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October 13, 2020
9781421438887
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October 13, 2020
9781421438894
9781421438887
English
256
76453
16
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$39.95 USD, £29.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Runaway College Costs

How College Governing Boards Fail to Protect Their Students

In the United States, college costs, especially tuition and fees, have increased much more rapidly than either the overall Consumer Price Index or median household income. This cost inflation has effectively closed the doors of higher education to many qualified students and contributed to a staggering $1.5 trillion in student debt. Additionally, the number of college enrollments in the United States actually declined for eight straight years between 2011 and 2019, as college student bodies became increasingly stratified on the basis of family incomes.

Virtually every public college cost increase, however, requires a positive vote from each university's governing board—and the record shows that these votes are nearly always unanimous. In Runaway College Costs, James V. Koch and Richard J. Cebula argue that many trustees have forgotten that they should act as fiduciaries who represent the best interests of students, parents, and taxpayers. Instead, Koch and Cebula explain, too often many trustees prize size and more prestigious rankings over access and affordability. These misplaced priorities make them vote in favor of ever more plush facilities, expensive intercollegiate athletic programs, administrative bloat, and outdated models of instruction and research.

Koch and Cebula supply groundbreaking empirical evidence on the impact of governing board membership, size, and operations on tuition and fees. They show, for example, that the existence of a powerful statewide governing board exercises significant downward pressure on tuition and fees and that state funding cuts cannot explain more than one-half of the cost increases at the typical four-year public institution. The authors propose an action agenda for governing boards, including changing the incentives placed in front of campus presidents and senior administrators. Finally, they conclude that, although public university governing boards deserve blame for accelerating college cost inflation, they also are ideally situated to improve the situation.

Runaway College Costs ends hopefully, suggesting that governing boards and their member trustees actually have the greatest potential to improve the situation. Providing the first rigorous empirical evidence of the impact that various modes of governance have had not only on tuition and fees but also on a half-dozen measures of institutional performance, this book will be of serious interest to governors, legislators, public university board members and their staffs, those interested in supporting the traditional goals of public higher education, and of course students and their parents, as well as taxpayers.

About the Authors

James V. Koch is the Board of Visitors Professor of Economics Emeritus and president emeritus at Old Dominion University. He served as president of the University of Montana from 1986 to 1990. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including The Caterpillar Way: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder Value and The Impoverishment of the American College Student. Richard J. Cebula is Affiliate Professor in the Department of Economics and at The Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of numerous books, including Economic Behavior, Economic Freedom, and Entrepreneurship.

Endorsements

"Persuasive and well-written, Runaway College Costs makes an interesting and very neglected point: ultimately, it is the trustees of universities who are responsible for the tremendous amount of tuition price inflation of modern times. Koch and Cebula bring a wealth of experience in both scholarship and administration to the topic."

- Richard K. Vedder, Ohio University, author of Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America

"This book persuasively argues that public institutions, especially the flagship campuses, are abandoning their commitment to serve the general public (particularly talented students from low-income families) by charging tuition and fees at levels that are not justified by state funding cuts, increasing the amount of merit-based aid to students based on SAT scores and other desired measures, and adding more out-of-state students at the expense of in-state students. This book should be found on the desks and reading tables of board members, legislators and governors' aides, institutional presidents and executive teams, and faculty leaders. It should also be of great interest and assistance to foundations that support student academic success."

- Robert A. Scott, President Emeritus, Adelphi University and Ramapo College of New Jersey, author of How University Boards Work: A Guide for Trustees, Officers, and Leaders in Higher Education

"The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened American economic anxiety and disrupted the higher education system, calling into question the value of a degree. Koch and Cebula deliver a timely and impactful charge for those governing public universities, and a roadmap to restore public confidence rooted in an agenda of access, affordability, and economic mobility."

- James P. Toscano, President, Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Hardback
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