Acton Institute Powerblog

Causes of Increasing Tuition

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Harvey Silverglate on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) blog, The Torch, passes on one explanation for why college tuition costs have been increasing at double digit rates for years on end. He writes in part:

Alan Charles Kors and I posited one answer to the seeming puzzle in our book The Shadow University. We noted the extraordinary increase in administrative staff on the student life side of colleges and universities. We attributed this in large measure to the vast increase in the university’s control over and interference in students’ non-academic lives, under the rubric of the university’s resurgent in loco parentis role. This development, commencing in the 1980s, coincided with the entrenchment of the notion that students in the newly diversified American university could not learn to get along without administrative micro-management, “sensitivity training,” imposition of forced “civility” with the aid of speech codes, and other such devices seeking to avoid “offense” being inflicted upon, or at least felt by, students, particularly those in “historically disadvantaged” groups. These vast new armies of student life administrators were seen as necessary, too, to protect universities from liability under new anti-harassment legislation and regulations—or so it seemed to timid administrators and the general counsel who advise them. The result has been an academic culture as sterile as it is oppressive.

This corresponds with a move away from education (properly understood) in favor of indoctrination.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.