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Lafalum

Cost of College

There is an article in today's Inquirer about how all the local Philadephia schools are now over 60K a year. Haverford is nearly 62,000. Princeton is 55K.

These schools and the people who run them have blinders on. This is nuts!!!
carney2

Re: Cost of College

Lafalum wrote:
There is an article in today's Inquirer about how all the local Philadephia schools are now over 60K a year. Haverford is nearly 62,000. Princeton is 55K.

These schools and the people who run them have blinders on. This is nuts!!!


There are so many things wrong with the way colleges are run - and not just our little college on the hill - that it could fill a book - and undoubtedly has.  With all of these "educated" people in charge, you'd think that someone could grasp the business side of things.  What, for instance, is Lafayette's administrator to faculty ratio, and why?  

Oh well, we've been down this road many times before.  Unfortunately, Lafayette is a "me too" institution and nothing's gonna change until the big kids (H-Y-P) change, and they don't have to because they are at the top of the food chain and have inelastic demand.
ed65

Nice one Carney.  Let's hear it for "inelastic demand!"
Lafalum

I wonder how inelastic Haverford vs Princeton is?? Lets see 62 vs 55?? hmm?? Who's the CEO of Haverford?? Does he really think Haverford is a better value than Princeton??
leopard88

One of the real problems with college costs (among many) is that it is almost impossible to determine the true cost.  Between financial aid and scholarships, few students ever pay sticker price, making it impossible to compare apples to apples.
NewXbo

leopard88 wrote:
One of the real problems with college costs (among many) is that it is almost impossible to determine the true cost.  Between financial aid and scholarships, few students ever pay sticker price, making it impossible to compare apples to apples.


You see, they do understand business. Overprice your product, then offer it at a discount and everyone thinks they got a great deal. It's called marketing.
leopard88

NewXbo wrote:
leopard88 wrote:
One of the real problems with college costs (among many) is that it is almost impossible to determine the true cost.  Between financial aid and scholarships, few students ever pay sticker price, making it impossible to compare apples to apples.


You see, they do understand business. Overprice your product, then offer it at a discount and everyone thinks they got a great deal. It's called marketing.


"Honey, guess what?!  We just saved 30% on college tuition!  It's only going to be $35,000 a year now!!!"
Lafalum

Lafayette raises costs 3.69 pct Lehigh 3.1 pct

total cost for Lafayette approx  59.7  per year Lehigh 56.1 per year

We are now more expensive than Princeton!!
carney2

Lafalum wrote:
We are now more expensive than Princeton!!


That's because our Gender Bender Studies Department is better funded than theirs and we have put our money where our mouth is in the crusade to destroy the Greeks.  Princeton merely has nice labs and a collection of Nobel laureates.
flyfisher

Not sure I understand some things at Lafayette. Don't understand why the college does not want to grow.

I really don't know how the school can afford to offer some of the majors it does at the size the school is currently. Engineering programs cost money. Labs are not cheap.

My son and I looked all up and down the east coast for FCS/D1A programs that offered engineering. Full engineering programs and not pre-engineering programs. there are virtually none in the south. You have the Citadel and Western Carolina, which is partly through N C State and not a good degree(Western Carolina). that means we had to look north. The options we liked were obviously Lafayette, Lehigh, Bucknell, Villanova, and various Ivy programs, primarily Cornell and Dartmouth. We also looked for smaller classes which all these schools have. then you have to find a football program that is a good match. One where you can contribute to the program success. You don't want to go to a school where you may never contribute but you also want to play at the highest level possible, at least most kids do.

Lafayette fit all the criteria. Great engineering with other good programs as a fall back position. Great football program and facilities with a rich history. A competitive level of football. A quality degree. However I struggle to see how the College is going to be able to offer all this and stay competitive.

You guys have much more knowledge and history on this than me. You guys are alumni. It's in your blood. It is your passion. I would imagine it will soon be mine as well. Obviously I care or I would not share my opinion. But I just don't fully grasp the direction of the College.
carney2

flyfisher wrote:
I just don't fully grasp the direction of the College.


Nor do most of us.  Growth, or expansion, is a slippery slope.  Some of us would like to see the College progressing toward an enrollment of 4,000, about a 2/3s increase, or even more.  My information tells me that 2,700-2,800 is more likely.  Why?  We've gone into that and much of it is based on...well, not much.  It's mostly lack of foresight and lack of guts.

Now, let us assume that the decision is made to expand in the direction of that 4,000 figure.  We all know that it would be done in an environment of cost containment.  As you point out, engineering and science majors require more institutional and financial support than, let's say, philosophy majors, so what do you think the direction of expansion would be?  IMO, a serious expansion would probably further endanger engineering and science programs.  As I said, a slippery slope.
Lafalum

I don't agree any expansion endanger the engineering program. Clearly you would expand english, history and economics that just takes four walls and a professor. But less of an expansion of engineering is not a deemphasis but provides the funds to remain completive and up to date! Increasing the size spreads the cost of a D1 program, which would not expand ( still about 450 athletes), over a greater revenue base. Keep the administrators at the same size and you have a staff the fits the work!!  

What you don't do is expand the performing arts which requires far more one on one instruction, and majors in the area are far less likely to be able to return with donations in the future, compared to economics, business, and engineering majors!!

It's not all that conceptually difficult.
ed65

Good God.  The last the college should do is expand ANYTHING  involving the performance arts unluess it is fully funded by alums.  LC is at best an after thought in that area, and the location in Easton is no help.

Time for some reality by the BoT.  Expand what pays, and the hell with the rest.
Lafalum

Noted today in the Easton Express a 1988 graduate of the Lehigh Real Estate major in their business school, Mark Holliday. is donating 5 million dollars to his alma mater.He owns a real estate company in New York. .
BillS

I think a culinary school and hotel management major would be awesome Smile
flyfisher

ed65 wrote:
Good God.  The last the college should do is expand ANYTHING  involving the performance arts unluess it is fully funded by alums.  LC is at best an after thought in that area, and the location in Easton is no help.

Time for some reality by the BoT.  Expand what pays, and the hell with the rest.


Amen.

My son tells me we/they are building a new building on top of the hill, where land is scarce, for a psychology dept. He could be wrong on that. Not saying everything has to be about money but not sure why we/they don't expand the programs that return an investment. How many kids are going to school to major in the performing arts? And how many parents are willing to pay for that education?
DaveR

flyfisher wrote:
ed65 wrote:
Good God.  The last the college should do is expand ANYTHING  involving the performance arts unluess it is fully funded by alums.  LC is at best an after thought in that area, and the location in Easton is no help.

Time for some reality by the BoT.  Expand what pays, and the hell with the rest.


Amen.

My son tells me we/they are building a new building on top of the hill, where land is scarce, for a psychology dept. He could be wrong on that. Not saying everything has to be about money but not sure why we/they don't expand the programs that return an investment. How many kids are going to school to major in the performing arts? And how many parents are willing to pay for that education?

Not sure whether you are referring to the Oechsle Center for Global Education.  To me that seems to be a good initiative:  http://facilitiesplanning.lafayet...hsle-center-for-global-education/
Lafalum

I would agree the Oeschle Center is a good initiative. I do understand Anthropology will also be moving there. Again, that money is being funded by a generous alumnus. The arts center, specifically the Case Tire property is going to cost the college 10 million over and above donations. Of course there will be  the cost to operate that at the bottom of the Hill which is not part of the development costs.

What will the ROI be of that bottom of the Hill development. Development costs alone are now about 30 million. If we really want to cover that cost that  development alone implies an increase in enrollment and tuition revenue probably from the higher margin majors. ( At least 1/3 of the faculty would faint at the idea).
ed65

Much as I would like to see the college expand into downtown Easton I have historic family ties to the city), Lafalum has a point about the Case Tire property and the bottom of the hill situation in general.  Spending money down there given the flooding and environmental issues seems like folly when the same thing can be done on the hill with some creative thinking by the real estate mavens.

The mantra that the college is land locked and has no room to grow has continued by the small thinking, small liberal arts school crowd.  Given the number of commercial real estate mavens among alums, it seems to me that expansion on the hill can be achieved if it is even necessary.  Apparently, the school has plenty of classroom space and is empty during the summer.  If the trend of online classes is real, I wonder how much physical expansion is really necessary.  Oh, yes, more dorms may be required for expansion of the student body.  That is where some creative thinking is required.
ed65

Lafalum wrote:
I would agree the Oeschle Center is a good initiative. I do understand Anthropology will also be moving there. Again, that money is being funded by a generous alumnus. The arts center, specifically the Case Tire property is going to cost the college 10 million over and above donations. Of course there will be  the cost to operate that at the bottom of the Hill which is not part of the development costs.

What will the ROI be of that bottom of the Hill development. Development costs alone are now about 30 million. If we really want to cover that cost that  development alone implies an increase in enrollment and tuition revenue probably from the higher margin majors. ( At least 1/3 of the faculty would faint at the idea).


Lafalum: I would love to see "at leat 1/3 of the faculty" faint!
bethlehempard

Lafayette maintains a solid investment-grade credit rating. Moravian is in the investment grade but on negative watch. Cedar Crest for those who have fond memories of the place was cut to S&P's highest junk range.
Lafayette's financials are solid. The college has flexibility to make changes.
Of course the college has always moved slowly. Not a bad thing.
Lafalum

bethlehempard wrote:
Lafayette maintains a solid investment-grade credit rating. Moravian is in the investment grade but on negative watch. Cedar Crest for those who have fond memories of the place was cut to S&P's highest junk range.
Lafayette's financials are solid. The college has flexibility to make changes.
Of course the college has always moved slowly. Not a bad thing.


Nobody is intimating that its financials are poor. It's long term trends that concern many of us and the long terms trends in higher education in general.
I can remember a lot of MBS that had AAA ratings and three months later were worthless, not that I think Lafayette is in that position. Remember that part of Lafayette's rating is related to its credit enhancements. It's ability to raise operating revenues by increasing tuition is very limited and we have not to date been able to have a major capital campaign for ten years. ( we are launching in October).  

In my view the only way to raise operating revenue is to increase the size of the school to the market sweet spot!!

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