ERIC Number: EJ793196
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 0
Why Do Higher-Education Costs Rise More Rapidly than Prices in General?
Archibald, Robert B.; Feldman, David H.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v40 n3 p25-31 May-Jun 2008
Why do costs in higher education rise more rapidly than prices in general? They do so due to four factors: (1) higher education is a personal-service industry; (2) higher education relies on highly educated labor; (3) because of increased capital usage (in the form of the new technologies), higher education's reliance on highly educated labor has increased; and (4) the increased use of capital equipment in the form of new technology, and the resulting rise in the proportion of employees hired who are highly skilled, has led to quality enhancements in higher education, not to cost decreases. Such an explanation might not be appealing to some because it seems to deny agency. Costs are going up because of the nature of the industry, not because anyone is doing anything. In contrast, higher-education-specific explanations often place blame on particular actors. The authors do not mean to deny agency. There certainly are individual agents such as college administrators, members of boards, legislators, and governors, all of whom are responsible for decisions that affect costs in higher education. Their analysis here simply highlights the constraints that those agents face when they make the decisions that result in higher costs. It suggests that they are faced with a choice between rising costs and declining quality. (Contains 3 figures and 17 resources.)
Descriptors: Higher Education, Service Occupations, Labor Force, Costs, Educational Quality, Decision Making, Educational Administration, Technology Integration, Educational Attainment
Heldref Publications. 1319 Eighteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Tel: 800-365-9753; Tel: 202-296-6267; Fax: 202-293-6130; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.heldref.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A