Study suggests tuition increases stem from allocation of university resources

A recent study by American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research identified that the rise in college tuition stems from the ways in which traditional colleges and universities organize and allocate resources, and not lavish university facilities and extra student services.

The author, Oklahoma State University professor Vance Fried, stated in the paper, which was published June 24,  that research was an essential part of some universities, but since did not contribute much to an undergraduate’s education, said the universities needed to make sure research costs did not translate into increased tuition fees.

“Higher education insiders sometimes point to the increasing cost of auxiliary services like student housing and big-time athletics as a major cause of large tuition increases. This is a red herring,” Fried said in a statement. “Football, good food, and hot tubs are not the reason for runaway college spending. Rather, the root cause is the high cost of performing the instructional, research, and public-service missions of the undergraduate university.”

One particular reason for rising tuition costs identified in the study was funding for research at universities.

Graham Fleming, the vice chancellor of research at UC Berkeley, told ABC News that despite the economic pressures the public universities were experiencing, eliminating research was not an option.

The news comes on top of increasing difficulty among UC campuses in retaining faculty members. According to a report issued to the UC Board of Regents in January 2011, more UC faculty members have been leaving to work at other universities, one main reason being that private universities are able to offer higher salaries.