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Colleges’ Greed Must be Stopped

(With Obama recently focusing on college loans, here is a Spring 2011 editorial about college costs from nikitas3.com)

With scrutiny of spending on every level, Americans now need to investigate some of the most greedy people in America – our left-wing colleges and universities and their outrageous tuition/room&board costs whose meteoric rises have been chronicled repeatedly including in a famous 1998 report. Those costs have risen roughly 3 to 4 times faster than the cost of living over the last 30 years.

Type ‘report on college tuition costs’ into your search engine to find many stories on the subject.

But nothing has been done because the Media Left is refusing to call out its college/university cronies and refusing to create a national scandal out of it, which it truly is. If colleges were oil companies, we would hear about it every day.

We need a new congressional inquiry into this massive financial scandal, and we need “reparations” for families that have been gouged.

Here is some information from March 2011 from the website of elite Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, a typical high-dollar college and a school which is considered just a cut below the Ivy League: This is the actual copy-and-paste: Audited 2009-10 operating expenditures: $167,717,753   Gifts from private support: $40,908,554 Investment Pool (Market value as of 6/30/10): $1,526,571,483, 450-acre campus

Translated that means: Audited 2009-10 operating expenditures: $167.7 million. Gifts from private support: $40.91 million. Investment Pool: $1.526 billion. Size: 450-acre campus (less than one square mile).

Total Williams enrollment is 2,173 students. Tuition is $41,190 and room/board is $11,150.

So: Operating expenditures ($167.7 million) divided by number of students (2,173) is $77,000 per student.

So how does it cost $167 million or $77,000 each to educate students for the 7 months that they spend in the average school year at 450 acre Williams College such that Williams charges $41,190 per year per student for tuition or around $6,000 per month… just for tuition.

Answer: It does not cost that much. No way, no how. This is illegal price-fixing by the left, which was called out in the 1998 report and nothing was done about it.  This is part of the thievery that has been going on at these colleges for years. Total tuition/room&board charges should be less than $20,000.

And don’t forget about the overpriced college textbooks that that students are required to buy in order to funnel more cash into the Academia/Publishing Complex. This is another scandal that the Media Left will not touch.

Meanwhile here is some information about the city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 20 miles from Williamstown. It has a population of about 42,000 with more than 20,000 housing units; a land area of 41 square miles; 8 elementary public schools, 2 public middle schools, 2 public high schools; with almost 6,000 students.

Annual budget? Here is the opening line of the story from the Berkshire (County, Massachusetts) Eagle:  ‘The (Pittsfield) City Council approved a $126.9 million budget for fiscal 2011 Tuesday night that returns Pittsfield to spending levels of two years ago.’

So how can Pittsfield – which has to maintain hundreds of miles of city streets throughout the year, educate all these students, run a municipal government and court system and water and sewer system and fire and police departments, and is 60 times the physical size of the Williams College campus – run on a budget that is less than Williams College?

Actually the answer is simple: Williams is an elite, far-left institution that has all its own rules including those about money. And these Williams College accountants are shuffling money around like Bernie Madoff on steroids. Much of this tuition money is being funneled straight into what might be called the ‘Swiss bank account’ of Williams College, also known as the ‘endowment’ or the ‘Investment Pool’ in the above excerpt. These endowments are huge financial investment accounts  like a family bank account or stock portfolio that produce steady income (profits, dividends, interest etc.) that help to fund colleges’ lavish spending, mostly on a socialistic agenda.

How is this spending manifested?

First, college presidents routinely make million-dollar salaries. Second, administrators get big salaries too. And third, while certainly these professors do not live like Bill Gates or Donald Trump, most of them have famously slacker lifestyles, really easy and comfortable academic/professor lives with good salaries and full benefits and pensions.

These professors are mostly leftist Democrats, some of them radical, who are well paid for usually less than half the number of work hours of the average American. If you ever have gone to college, you know the facts – they get summers off, vacations throughout the year, 20 hours of classes per week, etc. And every five years they take a sabbatical because they are so tired. Poor dears… Were we all so lucky.

Many of these professors could never find real employment in the private economy. They often get big grants and fellowships and often travel the world during their careers, funded by the college or the government. Buffoons like Cornell West at Princeton, who is black, make huge salaries and get endless perks and grants for mindless ‘black studies’ programs. Harvard has a ‘hip-hop archive’ with a paid professor to direct it and generous funding to be sure.

Feminism, multiculturalism, homosexuality and extremist environmentalism are all lavishly funded with highly-paid professors and well-funded programs at places like Williams while study of the American Constitution or the triumph of Western culture are marginalized. These schools endlessly subsidize racial “diversity” while keeping real diversity – diversity of thought (i.e., conservatism) – at bay. They pay radical left-wing speakers exorbitant fees to address the students. Middlebury (Vt.) College is even said to have paid race huckster Al Sharpton $40,000 to appear there.

In other words, the colleges of America now are taking our wealth and keeping it in their Swiss bank accounts, and then redistributing the rest to their cronies.

And don’t go saying how much the schools need to spend to maintain their buildings. Most of these buildings have been around for decades or centuries, and have low costs. Sure, heat and electricity for 7 months of the year, and the occasional repair. But not $167 million worth.

Meanwhile pre-college private charter schools across America spend an average of $6,500 per student per school year for tuition. So maybe Williams College could learn a thing or two from the charters. Because charter school teachers certainly are not living in the streets.

It is time to start to file class action lawsuits against all these colleges to recover the tuition money that the families of America have been overcharged for decades and that has been stashed away in these Investment Pools.

So, for instance, let’s take the total number of students entering Williams per year (say, 500) over 30 years and that is 15,000 students. Knock off the ones on a full or partial scholarship (let’s say 15% of the total) and that leaves 12,750 students paying full freight.

Then take the massive endowment from Williams, which is $1.526 billion… And start to divide up that $1.526 billion among families who have been gouged over the last 30 years for their children’s education.

Let’s see $1.526 billion divided by 12,750 students = $119,000

Yes, a $119,000-per-student refund for everyone except full- or part- scholarship students sounds about right. You know, like the refunds that corporations are forced to pay every day to settle lawsuits brought from the left (trial lawyers, environmentalists, feminists, blacks etc.). The same left that rules the roost at Williams and thousands of other schools.

Repeat this at every college and university in the nation and we will finally have some relief and justice for American families. Harvard has more than $20 billion in its endowment.

Hey, no more tax cuts for the rich universities!

And then let the colleges live paycheck to paycheck like most other people in America do.

Our next goal then should be to call out these same universities for the left-wing propaganda and lies that they have been preaching for decades.

And next will be these colleges’ blatantly discriminatory policies against white men, the most discriminated-against people in America whose presence on college campuses has been declining for decades after an all-out assault by the intellectual left in America.

More lawsuits are needed… Many more. And make the lefties see what these lawsuits feel like on the receiving end.

Please visit my blog at www.nikitas3.com for more conservative insights.

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