Dormitory Construction Boom

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has an article on the enormous rise in spending on university buildings, which touches on the current debate in higher ed funding:

A number of colleges in Southwestern Pennsylvania are building residence halls, a mini-boom in construction that is expected to continue.

The cost at five state-owned universities — Indiana, Slippery Rock, California, Edinboro and Clarion — totals $666 million …

Colleges are replacing the 1960s- or ’70s-style housing, he said. Out of fashion are those prison-sized cells with a communal bathroom and showers.

Today’s students, accustomed to living in their own rooms at home, seek comparable housing when they go to college.

Just as a reminder, these are the same schools who demanding more taxpayer funding “to keep tuition low”
and would be the beneficiaries of Rendell’s video poker scheme.  It is spending like this which has led many to suggest a “no-frills” university, to make college more affordable.

In our policy brief on higher ed, we recommend giving all aid directly to students – in flat grants that do not increase with tuition, or room & board for more luxurious dorms – rather than funding institutions based on the success of their lobbying.  Students can choose between “frill” and “no-frill” institutions, and can choose between “prison-sized” dorm rooms and apartment style living, by paying the added costs themselves, not having taxpayers foot the bill.