Think your kid is getting a great college education?

American colleges are spending a smaller share of their budgets on instruction, and more on recreational facilities for students and on administration, according to a new study of college costs.

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…

Community colleges, which enroll about a third of students, spend close to $10,000 per student per year, Jane Wellman said, while the private research institutions, which enroll far fewer students, spend an average $35,000 a year for each one…

Tuition, on average, rose more rapidly over the decade at public institutions than it did at private ones. Average tuition rose 45 percent at public research universities and 36 percent at community colleges from 1998 to 2008, compared with about 21 percent at private research universities.

But the trend toward increased spending on nonacademic areas prevailed across the higher education spectrum, with public and private, elite and community colleges increasing expenditures more for student services than for instruction, the report said…

“This is the country-clubization of the American university,” said Richard Vedder, a professor at Ohio University who studies the economics of higher education. “A lot of it is for great athletic centers and spectacular student union buildings. In the zeal to get students, they are going after them on the basis of recreational amenities…”

Yes, truly American standards prevail. Let’s send our kiddies to country club-colleges where they can expand their recreation skills. Spend the dollars for bragging rights to the best basketball or football team money can buy – instead of outfitting student brains and bodies with lifetime sports.

The biggest University in New Mexico spent $650,000 for a football coach who gave us a winning season – whoop-de-doo! He got into fights with staff which required a 6-figure PR consultant to gloss over in the media. All important parts of a collegiate education.

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