By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous.
What cannot be defended, however, is the claim that tuition has risen because public funding for higher education has been cut. Despite its ubiquity, this claim flies directly in the face of the facts.
*I like to think of myself as a faculty member with administrative responsibilities. I still teach (although slightly less than I did five years ago), I still produce research (although slightly less than I did five years ago) and I still engage in outreach (I'm still blogging). I have no plans to add myself to the growing rolls of administrators at levels higher than me, although as an economist I have trouble blaming those who choose that path for doing so. I'm sure if someone were to offer me a sizable increase to take on a true adminsitrative position, I would give it its due consideration. In fact, let's give it a try.
Someone make me an offer.