The Delta Cost Project disseminated their findings a couple of years ago, but they are back in the news, because the Obama administration has discovered them and used their insights to scare University Presidents in his recent State of the Union address, by suggesting future federal higher education monies will be tied to holding the line on tuition costs.
The upshot of their 2010 report is this:
(1) University costs have increased primarily due to more money going to research, student services, instructional support, administration and athletics; meaning, those schools that did less of these things were better able to hold down their costs.
(2) Universities raise money for pet projects rather than for core instructional support or for programs tied to greater student achievement
(3) Universities are increasingly rewarding faculty who teach less and publish “second rate papers on third-rate issues for fourth-rate journals”.
I find it difficult to argue with their findings, but it seems if the Obama administration would like to do things correctly, they should not punish all schools, but rather those who are “sinning” in the above ways and honoring those who are “living right”.