Stats on Where Your College Tuition Goes

Summer is almost here and schools are about out for 2011, many families with high school juniors and seniors are mapping out their college visits.  Will they stay in state or go to out of state colleges?  The price of an education is priceless, but can you afford it?  Where does your tuition go?

It seems that every year, tuition bills rise, often with no discernible change in education. So where does all that extra money go?

We explore college expenditures here.

  1. 629 schools have football teams, and almost all of them lose money: Colleges spend a lot of money on athletic teams, and nearly all of them are unprofitable, even those with national names. Out of 629 schools that have football teams, only 14 will actually make money.
  2. Colleges spend $25 billion on construction: Gyms, research labs, child care facilities, classrooms, and more must be built, maintained, and renovated for schools to keep up with student needs and expectations. Higher education construction is a $25 billion industry.
  3. The percentage spent on instruction is increasing below the rate of inflation: From 1987-1996, the percent change in instruction spending per full-time students at private research universities was 2.2%, but from 1998-2005, spending only increased 1%.
  4. Fees make up most of your tuition money: At Asbury University, 21.2% of the budget came from room and board charges, with 19.4% going directly into expenses, setting the remaining amount aside for renovations.
  5. Tenured professor salaries are considerably low: The median salary for a tenured professor is $76,200, or, about the cost of two students’ tuition at top-ranked schools. The cost of professors is not a real factor for the increase in tuition.
  6. Most students get financial aid: In the 2007-08 academic school year, 66% of undergraduates received financial aid. Schools set aside money for need-based financial aid, which in turn increases tuition and fees for all students.
  7. College presidents are earning more: Since 1991, many college presidents have doubled their salaries in inflation-adjusted dollars. For example, Carleton’s president earns 2.4 times more than the same position 19 years ago.
  8. Administration, student services, and maintenance drive most spending increases: In 2006, public universities spent $4,000 per student per year on administration and related costs. That’s up by over 13% from what was spent in 1995.
  9. Colleges spend millions on entertainment: Travel and entertainment are major expenses for universities. For example, Kansas State University spent $9 million in travel and entertainment related expenses in 2010.
  10. Student services, research, and instruction make up most of the budget: The average public research university will spend about $9,732 on instruction, $7,661 on student services, and $5,567 on research per full time student.
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