Why Are Colleges Getting So Expensive?

People like to ask why “college” is getting so expensive, but they need a better question. There are almost 7,000 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S., from public community colleges, to public research universities, to Ivy League bastions. Even beginning to say, “here’s what college costs” is like saying “here’s what food tastes like.” It’s a big, useless generalization.

Different schools are getting expensive for different reasons. The most important reason that public schools are raising tuition is that their states are cutting education spending. The most important reason that tony private schools are raising tuition, however, isn’t state budgets shrinking, but rather the schools’ budgets swelling, as they spend more on research and campus amenities to attract the world’s best and brightest.