Friday, May 29, 2015

Why is College So Expensive?

It is well documented that the cost of college has been rising at an alarming rate - much faster than inflation. But why?

The colleges claim that there is not as much public funding as there used to be. But looking at the numbers, this just is not true. Public funding has actually increased during this timeframe.

The real reasons that tuition has been increasing so dramatically are things that the colleges don't want to talk about:

1. Too Many Applicants - There are way too many people going to college these days. It is expected nowadays that when you graduate from High School, you will go to college. This is different than it was in the past. College is not some sort of entitlement that everyone should try out for a few years. It should only be used by people who are going to seek a career that requires that sort of education and people who have a genuine thirst for knowledge. This might be about 1/3 of graduating High School students. Having fewer students would drive down the cost by lowering demand, and by reducing the administrative costs (see next item).

2. Administration - Colleges have to spend a lot more money on administrators with very high salaries. This is because:
  (a) they need to deal with the sheer numbers of students that are increasing every year and finding schools at or near capacity - which leads to a lot of shuffling to get everything to work.
  (b) more and more support systems are needed to coax students through college who do not belong there in the first place. There are extra expenses for counselors, TAs, etc. to help these students along.
  (c) the extra administrators need to hire extra asssistants to run reports and do research to justify their existence, and the cycle continues

3. Amenities - Campuses are getting ridiculously luxurious. Dormitories, statues, fancy meal plans, gyms, athletic programs, and other amenities are used to lure students to colleges and are driving up the costs.

4. Credit - This is the biggest one of all. It is much easier to get loans and credit than it used to be. So these kids who don't belong in college in the first place are being lured to these luxurious campuses and putting it all on credit. They have a few years of fun, drop out, and then pay for it the rest of their lives. The campuses have little incentive to fix this problem. Don't like a few of your classes? No problem - just drop them and take something else next semester. You get to keep your inflated GPA (at least until your drop credits run out) and just pay for another 6 months of classes.

5. Grants - Actually, very few students pay the full "sticker price" that you always hear about. There is a complicated system of financial aid that penalizes the family for having parents with a high income or a lot of savings. So the poorer the student's family is, the more financial aid they receive. The parents who can afford it are the ones who shoulder the burden of the full price tuition - and as long as there are those people who can afford it, why wouldn't the college keep raising the tuition for them?

Monday, May 04, 2015

Skipping UAC Prompt for One Program

I have a program that I use a lot and it is in my Windowd "SendTo" menu. It became an annoyance when I switched to a new Windows 7 laptop, because the UAC control was prompting me every time I went to open the program.

I found a popular solution that uses the Task Scheduler, but that did not work in conjunction with the Windows "SendTo" menu.

I finally solved the problem by doing the following:

  1. Click Start and in the search box type "Local Security Policy" and run it
  2. expand the Local Policies tree, and click on the Security Options
  3. On the right-side look for "User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode".
  4. Right-click on it and choose Properties. A dialog will appear
  5. In the middle of the dialog, click on that comboBox and choose "Elevate without prompting", click Apply and OK.