Dickinson releases special report on higher-education costs
September 7, 2011
Annette Smith Parker '73, former vice president and treasurer of Dickinson, has released a special report on the cost of higher education.
In a difficult economy, what is the value of a college degree? As prospective students (and their parents) begin researching colleges and universities this fall, what should they expect from higher education? And most important, why does college cost so much?
Before she retired in 2010 as vice president and treasurer, Annette Smith Parker ’73 set out to answer that question in a comprehensive and thorough manner. The result is a recently released special report outlining the many interconnected variables that affect tuition and expenses, including class size, faculty-to-student ratio, cutting-edge facilities, technology, academic quality and campus-life programming.
Titled “Why Tuition at Highly Selective Colleges Is So High and Why the Cost to the Institution Is Even Higher: Dickinson College, a Case Study of a Community in Constant Transformation,” Parker’s report is “an open look at the journey the Dickinson community has taken as it has grappled with the multiplicity of conflated issues raised by this critical question,” she wrote.
The report also notes the significant gap between price (tuition) and cost (what the college actually spends on each student), as well as the importance of access and affordability for students from traditionally underrepresented groups.
President William G. Durden ’71 welcomes the report as a corrective to the oversimplification of issues frequently found in discussions about higher education. “The answer is extremely complex, which can be frustrating to those desiring a response more in line with today’s sound bites and Twitter feeds,” he said in a message to the Dickinson community. “The answer … cannot be ‘dumbed down’ into a multiple-choice test.”
Read the executive summary of the special report.
Read the entire special report (PDF).