Shared Sacrifice — Except In The Academy

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The skyrocketing cost of a college education, caused mostly by extremely high administrative overhead, has always touched a raw nerve with me. And now that I have two kids in high school and will soon be faced with this maddening expense, it’s become even more aggravating.

Anecdotally, I’ve also noticed this trend in independent schools. At my old prep school, I’m always surprised by the number of administrative offices I see when I return for reunions.

Here in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner, for example, The Hotchkiss School has some questionable titles on its administrative list. There are two assistant heads of school (six-figure posts, for sure) — one for environmental initiatives and another for global initiatives.

Is this really necessary? Couldn’t the school hire the equivalent of mid-level manager types to run those programs? As I recall, those positions were created in 2009, when the financial crisis caused Hotchkiss’ endowment to tank, but school officials hired them anyway.

Is it any wonder tuition at the tony palace in Lakeville is approaching $48,000? I know, Hotchkiss gives out $8.5 million in financial aid every year, but all that means is the burden for supporting the school falls even more heavily on those who don’t qualify for help. Shouldn’t the goal be to bring the tuition down so that fewer families need that help? Evidently not.

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