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The Tottering Ivory Tower

Ivory Tower Comp.jpgAs the administration blithely kicks the financial can down the road and behaves as if students’ social lives are Dartmouth’s top priority — except for some incremental reforms to academic life (cluster hiring and more graduate students and postdoctoral scholars) — the big bear in the room is receiving ever more attention in the real world. Phil might proudly be raising tuition this year by only double the inflation rate, but out there ever more attention is being given to the unsustainable bloat in college costs. This month’s new effort, a film entitled Ivory Tower, focuses on the ever-increasing cost of tuition and the concomitant rise in life-distorting student loans.

As this space has done endlessly, the movie notes that college costs have been unfettered by any relationship to the rise of the cost of living or other cost indicia in society. Hiring levels increase every year and spending jumps up along with it because administrators believe that tuition can be endlessly raised and the endowment will throw off ever more money:

Ivory Tower Chart.jpg

But there are cracks in the tower, and as I have mentioned before, it will take only one courageous institution to lead the way of reform. Huge cuts in staff, salary and benefits will be a first step, followed by a refocus on serious education that such reforms will allow. In short, Dartmouth and other schools could do a lot more educating for a lot less money.

Here’s the trailer for Ivory Tower, which will probably be shown in Hanover this summer:


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