Colleges spend more on recreation than class

According to a new study of college costs, American colleges are spending a smaller share of their budgets on instruction, and more on recreational facilities for students and on administration, reports the New York Times. The report, based on government data, documents a growing stratification of wealth across America’s system of higher education. At the top of the pyramid are private colleges and universities, which educate a small portion of the nation’s students, while public universities and community colleges serve greater numbers, have fewer resources, and are seeing tuitions rise most rapidly. The United States is reputed to have the world’s wealthiest postsecondary education system, with average spending of around $19,000 per student compared with $8,400 across other developed countries, says the report, “Trends in College Spending 1998-2008,” by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for controlling costs to keep college affordable. “Our analysis shows that these comparisons are misleading,” said Jane Wellman, the project’s executive director. “While the United States has some of the wealthiest institutions in the world, it also has a system of postsecondary education with far more economic stratification than is true of any other country.” Community colleges, which enroll about a third of students, spend close to $10,000 per student per year, while the private research institutions, which enroll far fewer students, spend an average $35,000 a year for each one…

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