet many would work for room and board if you gave them a nice lab to go with it.

If you want to improve the situation, your options are either establish some legal minimums, or curb the excess of academics by providing either positions for them and/or doing a better job of training people for other positions. Unless you're an engineer, most bachelors degrees are more or less geared toward becoming an academic, even though relatively few people will wind up in academia, and it doesn't help this situation when you have a flood of graduates who aren't really sure what they can do with themselves besides stay in the university environment.

Wake up. The world is changing! (1)

Nick Klee (3708699) | about 5 months ago | (#47290303)

This is no different to many other industries. The safety net of "job for life" is no longer viable and no longer exists. Anyone still enjoying it are the last of their breed. Intelligent people EMBRACE change and ADAPT.

Where the money goes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47290363)

I am a university professor, so I know a little bit about fighting for money.

Tuition rates are indeed skyrocketing, and most of that money is getting funneled into two places: athletic programs and facilities.

Most universities are in a facilities arms race to build lab complexes and procure equipment to attract foreign students, who are often backed by enormous and nearly unlimited sums of money back home. The university I work for has an entire administrative department whose sole purpose is to court foreign students.

Athletic programs are pretty self-explanatory.

Time to rethink college we need more trades like c (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47290379)

Time to rethink college we need more trades like learning and less of the old system.

It's The Bureaucracy, Stupid (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#47290419)

Bureaucracies exist for one reason and one reason alone: to grow themselves larger.

We see it in every level of government, and in every single institution there is, whether it be medical, educational, or professional. The "institution" grows and grows and grows while those who work "in the trenches" do worse and worse and worse and the bureaucrats do better and better and better.

Great (1)

sigipickl (595932) | about 5 months ago | (#47290451)

I studied accounting in college- I had CFO's, CPA's, entrepreneurs and lawyers teaching me. Teaching was a labor of love, not a career. They were leaders in their fields of business, not the most published, tenured or "acronym-ed". The demonstrated relationship of theory to the real world was not only valuable, but generally interesting. Even in a major as dull as accounting.

This was at a 4 year university, not Heald Business College.

The biggest buzzkill in my 4 years of college? The 32 year old full-time professor that had a Ph.D. in accounting. Talk about painful. It was like the guy had contempt for the students...

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