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Private college spending on ‘student services’ more than doubles, ‘public service’ money falls

College spending per student is jumping across practically every category, but some have eye-popping changes.

New research by Peter Hinrichs, a senior research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, shows that private colleges in particular are shelling out way more than they did during the final years of the Reagan administration.

Some “real spending” increases for private colleges between 1987 and 2013:

Student services: 108 percent

Academic support: 80 percent

Research: 71 percent

Institutional support: 48 percent

The one decline? “Public service,” where spending per student fell 9 percent.

Public colleges have lower increases, also across the board (except for operations and plant maintenance, where spending has fallen):

Student services: 54 percent

Academic support: 42 percent

Research: 62 percent

Institutional support: 37 percent

According to Hinrichs, these findings show that the explanation for increasing college costs

must be a broad-based one that can explain spending increases in a variety of categories. For example, different categories of spending could have their own constituencies who successfully advocate for higher spending in their preferred category…

Read the report (PDF version with tables and graphs).

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h/t Inside Higher Ed

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