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Why Corvettes Cost Less Than College

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Froma Harrop, a columnist with the Providence Journal, has an interesting op-ed in papers across the country today.

The title is "Why Corvettes Cost Less Than College" and it's about, as Harrop describes on her website, "the bubble economy of higher ed."

Some selected passages:

"American colleges continue to float in the bubble of economic exceptionalism once occupied by Detroit carmakers. American median income has grown 6.5 times over the past 40 years, but the cost of attending one's own state college has ballooned 15 times. This kind of income-price mismatch haunted the housing market right before it melted down."

In fact, college tuition has gotten so expensive, the father of a Kenyon College student told Harrop, "It's like driving a new Corvette to Ohio every September, leaving the keys and taking the bus home."

Today, US universities take in $40 billion a year more than they did 30 years ago. And according to Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus in their book, "Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do About It," Harrop points out, that money is not being used to educate our kids.

* Duke University spends over $20,000 a year per varsity golf player.

* There are 629 college football teams, 14 of which make money.

* The number of administrators per student at colleges has about doubled and now include titles such as "director for learning communities" and "assistant dean of students for substance education."

* Vanderbilt University, just one example of outsize faculty compensation, pays its president $1.2 million a year.

* A number of colleges allow professors to take sabbaticals every third year instead of the traditional seventh. Harvard has 48 history professors, and 20 of them are somewhere else this year.

Harrop's conclusion is that "the market will eventually recognize the out-of-whack economics of today's 'place-based colleges' and intervene. Some day soon, Web alternatives will let students of modest means try their hand at a college education. And what a great day that will be."

Averaging an affordable $2,000 per year, Web-based learning will allow more and more people in more and more places to receive quality educations. And, lest you think distance education is a sham, what with degree mills popping up like dandelions on the virtual college quad, take a look at a few of the institutions offering online degrees:





The best part is, all the money you save means only one thing:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.