As Student Loans Grow, So Does University Leadership Pay

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, May 17, 2012

For all the flak Wall Street gets over excessive pay, it's only fair to take a closer look at compensation at America's universities.

The topic deserves attention, as the rise in student debt forces colleges to confront soaring costs. This week, The New York Times began its series on the implications of graduates struggling to pay off student loans. The reporters crunched some disturbing numbers: More than 66% of students who earn a bachelor's degree now borrow to pay for higher education, compared with 45% in 1993.

The borrowing binge has gone on for years. And although studies show college does pay off over the long haul, student loans have been particularly troublesome for recent graduates as they deal with a weak job market. In 2011, the average debt was $23,300, with 10% owing more than $54,000 and 3% more than $100,000.

College costs are rising while education funding from the government shrinks. From 2001 to 2011, tuition and fees at state schools soared 72%, compared with only 29% at nonprofit private institutions. During the same period, state and local funding per student fell by 24% nationwide.

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