It’s hard to imagine the seriousness of the higher ed bubble until you see a chart like the one below. As Joseph Asch of Dartblog points out, Washington is wasting its time debating the rising cost of healthcare.

In an interview with the New York Times upon being named as the College’s next President, Phil Hanlon commented, “The historic funding model for higher ed is close to unsustainable. We can’t continue superinflationary tuition increases.” It seems that our mathematician-President can read a financial statement as well as understand probability. While Washington debates the soaring cost of medical care, the real bubble has been in higher education:

Higher Ed Inflation.jpg

(And I can tell you that in 1978, when the above graph begins, my parents did not think that the cost of a Dartmouth education was all that reasonable either.)

But is the problem unassailable? Certainly not in Hanover.

In 1999, the College had 2,408 non-faculty employees, including 75-80 at the Hanover Inn. Today Dartmouth has well over 3,200 employees (without the Inn’s staff). That’s a difference of approximately 900 employees — of whom, according to IP Folt, about 300 are in research. What are the remaining 600 new employees doing with their time? After all, Dartmouth was a fine school in 1999, the number of students has not changed materially since then, and the size of the faculty has increased by only about 60 members. I submit that they are not doing much of anything; they are just a manifestation of bad management, given that the number of College bureaucrats has increased in virtually every department.