Sunday, May 4, 2008

Where does the UW System really stand on the cost of an education?

Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story on how University of Wisconsin campus chancellors are leaving in droves for better paying opportunities is interesting but masks other parts of the discrepancy story.

For example, the UW folks like to trot out numbers to show how faculty salaries lag behind comparable schools and then they cry crocodile tears for all the poor students being forced out of an education by rising tuition.

But the same folks who do that have also come up with this doozie which seems to suggest that UW tuitions are too low with the subtle hint that maybe if they get jacked up again there would be more money to pay increased faculty salaries.

They gloss over the fact that tuition increases significantly outpaced the inflation rate. According to Business Week: "Four-year public colleges have taken the hardest hit, with the rate of growth in tuition and fees this decade the highest it has been in 30 years. The average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges for the 2007-08 academic year are $6,185, up $381 (or 6.6%) from last year, the College Board said. Those numbers don't include room and board and other expenses, which add about $7,404 to the bill. The consumer price index for all urban consumers rose 2.8% between September, 2006, and September, 2007."

And UW? Glad you asked. UW's tuition is above the national average which begs the question that if students are overcharged and faculty is underpaid, where is the money going?

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