Report: Americans aren’t getting what they pay for when it comes to higher education

Sterling Beard

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  • The American Council of Trustees and Alumni examined 52 flagship universities to determine if people get their money's worth.
  • The schools have bloated administrations, "shaky" curricula and "misplaced priorities."
  • Only 53.6 percent of students at these schools complete a four-year degree in four years.
  • A new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni shows that Americans aren’t getting their money’s worth when it comes to 52 leading institutions of higher education.

    In Getting What You Pay For?, ACTA found that the cost of higher education at the 52 publicly-funded institutions have “[b]loated administrative costs, shaky curricula, outsized athletic spending, and misplaced priorities.”

    As a result, 32 of the institutions examined in the report pay their president a salary equal to or greater than that of President Barack Obama ($400,000). The average salary for a full professor at these schools is $133,194.

    Many universities have dozens of majors that graduate fewer than 10 students annually; at some schools, these small programs make up over a third of all programs offered. At the University of Vermont, such programs account for 43.6 percent of the school’s bachelor programs.

    Despite such small programs, just 53.6 percent of the students pursuing a four-year degree at these universities graduate in four years.

    Moreover, none of the universities require so much as a basic economics course. Only five require an American history or government course.

    “The American people are directing millions of dollars to these universities and the return on investment seems too often to be lower academic standards, wasteful spending, and plenty of student debt,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal in a release. “It’s time for our colleges and universities to uphold their commitment to the people who finance them.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SterlingCBeard

    Sterling Beard

    Sterling Beard


    Sterling Beard is Campus Reform’s editor-in-chief. Previously, he worked as an Editorial Associate at National Review Online, a Staff Writer at The Hilland as Campus Reform’s news editor.

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