Most Board Members Say College is Too Expensive, But Not at Their Schools

By Catherine Groux
Posted December 17, 2012 11:00 AM

Many board members feel college is too expensive, but not at their institutions.
Many board members feel college is too expensive, but not at their institutions.
While many board members at public and independent universities believe the cost of college is getting too high, few see it as an issue at their own institutions, according to a new survey by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).

Of the more than 2,500 board members who were interviewed as part of the survey, 55% said higher education in general is too expensive, relative to its value. However, 62% of board members - who largely have the power to approve tuition and fees - said their particular school costs what it should. An additional 43% said their school is doing all it can to keep tuition and fees manageable for students.

Despite President Barack Obama's goals to increase the percentage of Americans with at least an associate's degree, the survey also found that many board members do not share this ambition. Today, about 21% of higher education board members would disagree that more Americans should earn college degrees.

Members of the AGB feel the survey highlights a large gap between Americans' demand for more affordable, accessible education and board members' willingness to provide it.

"The survey makes clear that boards are not clearly deciphering the public’s concerns about higher education and must find a way to bridge the gap between the public’s needs and wants and boards’ response," the survey states. "Boards must act on what they learn, as well as better explain higher education costs, pricing and quality to the public. Until they do, the gap will continue to widen."

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