[Homestead] Cost of College

Bill Jones billj at harborside.com
Sat Feb 19 19:30:41 EST 2005

Marie wrote (to paraphrase):

 >No one could afford any college without subsidies.

To get an idea how much college costs, I went to a California Community 
College website.  They currently reimburse colleges at around $4400 per 
year for every full-time student.  This is the only money a college 
officially receives, other than local donations, independent grants, 
etc.  That's around $150 a unit.  The college I attended here in Oregon 
has tuition almost equal to that.  I think you'll find that most states' 
tuition to be similar.  Where subsidization is greater, as in 
California, the fees charged to the enrollee are but a fraction of that.

But there's no doubt that $100 a unit is about the minimum you could run 
a college for, especially with fewer suits running around scheduling 
faculty meetings.  It's the same number you get if you figure from the 
point of view of teachers' salaries vs. class size.  A teacher is paid 
$30,000 to manage 30 enrollees in 5 classes per semester, two semesters 
a year.  In a three-unit class, the first unit's worth pays the 
teacher's salary (or more) and the remainder goes to the Deanery and for 
building maintenance.  Actually they now have a law that forces 
administrators to spend at least 50% of the monies reimbursed to them by 
the state on actual instruction in CA.  Imagine that.  But it's all 
sucked up by $60,000 a year algebra (a high school subject) teachers who 
often have no qualms about xeroxing old multiple choice tests anyway.  
What other job is there where the more parked in a rut you become, the 
more money you automatically make?

Unfortunately no law yet dictates what proportion of the remainder the 
administration must spend on building maintenance, which accounts for 
the crumbling facilities I've seen.

This mock war carried between two groups of government employees, who 
would ordinarily be labeled "labor" and "management" if they were 
constrained by anything like real-life accountability, is costing CA 
about $5 billion a year.


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