Board Members Think College is Too Pricey –

The cost of attending college has proven to be an issue for parents and students alike. Although some schools’ efforts to implement tuition freezes and lower tuition might help ease the financial strain, the reality is many people simply are unable to afford a higher education.

A recent report by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) examined the attitudes of board members across the nation on the topic of higher education costs. The report, which includes survey responses of more than 2,500 board members, found that the majority of board members think the cost of a higher education is too high, except at their own institutions.

Sixty-two percent said their institution costs what it should relative to its value, compared to only 38% who said higher education in general costs what it should relative to its value. Additionally, 55% said higher education costs in general are too expensive relative to its value.

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The report also found that 35% of board members at public colleges and universities believed their own institution cost less than its value, compared to 19% of those at independent institutions. Interestingly, the average tuition in 2012-2013 for independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities is $29,056 – more than three times the in-state tuition at public, four-year institutions, which is $8,655.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed (36% public and 45% independent) said their institution is doing all it can to keep tuition affordable for students. Twenty-nine percent said their institution could be doing more – and 13% said their institution could be doing much more – to make tuition more affordable for students.

The survey also addressed views on higher education as it relates to careers, quality of life, and community engagement. Not surprisingly, most board members were more satisfied with their own institution than with the higher education sector overall. The overwhelming majority, at least 88%, agreed or strongly agreed that higher education and their respective institution prepare graduates well in all three categories: careers, better lives, and community engagement.

When questioned whether the U.S. needed more citizens to earn college degrees, only 39% strongly agreed, while 19% did not agree.

The report author deduces from the survey responses that board members focus on their own institutions rather than higher education in general, and think more highly of their own institution than the entire educational sector.

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