Cover image for Tuition rising : why college costs so much
Tuition rising : why college costs so much
Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
x, 322 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
With a new preface.
I: Setting the stage. Why do costs keep rising at selective private colleges and universities. Who is in charge of the university ? -- II: Wealth and the quest for prestige. Endowment policies, development policies, and the color of money. Undergraduate and graduate program rankings. Admissions and financial aid policies -- III: The Primacy of science over economics. Why relative prices don't matter. Staying on the cutting edge in science -- IV: The faculty. Salaries. Tenure and the end of mandatory retirement -- V: Space. Deferred maintenance, space planning, and imperfect information. The costs of space -- VI: Academic and administrative issues. Internal transfer prices. Enrollment management. Information technology, libraries, and distance learning -- VII: The nonacademic infrastructure. Parking and transportation. Cooling systems -- VIII: Student life. Intercollegiate athletics and gender equity. Dining and housing -- IX: Conclusion. Looking to the future. A final thought.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library LB2342 .E42 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



America's colleges and universities are the best in the world. They are also the most expensive. Tuition has risen faster than the rate of inflation for the past thirty years. There is no indication that this trend will abate.

Ronald G. Ehrenberg explores the causes of this tuition inflation, drawing on his many years as a teacher and researcher of the economics of higher education and as a senior administrator at Cornell University. Using incidents and examples from his own experience, he discusses a wide range of topics including endowment policies, admissions and financial aid policies, the funding of research, tenure and the end of mandatory retirement, information technology, libraries and distance learning, student housing, and intercollegiate athletics.

He shows that colleges and universities, having multiple, relatively independent constituencies, suffer from ineffective central control of their costs. And in a fascinating analysis of their response to the ratings published by magazines such as U.S. News & World Report , he shows how they engage in a dysfunctional competition for students.

In the short run, colleges and universities have little need to worry about rising tuitions, since the number of qualified students applying for entrance is rising even faster. But in the long run, it is not at all clear that the increases can be sustained. Ehrenberg concludes by proposing a set of policies to slow the institutions' rising tuitions without damaging their quality.

Table of Contents

I Setting the Stage
1 Why Do Costs Keep Rising at Selective Private Colleges and Universities?
2 Who Is in Charge of the University?
II Wealth and the Quest for Prestige
3 Endowment Policies, Development Policies, and the Color of Money
4 Undergraduate and Graduate Program Rankings
5 Admissions and Financial Aid Policies
III The Primacy of Science Over Economics
6 Why Relative Prices Don't Matter
7 Staying on the Cutting Edge in Science
IV The Faculty
8 Salaries
9 Tenure and the End of Mandatory Retirement
V Space
10 Deferred Maintenance, Space Planning, and Imperfect Information
11 The Costs of Space
VI Academic and Administrative Issues
12 Internal Transfer Prices
13 Enrollment Management
14 Information Technology, Libraries, and Distance Learning
VII The Nonacademic Infrastructure
15 Parking and Transportation
16 Cooling Systems
VIII Student Life
17 Intercollegiate Athletics and Gender Equity
18 Dining and Housing
IX Conclusion
19 Looking to the Future
20 A Final Thought
Defined Benefit and Defined
Contribution Retirement Plans

Google Preview