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College Students Pay More, Study Less. Party!

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It’s the quintessential American experience: paying more to do less.

That’s exactly what American college students are now doing, according to two separate recent reports. First, Glenn Reynolds of fame notes that higher education is in a bubble, one that he argues will soon burst with considerable consequences.

“Something that can’t go on forever, won’t,” Reynolds wrote. “And the past decades’ history of tuition growing much faster than the rate of inflation, with students and parents making up the difference via easy credit, is something that can’t go on forever.”

Reynolds cites evidence of just how much more expensive college has become: “After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."

Of course, while college might have become more expensive, that doesn’t mean students are hitting the books any harder. Just the opposite, actually.

A new report published the American Enterprise Institute – Leisure College, USA – determines the following:

In 1961, the average full-time student at a four-year college in the United States studied about twenty-four hours per week, while his modern counterpart puts in only fourteen hours per week. Students now study less than half as much as universities claim to require. This dramatic decline in study time occurred for students from all demographic subgroups, for students who worked and those who did not, within every major, and at four-year colleges of every type, degree structure, and level of selectivity. Most of the decline predates the innovations in technology that are most relevant to education and thus was not driven by such changes. The most plausible explanation for these findings, we conclude, is that standards have fallen at postsecondary institutions in the United States.

(HT: TaxProf Blog)
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