“Equity” Lunacy: The Real Reason College Costs are Skyrocketing

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Ohio State

Last Month, American Enterprise Institute Scholar and Economics professor Mark J. Perry made a startling revelation. While reviewing Ohio State University’s financial disclosure forms, he discovered that the university had over 130 “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) employees. Their combined salary commanded $13.4 million of the university’s budget – enough to fund the in-state tuition of more than 1,100 students. Three administrators alone currently make over $250,000 each. These administrators do not teach classes, coach, or assist in the educational pursuits of the student body. Their sole responsibility is the promotion of “diversity” and “inclusion”– without much of an explanation at all for what that really means. But as controversial as that may seem, Ohio State is far from an outlier among universities, underscoring a far more prevalent problem in higher education.

According to a recent Heritage Foundation report, the average university has more than 45 individuals focused solely on DEI issues. Some schools have even more DEI administrators than Ohio State – the University of Michigan has 163. Overall, in a study of 65 schools, DEI staff outnumbered history professors by 40 percent. For every 100 tenured or tenure-track professors, there were 3.4 people working to promote DEI. At the University of Virginia, that number is 6.5. At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, there are 13 people devoted to promoting DEI for every one person devoted to assisting people with disabilities – something that is actually required by law. Moreover, these figures don’t even address the astronomical sums spent on so-called “DEI initiatives” at universities each year.

While promoting diversity of thought and supporting historically underrepresented students is a noble and admirable goal, the reality is often far from this ideal. DEI offices in recent years have found a calling in targeting conservative speakers and viewpoints on campuses, in some cases banning them outright. As one current Ohio State student detailed in an article for National Review, the school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has funded a “Black Lives Matter public art initiative” in the form of murals in the school’s library, sent out an email discouraging students from attending a lecture by prominent conservative thinker Ben Shapiro, and advised students not to interact with a gun rights group that came to campus to inform students about the Second Amendment. Last fall, DePaul University banned Shapiro from speaking at all in a pre-scheduled campus event. A Wall Street Journal article from last year further detailed how “DEI monomania” is affecting professors as well. Now, the most important hiring consideration isn’t someone’s research credentials or teaching record, but rather their ability to speak to how they “support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.”

But the worst indictment of the mission creep of college DEI offices might be that they don’t even appear to be helping minority students have a better college experience or even graduate in higher numbers. Several schools with the largest number of diversity administrators report the lowest levels of minority student satisfaction.

One new report even suggests DEI offices are harming minority students far more than they’re helping. According to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, none of these programs substantively moved “the needle on graduation rates at 4-year public colleges.” Ironically, they’ve done the opposite for minority students; these ever-growing diversity administrators constitute a significant expense in the already bloated budget of American colleges. Those expenses get passed down to students via increased tuition costs. These increased costs make college less accessible for minority students who disproportionately face economic challenges. By one estimate, “a $1,000 increase in tuition and fees caused the racial and ethnic diversity of first-time, full-time freshmen to decline by 4.5%.”

Administrators will defend their schools’ high tuition prices by assuring students that they can seek financial aid. However, even those students who do manage to meet the diversity criteria necessary to receive such aid will still likely find themselves saddled by thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, in student loans.

Ironically, as the price of education has increased over time, the value of that education has decreased. A recent study found, in what seems a paradox, that college graduates were less civically intelligent than high school graduates. With a growing shortage of skilled trades, many young people who choose to forego college in favor of trade school or another employment opportunity now find themselves better off than their college-bound peers. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that college enrollment is on the decline.

College administrators know the value of their degrees is plummeting. Yet, if they raise the academic standards, enrollment will suffer heavily. Perhaps this is why most schools don’t advertise the educational value of their institutions. Instead, they promote the “experience” and the “culture” of higher education. For liberal college administrators, DEI offices are a convenient way to claim their “commitment” to diversity. However, if they actually want to improve the student experience, they might consider following Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s lead in ditching all the “equity” labels in favor of another word that would be a far more admirable and legitimate pursuit – “opportunity.” That is, after all, what higher education is supposed to provide.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture. 

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1 year ago

Our colleges and universities are OUT-of-CONTROL. They’ve been allowed to impose far left wing policies, ideologies and propaganda on our NAIVE, IGNORANT children, funded by OUR MONEY. How STUPID IS THAT – ON OUR PART!

1 year ago

My Children went to State College. The cost was not near of private College. Besides if parents are paying students just party and not focus on studying. So if our government is going to pay for college. We will be paying for them to party and not studying?

1 year ago

Typical marxist democrat hypocrisy and policy of ruining children’s education with their propaganda.
Check out the Pennsylvania school board member who wrote ” I don’t work for the parents in out district and they are ignorant of the best way to teach kids”.
The arrogance and entitlement attitude of these clowns is sickening!
Throw them out now!

1 year ago

The universities take advantage of the parents and students. They are BIG money and the leaders and profs call out BIG business, what bulls..t. All they care about is the bottom line. Giving degrees that will never be useful. Students will not be about to find a job. More money and usefulness being a plumber, manager at WaWa, etc. etc…………………

Kevin W
1 year ago

2 years ago my friend told me his daughter, a student at an expensive New England college, had to submit her senior year return to school forms. She had to list what pronouns she wanted to be used for her identification.
I said to him “How much does this college cost?” He said “About $35,000 a year.”
I told him “She could have gotten the same education at a communist reeducation camp with books, classes, room and board for free!”
He laughed, but the last laugh has been on all of us.

1 year ago

Just too many so called educators who NEVER work being paid WAY TOO MUCH to encourage hating America.
The education system is a total failure!

1 year ago

The core problem is cowardice. Everyone involved knows this is all bs but most are scared stiff to say anything. Ever since the sixties when short timer college presidents decided to go along with sit ins and building take overs, radicals have been emboldened.

1 year ago
Reply to  Morbious

Time to replace all these marxist so called educators!
They are merely propaganda distributors while filling their own pockets with taxpayers money!

George Mason
1 year ago

There are several other reasons that are driving up higher college tuition costs. The first one is the federal government’s takeover of our country’s tuition loan program. The Obama program gave “no question asked” loans to any student who wanted to have all their living expenses paid for them after their high school graduation and all they had to do was to attend college. Many just partied the first semester. The loans were granted without any consideration of the ability of the student to repay the loan nor any concern for taxpayers who would be forced to cover the default should the student default on their loan. What could go wrong under this policy? (Democrats love to buy votes on taxpayers’ money). Everybody could go to college, and many decided that free living expenses for 4 – 5 years without having to pay it back until they left room, was just too good a deal to pass up. So, what happened? Colleges saw and took the opportunity to raise their costs, hire more staff, etc. It is called supply and demand. The greater the demand the high the price.

The second reason college costs are high has been in existed since the first college was opened in our country. Unfortunately, prior to the 1950s and 1960s, students graduated from high school without an adequate understanding of basic math, science, English, literature, social studies principles. As a result, the first two years of college was set aside to teach basic math, science, English, Literature, Social studies to these students. Colleges was forced to fix the education deficit of its entering students by requiring students to take classes in these subjects before taking classes in their chosen career field. However, public education since the 1960s has corrected this issue. Students now take pre-college classes. Four years of English and literature, sciences, math, and social studies are provided to all their students. Colleges should have adjusted their requirements but that would mean smaller enrollment, firing of teachers, cut in admin pay, etc. Colleges today should be finishing schools that offer only those classes needed by their students to be successful in their chosen career field. Colleges should be working closely with employers of their grads to understand their needs.

1 year ago
Reply to  George Mason

Very well said and completely correct.

1 year ago
Reply to  George Mason

I offer that another reason for escalating tuition is the on-campus shops. Colleges are building small $ocial communities where students can lounge with their $tarbucks, buy at college logo ‘$hoppe$’, and lunch and dine in trendy WOKE cafe$. Attractive apartment-like dorm$ surround the social gathering space, which usually has great views of the ‘green space$’ and usele$$ fountain$. Kids that are paying their own way, or whose hard-working parents are sacrificing to send them to college, either give in to peer pressure and spend $$ they can’t afford, or are on the outside of the $ocial $phere looking in. $ad.

The Old Crab
1 year ago
Reply to  George Mason

WRT “Colleges today should be finishing schools that offer only those classes needed by their students to be successful in their chosen career field.”:

I went to college to become a high-school mathematics teacher. I needed 124 credit hours to graduate, and graduated with 125 (in 1970), but only 37 of them were in my major – a LOT of the remainder were courses I HAD to take. Oh, sure, these were “electives”, but when you have a choice between philosophy and anthropology as the only two humanities electives that are offered, what do you choose? I went to college to study mathematics, not philosophy or anthropology.

And, of course, if you fail a course, you get to take it over (and pay for it) again.

As it turned out, the teacher shortage was ending (at least in Pennsylvania) starting around 1968. By the time I graduated, I couldn’t find a job in an inner-city ghetto school, let alone a suburban school – and I was not alone. The jobs just weren’t there: one school district north of Pittsburgh had 11 openings and over 1200 applicants! I found out later that I probably could have gotten a teaching job out of state, but what would I have done for money to live on while looking for work in other places?

Bottom line: I never taught in a public high-school. I enlisted in the Air Force, trained in the data-processing field, got out 4 years later, and (praise God) was never unemployed a day in my life until I retired at 69. So, for me, my college degree was just a right-of-passage.

Mic J Palazzolo
1 year ago

Any person willing to pay for a “college education” provided by institutions of higher indoctrination should have their head examined. Exception: Hillsdale, Liberty, and PragerU. Best choice and price: Vocational skilled trade training.

1 year ago

College = A legalized Ponzi type scheme

1 year ago
Reply to  Robert

I suggest you might want to add The Masters University to the list of exceptions.

Wayne Peterkin
1 year ago

First, as someone who pays their obligations I have zero sympathy for those who freely chose to get into deep debt to finance college, and nothing but contempt for morons who choose educations with no future earnings potential. They borrowed it, they owe it, and they should be forced to pay it back without taxpayer help. Second, college costs are a scandal and the solution is forcing college administrators to sit in front of tough congressional committees and publicly explain the justification for today’s college costs including where all the money goes.

1 year ago

Fire them all! They are welfare recipient. They drain the colleges they work at. Who needs them?

1 year ago

I wonder if the Federal Govt. and some of the protest groups have anything to do with Universities having to have these positions?

1 year ago
Reply to  johnh

Of course they do. A place for friends of friends to make a great living doing absolutely nothing.

Witness Firsthand
1 year ago

I’m a first-hand witness to this. The university my daughter attends is almost a whopping $50,000 / year, with very little value to show for it. I’m so glad she will be graduating soon! The university has created an entire building and staff dedicated to “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion”. Yet they have no decent facilities for her major. She could no longer live on campus because of the garbage she had to endure from the insanity of the “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” mantra crammed down the student’s throats. Genuine learning has taken a back seat to wasteful, over-expensed, propagandist philosophy.

1 year ago

Did time in an “honors” college in the early 70’s. Was subjected to “pronoun” indoctrination. Yes, way back when. Left school to get a real education, a real job. Bull stuff free…!

1 year ago

The “culture” of higher education is rotten to the core in many, if not most, of these liberal colleges!

1 year ago

Hey, they want transparency then they need to explain every dollar spent across the board in every department including those tenured employees who claim exemptions from being fired. And create a better way for grants to be given and utilized without suing fraud claims of need. Any grant has to be used for learning expenses only, to avoid being used for non-school expenses.

Stephen Russell
1 year ago

So tuitions are NOT equity based??
Chap 7 the colleges then

sick of the stupid
1 year ago

Been saying this for years that these so called higher learning schools are just ripping off the treasury of the USA with student loans and these kids get scammed and come out with a worthless degree but plenty of loans. Now the Dems through build back stupid who have supported this diversity racism crap in these schools have only increased racism and now want the rest of the population to pay for their bloated salaries their junk degrees their bloated system and mismanagement. No Way. Start teaching what the country needs, Math , science, engineers etc. things that will benefit the nation not thise social justice crap.

Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Many of the “great” colleges have multi-billion dollar endowments, yet charge exorbitant tuitions! How about they absorb some of the cost. Or better yet fire the professors who don’t teach at all or teach useless topics like Latino studies, black studies, LBTGQ studies, and all the other crap!

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