US colleges are spending a smaller share of their budgets on instruction, and more on recreational facilities for students and on administration, according to a new study of college costs.
The report, based on government data, documents a growing stratification of wealth across America’s system of higher education.
The study of trends in revenues and spending by American institutions of higher education from 1998 through 2008 traces how the patterns at elite private institutions like Harvard University and Amherst College differed from sprawling public universities like Ohio State and community colleges like Alabama Southern.
Community colleges spend close to $10,000 per student per year, while the private research institutions, spend an average $35,000 a year for each one.
But the trend toward increased spending on nonacademic areas prevailed across the higher education spectrum, with public and private, elite and community colleges increasing expenditures more for student services than for instruction.
The student services category can include spending on career counseling and financial aid offices, but also on intramural athletics and student centers.
On average, spending on instruction increased 22 per cent over the decade at private research universities, about the same as tuition.
The New York Times