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As part of their annual alumni gathering the UCLA Anderson School of Management posted a boast on Instagram about how the class of 2002 raised $1.2 million for the school. I certainly support charity, but this boast really struck me – is this the best place for these talented people to be putting this amount of money? Are colleges and universities, as they currently operate, good places for charitable dollars?
Let’s put some perspective on the economics of attending the Anderson School (I am only picking on them because I am an alumnus). The current cost of the full-time program at UCLA is $96,966 for residents and $109,540 for non-residents. The executive program costs close to $150,000 (note the link shows the cost of one year of the two-year program). I am a 1986 graduate of the UCLA management school full time MBA program. My total tuition costs were $3,000. Tuition increased 3,133%, a 12% compound growth rate. Inflation adjusted tuition would be $6,674, a 122% increase with a 3% compound growth rate. In 1986, UCLA was ranked #8 by US News. Now it is ranked #15.
On the cost side, I could not find much information on the Anderson School, but spending at the University of California has grown massively (health care and hospitals are part of that) like it has at most universities. And the spending is not on education. The number of faculty has stayed relatively constant while the number of administrators has grown steadily. From 2000 to 2015, enrollment increased 38%, faculty numbers stayed flat, and administrators more than doubled. From the LA Times: “The number of those making at least $500,000 annually grew by 14% in the last year, to 445, and the system’s administrative ranks have swelled by 60% over the last decade — far outpacing tenure-track faculty.” Again, health care plays a role in that unbalanced growth but this article in the American Spectator details how politically correct “research” pays extremely well. Does a donation go to something that delivers social value?