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Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much [Hardcover]

By Ronald G. Ehrenberg (Author)
Our Price $ 48.88  
Retail Value $ 57.50  
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Item Number 153496  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.57" Width: 6.58" Height: 1.32"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2000
Publisher   Harvard University Press
ISBN  0674003284  
EAN  9780674003286  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

America's elite colleges and universities are the best in the world. They are also the most expensive, with tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation over the past thirty years and no indication that this trend will abate.

Ronald G. Ehrenberg explores the causes of this tuition inflation, drawing on his many years as a teacher and researcher of the economics of higher education and as a senior administrator at Cornell University. Using incidents and examples from his own experience, he discusses a wide range of topics, including endowment policies, admissions and financial aid policies, the funding of research, tenure and the end of mandatory retirement, information technology, libraries and distance learning, student housing, and intercollegiate athletics.

He shows that elite colleges and universities, having multiple, relatively independent constituencies, suffer from ineffective central control of their costs. And in a fascinating analysis of their response to the ratings published by magazines such as U.S. News & World Report, he shows how they engage in a dysfunctional competition for students.

In the short run, these colleges and universities have little need to worry about rising tuition, since the number of qualified students applying for entrance is rising even faster. But in the long run, it is not at all clear that the increases can be sustained.


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More About Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ronald G. Ehrenberg is Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics at Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

Ronald G. Ehrenberg has an academic affiliation as follows - Cornell University The Brookings Institution The Brookings Institution.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Valuable Source of Information and Insight  Mar 20, 2006
Ronald Ehrenberg builds his analysis on his considerable experience as an economist and a senior administrator working in finance at Cornell University. He successfully manages to link his own practical experience in one school with larger issues facing higher education in general.

The title is a little misleading: The book is not only about tuition but about every source of revenue and every expense that a university or college faces. Ehrenberg thus presents a complex analysis, though in terms that any attentive reader can understand. This is no small achievement. The anecdotes of his experiences at Cornell really make this book fascinating to read, but do not rob it of its general applicability.

I've worked at an institution of higher education not that much different from Cornell for more than 20 years, and I learned a lot from reading this book. I'd like to give it to every member of the faculty and staff at my school so that they would understand better the constraints under which we all operate -- and have a healthier sense too of the challenges to come. Legislators and parents (and students too) ought to learn from it. It is going to take more than one constituency working together to fix the problem he describes.

Unlike another reviewer here, I did not see this book at all as an attempt to justify high college expenses but to explain them. Ehrenberg is very clear that many factors are to blame: from federal policies on financial aid and the reimbursement of indirect research expenses to recalcitrant faculty members who lack the will to cut anything from their budgets, from the increasingly popular college ratings game to local activists who distrust any activity the nonprofit-in-their midst undertakes. He even occasionally includes himself among the culprits. He writes about everything from the problematic combination of voluntary retirement and lifelong tenure to misconceptions about the cost of Title IX. The chapter on parking is alone worth the price of the book. Who knew how much a parking space costs to maintain each year? Read the book, and you will find out.

One myth that this book should explode is that universities are not competitive. Ehrenberg points out, accurately, that universities and colleges are in a kind of "arms race" for prestige and for the best students and faculty. There is not a sufficient brake of price pressure to rein in the increasing costs that this race involves. The price of a college education is also not well understood because of the effect of financial aid, and education is one of those sectors of the economy that is less able than others to take advantage of productivity gains. It will be interesting to see what comes in the years ahead as the pressure to reduce expenses in higher education grows. This book is an excellent place to start in understanding this challenge.

In looking toward the future, I do have one small criticism. This book was first published in 2000; it was revised and a new preface added in 2002. But most of the evidence and discussion is based on research from the 1990s. College finances are constantly changing, so there are some parts of the analysis that are dated. For example, US News and World Report has already altered some of the criteria that Ehrenberg criticizes here (e.g., the report of yield rates), so his analysis of the effects of the ratings is a little out of date. There are, I'm sure, other examples. I wish that he would revise it again, but perhaps that would be asking for a different book.
Writing from the Ivory Tower  Jul 11, 2003
Tuition Rising is serious disappointment. The entire book is a long-winded justification of why college cost so much. Instead of exploring on a few fundamental social or governmental changes affecting college tuition, the author simply discusses in-depth each expense that schools have. For example, there is a whole chapter on parking and transportation, and another chapter just about cooling systems.

While Ehrenberg rambles on about the minutia of college finances, he never really explains why colleges' expenses rise at a much faster rate than other sectors of the economy. Many businesses must pay for transportation, cooling, and everything else that colleges do, do not have skyrocketing prices.

Tuition Rising does not ever mention the possibility that government financial aid programs have given universities the green light to spend excessively, since many students can get loans or grants to cover the cost increases. College costs are no longer subject to free-market economics, which generally causes prices to be low. In fact, Ehrenberg thinks the problem of college affordability can be alleviate with more federal financial aid!

This book is at best a boring compilation of college expenditures. Worse yet, Tuition Rising makes high tuition increases seem unavoidable, or even justified.

Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much  May 9, 2001
Ehrenberg's insight is amazing and the book is full of important and interesting information. As a parent of a college student, I found the book to be very helpful in explaining why tuition continues to increase at an incredible rate, why college administrators make the decisions they do and how tuition relates (or doesn't) to the quality of higher education. It is a wonderful resource for parents, students and educators, anyone who is interested in higher education. Kudos to Ehrenberg on a job well done!
High school counselor  Feb 12, 2001
As a high school guidance counselor I can see the immediate value of Mr. Ehrenberg's book. In fact, it is the best book on the subject which I have read. It should also be of tremendous value to parents of college bound children and to college administrators. The language is highly accessible and the author makes his points clearly and succinctly. This book is a welcome addition to the field, and perhaps the very best of its kind.
Ehrenberg Does It Again  Nov 1, 2000
This masterpiece represents Ehrenberg at his best and is, by far, the most important work of his illustrious and distinguished career. Mr. Ehrenberg's most recent work far supercedes previous works on the subjects of college costs and tuition. This book thoroughly explains why collge costs have risen expendentially over the past decade. Additionally, the text explains, in colorful and thoughtful detail, why (unlike their corporate counterparts)colleges cannot be run "efficiently" and/or cost-effectively. In sum, Ehrenberg's analysis and explanation of the rising cost of college tuition is a must read for all university administrators, academics, and parents preparing to send their children off to college.

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