This article highlights Richard Vedder’s thoughts on why college isn’t getting more affordable:

Some college officials are also compensated more handsomely than CEOs. Since 2000, New York University has provided $90 million in loans, many of them zero-interest and forgivable, to administrators and faculty to buy houses and summer homes on Fire Island and the Hamptons.

Former Ohio State President Gordon Gee (who resigned in June after making defamatory remarks about Catholics) earned nearly $2 million in compensation last year while living in a 9,630 square-foot Tudor mansion on a 1.3-acre estate. The Columbus Camelot includes $673,000 in art decor and a $532 shower curtain in a guest bathroom. Ohio State also paid roughly $23,000 per month for Mr. Gee’s soirees and half a million for him to travel the country on a private jet. Such taxpayer-funded extravagance has not made its way into Mr. Obama’s speeches.

Colleges have also used the gusher of taxpayer dollars to hire more administrators to manage their bloated bureaucracies and proliferating multicultural programs. The University of California system employs 2,358 administrative staff in just its president’s office.

The thought that a university president would get $2,000,000 in compensation is awful enough. The fact that he got that in addition to living in a 10,000 sq.ft. home while travelling the country in a private jet is infuriating. Add to that the fact that he made “defamatory remarks about Catholics” and you’ve got the profile of an over-compensated spoiled brat.

That 2,358 administrative staff work in the Univerity of California’s president’s office speaks to how out of touch universities have gotten. It gets worse:

Many colleges, he notes, are using federal largess to finance Hilton-like dorms and Club Med amenities. Stanford offers more classes in yoga than Shakespeare. A warning to parents whose kids sign up for “Core Training”: The course isn’t a rigorous study of the classics, but rather involves rigorous exercise to strengthen the glutes and abs.

St. Cloud State is a blue collar university. This isn’t disrespectful. It’s a characterization of the backgrounds students come from. Their version of the “Hilton-like dorms” is the Coborns Plaza. Silence Dogood wrote about that in this post:

Coborn’s Plaza apartments have been a well-kept secret since they opened in the fall of 2010. Even getting accurate occupancy numbers during the first two years was difficult and only given in whispers with those hearing the secrets being sworn to secrecy. Some of that secrecy ended November 13, 2012 when Len Sippel, Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, released the list of approved funding for permanent investments that included $2,250,000 for the “Coborn’s Welcome Center.”

This eye-popping number actually covers the deficit for Coborn’s Plaza for the last two years so the loss only averages $1,125,000 per year. The amount of the loss for the first year for Coborn’s Plaza has never been shared with the Faculty Association or made public.

Based on Vedder’s interview and local reporting, fiscal mismanagement isn’t just the norm at high profile universities. Everyone’s gotten on the gravy train. (Is this what President Obama meant when he talked about spreading the wealth around?)

Then there’s this:

Or consider Princeton, which recently built a resplendent $136 million student residence with leaded glass windows and a cavernous oak dining hall (paid for in part with a $30 million tax-deductible donation by Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman). The dorm’s cost approached $300,000 per bed.

Many of these presidents think that cavernous, gleaming monstrosities are part of their legacies. They aren’t. University presidents aren’t high profile enough to have legacies like presidents and senators have. Furthermore, they’re supposed to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. Clearly, that isn’t happening.

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