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Cost Explosion Details

Who should we blame for the College’s out-of-control spending? If the administration published its complete budget, we could better discern responsibility. How about it, Phil? Looking at the 2013 annual accounts (figures are in 000’s), you can see that spending increased in all categories (except for the “other expenses” area) by between 5.17% and 10.31% — even though the consumer price index rose by only 1.72% over the past year. Who was at the helm to set priorities and make decisions?

Dartmouth Costs 2012-2013 Comp.jpg

Of course, in talking to members of the Arts & Sciences faculty, one learns that most requests about funding for new ideas are met with a standard refrain: “We have no money.” Quite a response from administrators who increased their overall spending by $59,875,000 from the previous year. To put that amount in perspective, net income from undergraduate tuition totaled only $119,186,000 in fiscal 2013. How easy it would be, if the administration exercised a little price discipline, to cease being the second-most-expensive Ivy, the one with the least generous financial aid.

So where did the money go? Obviously, with a 153-person jump in the number of non-faculty staff members, and a fat contract given to the laughing-at-the-bleeding-hearts SEIU union, a good chunk of the cash went to the staff. Increases in wages and benefits made up 60% of the budget jump. No surprise there. But beyond that, we can expect that grad programs, included Kim’s Science of Healthcare Delivery program, ate up a lot of dough.

We’re on a road to nowhere.

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