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The cost of education (Fees) are going higher. Research/Researchers are not getting funded. Where is the money going to? Infrastructure of the universities?



> Where is the money going to?

That's the big question. In addition, when a professor gets a grant, the university takes a large chunk (40-60%) for overhead.

Anecdote: When I started as a postdoc recently, all new faculty and staff had orientation together. This was the middle of the semester, and there were about 20-25 of us. Of that group, there were no new professors (beginning of semester, wouldn't be unusual), 2-3 postdocs, maybe 5 facilities people (janitor, electrician, etc). Everyone else was administration/communication/finance/etc.

Universities, particularly large ones, are very, very, top heavy (with part of that due to compliance with regulations).


We get research funding from government agencies like the NIH and NSF. You can also get private grants (e.g. I got an NVIDIA grant in 2009 to do GPU research). The funding pool has remained stagnant for years, while we are pumping out more PhDs than ever. Back in the 90's an R01 (the top NIH grant you can get, and which more or less ensured tenure) had a 33% funding rate or so. It is now in the low to mid single digits. Plus, the rules have changed, so that you cannot fund your salary off of a single R01; you now need TWO R01s to pay yourself, which is the goal, at least in a soft money position. After learning this "on the job" as it were, it didn't take long to start looking elsewhere.


You've got an incomplete model of higher-education financing, leaving out subsidies provided by government.

For the most part, both increased tuition and falling research grants are symptoms of the same underlying cause: reduced government support for higher education and R&D.

With fewer funds for education, tuition rises. But that tuition is filling in the hole created by a subsidy gap. Not increased research.


My younger brothers undergraduate research mostly focused on answering this question in the University of California system. His conclusion is that funding was overwhelmingly going to the administrative faculty and has been doing so since UC let the administrative faculty have the most say in how he universities are run.


What could be done to change this?


Typically it goes to construction / infrastructure (dorms and facilities to attract students and compete with other universities) and administrative / compliance bloat.



Athletic departments are usually completely self-funded, especially the ones that spend millions per year on coach salaries.


Yeah a lot easier to balance the books when the athletes are basically slaves...


This, is definitely a separate issue...


Administrators.




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