Bloat at Universities Now Not Merely Reserved For Football Coaches!


Jay Greene, one of the sharpest edumicationalist researchers around, has published with Brian Kisida and Jonathan Mills a new report on the bloat that has larded up university costs like what a 25-meal-per-week dining plan at the Brower Commons does to freshmen:

Between 1993 and 2007, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students at America's leading universities grew by 39 percent, while the number of employees engaged in teaching, research or service only grew by 18 percent. Inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student increased by 61 percent during the same period, while instructional spending per student rose 39 percent. Arizona State University, for example, increased the number of administrators per 100 students by 94 percent during this period while actually reducing the number of employees engaged in instruction, research and service by 2 percent. Nearly half of all full-time employees at Arizona State University are administrators.

Read all about it here.

NEXT: And the Wind Cries "Subsidy"

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  1. a 25-meal-per-week

    Hold it! 3.4 meals per day? Are they counting the students’ barley sandwiches?

    1. WTF?

      I clearly recall someone packing me off to school with some advice about how suffering makes you stronger…

      Don’t I?

      Does anyone else?

      But then, everything else has been upsized and redone in the luxury edition since I went to school too.

      Now students want (and get) 50,000 sq. ft. air conditioned recreation centers instead of a weight room in a single-wide and an extra running oval.

      1. Financial aid has never been more available…

        For some reason I always picture financial aid officers as having creepy child molester mannerisms.

        1. Mirror looking much?

          1. It’s your fault for letting me do it. Just let it be our little secret.

        2. New York is flooding the airwaves with news of *another* goddamn program designed to lift money out of my wallet and throw it at undeserving brats who can’t get money anywhere else. Does the entire thing have to collapse on itself before we give up and admit already that maybe not every child belong in college??

          1. But if we did that we would be racist. And we would also be discriminating against everyone with any sort of disability. So the obvious solution is to punish everyone. It’s worked so far hasn’t it?

            But of course, you’re unfortunatly right. It’s too bad I won’t live long enough to see the glorious yet horrific collapse, and the initial chaos when would-be state worshippers attempt to muscle into power through murder, theft, and rape. You know, things Libertarians must support if they actually distrust the government.

      2. Yep, and this is a key contributor to administrative bloat. Student services are not what they used to be…mainly at the insistence of the students themselves.

  2. Between 1993 and 2007, the number of full-time administrators per 100 students at America’s leading universities grew by 39 percent, while the number of employees engaged in teaching, research or service only grew by 18 percent.

    Well, duh! Everyone wants to be one of the chiefs – not one of the indians. Indians actually half to work.

    1. have (damn it)

    2. How often has Reason examined this since the 1990’s?

  3. “Inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student increased by 61 percent during the same period, while instructional spending per student rose 39 percent.”

    The administrators are better educated than the instructors.

    BTW, that should be ex-coach Mangino

    1. The administrators are better educated than the instructors.

      Someone’s in the mood for a fight. Every time I get a letter from the Office of Disabilities ordering me to give extra time on exams to a student who allegedly has ADHD I want to go over there and rip out one of their mail-order PhD’s throats.

      And I get a shitload of those letters because the students have learned the advantages of being disabled.

      1. Those letters were what drove me to quit teaching; it made scheduling exams 10X more difficult since the extra time inevitably caused schedule collisions which required them to take exams at different times from their peers -> meaning that now I had to have yet another set of exams (sometimes 2 more! ) to prevent cheating.

        Plus, students were complaining that my exams were too hard, so I had the dean occasionally looking over copies of the exam.

        I hated it.

        1. Wups, hit submit instead of preview…

          To finish the story:

          So I had to work extra hard to make sure that all the exams were approximately equally difficult. It added hours to my prep time.

          The worst part was the abysmal quality of the students coming into the school. These kids weren’t dumb. They had rationally learned study habits that worked in a system where a kid couldn’t reduce a fraction properly but could still get A’s in math.

          1. Damned calculators! If I had a nickel for every time a student gave a final answer of arctan(0) on a calculus exam…

            1. Half of mine can’t handle cos(0) without their calculators. Our future engineers…

      2. Ex-fiance’s daughter used to use that ploy. Her mom confused being unprepared, lazy and just plain not smart enough for university level work with ADHD. The daughter is now a primary school teacher. May Gawd have mercy on the children she teaches.

  4. Oh, Nick, why did you have to mention Brower? The memories are making me sick – yet strangely in the mood for a giant Belgian waffle with cherry pie filling on top.

  5. Midnight chicken-wings?!? YES!

  6. Alt. text coronary.

  7. A good percentage of college students attend college to develop job skills and/or improve their chances of getting a job.

    As an employer of engineers I would set myself up to be crucified upside-down by administering a series of tests, the same sort of tests that are needed to graduate from an engineering college, to prospective employees who had not graduated from an engineering college.

    1. as an engineer who graduated from an engineering college I find it scary how easily I handled those exams with minimal studying just a few years ago and even scarier how I could likely not repeat the task today.

    2. What happened to, I dunno, getting a job?

  8. BTW, that should be ex-coach Mangino

  9. There is a fatness past roundness. It’s sideboob from any side. It’s beyond Lovecraft. It’s ?Kraft.

  10. Dude thats just too funny when you think about it.


  11. Academic advisers, computer specialists, librarians and loan counselors are considered administrators in the Goldwater report…..n0817.html

    1. With the possible exception of some tasks computer specialists might perform, those positions would all be considered administrative overhead in any private enterprise.

      What’s your point, ImaDouchbag?

    2. The Goldwater report uses IPEDS data (probably from the common data set reports), which has pretty specific criteria about which positions have to be counted as faculty vs administration. It’s pretty much the only way to get an apples to apples comparison across colleges, at the cost of some local distortions. At my college, librarians and some of the academic advisors are considered faculty for all internal purposes, but for common data set reporting we have to use their definitions.

      This is but one reason why gross numbers like “faculty-student ratio” can have several different values, depending on whose definitions you are using.

  12. In this economy, I’m glad to see that the univs are doing their part to provide more jobs. Way to go, colleges!

    Now off the the student union for a cheeseburger, tater tots, a Coke, and about $10 worth of Galaga…

    (yeah, I know, I’m dating myself…)

    1. Is “dating oneself” an euphemism for masturbation?

  13. And how many of these new administrative jobs are due to new federal regulations and requirements? “Diversity” staff etc?

    There’s been lots of administrative overhead added to private corporations over this same time frame, due to new regulations kicking in.

    Which doesn’t change the fact that it’s bullshit. But when it comes to bullshit I like to know which flavor we’re talking about.

    1. A ton of it. I am tangentially involved with my local university and had a recent meeting with the new president. The school is facing a huge budget shortfall next fiscal year. He told me that the cost of administration has skyrocketed due to federal regulations. ADA is one of the main culprits but not the only one. Another problem he told me is that frequently at universities they have to hire people with masters and even PhDs to perform administrative tasks that could be handled by a good secretary.

  14. BTW, that should be ex-coach Mangino

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  16. There’s been lots of administrative overhead added to private corporations over this same time frame, due to new regulations kicking in.

  17. I think MeMe Roth should go on a few dates with that guy in blue. This would benefit all of us because, supposing he got lucky, she’s be flattened like Gumby under a steamroller.

    Though what I’d really like to see happen to MeMe is Nick Gillespie holding up her severed head like Perseus slaying Medusa…

    1. That image is about 1000X better than anything that actually happened in Clash of the Titties.

  18. Like what? I’d have to call this the least well-considered Brower Commons reference of the week.

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  20. No wonder tuition has gotten so expensive.

    I don’t know anyone pays $40-50K a year.

    1. My alma mater costs that now. It clearly makes zero economic sense for all but the most high-paying majors.

  21. A portion of the run up in administrative staff is no doubt just waste. But I bet you find a similar run up in administrative staff among, say, publicly traded companies. The reason is in the run up in weight of your complete set of Federal Registers. Many of those administrators are regulatory compliance.

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