The Vicious Circle of College Tuition

Colleges have a problem. Their student-customers are having a harder time affording higher education. At the same time, government aid is being cut. So colleges raise prices. And then...wait a second.

That's one of those vicious circle things we're always hearing about. A new KPMG survey of college leaders reveals a bit of an issue in the standard college business model. See:

Asked to identify the major factors affecting enrollment at their institution, 58 percent identified parents/students inability to pay tuition as the top factor, compared with 49 percent last year.

But then:

When asked to identify the measures being adopted or considered as a result of cuts to federal and state funding, 51 percent of respondents said raising tuition.

Hmm. If only magic could resolve this predicament.

Fifty nine percent of those surveyed, compared with 41 percent the previous year, said the top step their institution is taking to address issues such as cost, quality and access to education is putting more focus on innovative approaches such as online education, without compromising quality.

There we go! It's as simple as using "innovative approaches," for less money, "without compromising quality." Why didn't we think of that?

For their part, parents say they plan to use innovative approaches such as counterfeiting $100 bills, without compromising quality.

[KPMG. Photo: Shutterstock]