On Sunday, The Attleboro Sun Chronicle posted an editorial about the ‘perks’ many of our college-level administrators and teachers receive. As more money becomes available for student loans, colleges have no reason to cut their costs or seriously consider how they spend their money. The Sun Chronicle pointed out some of the things currently impacting the cost of a college education.
The article reports:
But that could be changing, putting the economic future of many Massachusetts citizens – and the fiscal future of the state as a whole – in jeopardy.
As an example, at Bridgewater State University, which draws scores of undergraduates from the local area, students face a potential $700 increase in student fees next fall, the largest hike since 2007.
Bridgewater State’s board of trustees is already projecting a 4 percent reduction in department budgets alongside the increase in fees, as Sun Chronicle correspondent Kayla Canne noted in an April 9 story.
Since 2007, the state’s Department of Higher Education says, tuition and fees at Bridgewater gradually increased from $5,866 to $8,928.
Part of this is due to the failure of the Legislature to fully fund the state’s higher education budget, particularly the $8 million in union contracts that universities have negotiated with faculty and staff.
But it also makes it all the harder to justify the perks of office handed out to top university administrators.
Dana Mohler-Faria, Bridgewater’s ex-president, cashed in his unused sick and vacation time for a one-time payment of $269,984, accepted a $183,421 annual pension in addition to an annual $100,000 consulting contract with the school. (Mohler-Faria eventually gave up the consulting contract after facing criticism.) His perks were hardly unique, however. A recent story in The Sun Chronicle by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that presidents and other top administrators at public colleges and universities are provided houses, cars, free tuition for their spouses and children, country club dues and other perks. Some are eligible for bonuses of up to $201,000 per year.
Might some of this be responsible for the high cost of a college education? When you consider that the government took over the student loan program during the Obama Administration, leaving the taxpayers on the hook for defaults on college loans, the cost of a college education becomes important to everyone. It’s time for colleges to look at their budgets and consider how they are spending their money.