Trustees | Costs

Higher college tuition need not be a given

WASHINGTON POST   |  May 29, 2015 by Michael Poliakoff

Molly Corbett Broad’s May 24 Local Opinions essay, “Aboard the college tuition roller coaster,” would have us believe that, if state support goes down, tuition prices must go up — as if by some law of nature. This mind-set, common among former and current college presidents, has fueled the rise of tuition prices in recent decades.

There are better responses to state budget cuts than putting tuition hikes on the backs of students or asking taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden. The University of Maryland has pioneered cost-cutting measures and implemented a 10 percent systemwide increase in teaching productivity. Between 2008 and 2013, while many institutions were increasing tuition prices, tuition rose less than 1 percent at Maryland. This deserves not blame but praise and encouragement to go further.  

Members of the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents should look at controlling growth in administrative spending. Between 2007 and 2012, administrative spending at the College Park campus rose by almost 24 percent while instructional spending grew by only 7 percent. The United States spends more per higher education student than other nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Asking students and taxpayers to write a blank check is more likely to fuel wastefulness than access to education and quality instruction.


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