New Study Outlines 12 Reasons for Soaring College Costs

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Higher education think tank releases new report on why college costs continue to rise and questions whether we are "over-investing" in higher education.

Today, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), a higher education think tank based in Washington, DC, released a new study outlining 12 reasons for soaring college tuition and questioning whether the government is spending too much money on higher education as a whole.

The report, "Over Invested and Over Priced: American Higher Education Today" offers a fresh perspective on the financial problems plaguing America's colleges and universities and urges government bodies to adopt reforms consistent with free-market principles. The study is authored by Dr. Richard Vedder, director of CCAP, who served as a member of the Secretary of Education's National Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

"As our new report outlines, most of what is wrong with higher education today can be boiled down to 12 reasons. It is imperative that we address these 12 problems if we want to truly make college more affordable for students and families and less of a burden for taxpayers," Vedder said.

The report questions common conventional wisdom about higher education such as that colleges and universities benefit the economy and that more government spending on higher education lowers tuition.

"From our regression results, it seems that the conventional wisdom might be wrong. Our data shows that the more states spend on higher education, the lower the growth in personal income per capita in future time periods," Vedder said. "What's more, where is this extra government money going? Our research indicates that a large portion of incremental state university spending goes for frills that do little to promote either education or economic growth. Colleges and universities spend the money on fancy recreation facilities, larger university bureaucracies, and higher salaries for personnel, not lowering tuition for the average student."

In his report, Vedder urges colleges and universities as well as government bodies supporting higher education to introduce more market-oriented reforms.

"The academy needs market reforms like those that are commonplace in the private sector. Enacting some of the basic reforms that I discuss in this report will help slow down the outrageous rise in college tuition, make colleges more accountable to students and families, and ease their over-reliance on government funding," Vedder said.    

The report can be downloaded from the CCAP website at: http://www.collegeaffordability.net. A printed version of the report can also be obtained by calling CCAP offices at 202-375-7831.

Dr. Vedder is also available for media interviews about this report and its findings. To schedule an interview, please contact CCAP at 202-375-7831.

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BRYAN O'KEEFE
Center for College Affordability and Productivity
202-375-7831
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