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Money for nothing: Colleges binge on luxury, not education

Universities across the country are spending too much money on non-academic expenditures. Instead of squeezing every penny into attracting high-quality faculty or improving laboratory and library facilities, universities are dedicating large portions of their budget toward amenities aimed at attracting students.

A high-profile example of this trend is Stanford’s new dormitory, which costs $200,000 per bed to construct. While it might seem like this kind of spending would be contained to schools for the wealthy, examples of this trend can be found at (Oklahoma University).

Students at OU are familiar with the extravagant Couch Cafeteria’s renovations over the last few years. There are now places in the Couch Cafeteria where one can see more than 20 televisions from a single seat.

Additional expenditures include over-the-top Gaylord Hall. According to a 2009 report of university capital development projects, phase two of Gaylord Hall cost $19,950,000. Nearly $11 million was anticipated to come from private sources, $9 million was in university bond funds and $100,000 in college funds.

OU’s intent to acquire a multi-million dollar monastery in Italy for study abroad is another example.

Read the full column at the Oklahoma Daily.

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