CAROLYN AINSLIE: Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Thank you. Welcome, everyone, to our counsel panel on, why has tuition been rising so rapidly? I'm Carolyn Ainslie, the vice president for planning and budget.
And this is actually a topic that I think about every day. And most recently, I think about it in a slightly different way, because I'm a parent of a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. So I think about it in a particularly different way right now.
I am pleased to be joined by two faculty colleagues, Professor Ronald Ehrenberg, who is the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, and also Professor Robert Frank, the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management, and also professor of economics.
Our format this afternoon is going to be that each of us is going to give about 10 to 15 minutes from our own perspectives on this very important issue. And then we're going to leave time for some questions, and hopefully some thoughtful answers, potentially answers that may differ among us, because we do have slightly different perspectives on this important topic.
So with no further ado, I'm going to ask Professor Ehrenberg to start, followed by Professor Frank, and then I will follow on from that. Thank you.
RONALD EHRENBERG: Well, I am delighted to be here and to see so many old friends. I want to preface my remarks by saying that as a faculty member, you have complete freedom to say whatever you want. As a trustee, you have to represent the institutional position. I am speaking solely as a faculty member, not as a trustee. And the views that I express are solely my own, and do not represent those of anyone else.
And I'm going to talk about-- a lot of the material that I'm going to talk about comes from a book that I wrote that was published by Harvard University Press after I spent a term as a Cornell vice president. And this book is available at fine bookstores-- that means amazon.com-- anyplace.
Well, so let me give you the background. In 1960, there was a young economist named William Bowen, who later went on to become the president of Princeton University and then the president of the Mellon Foundation. And Bowen examined what had happened to tuition at a set of selective private universities over the first 60 years of the 20th century.
And what he found was that on average, tuition increased by 2% to 3% more than the rate of increase in consumer prices every year. Some years it increased by more. Some years it increased by less. But on average, tuition had been increasing by 2% to 3% more than the rate of inflation.
And he had a number of explanations for it. One explanation was that we were getting more heavily involved in graduate education, and graduate education is more expensive. But first and foremost, he argued, the root cause of this is the failure of faculty productivity, as teachers, to grow.
And what I mean by that is I don't teach more students this year than I taught last year. And I don't teach more students last year than I did two years ago. So essentially, our output, faculty output, in terms of the number of students that we're educating, doesn't change. And the reason for that is that we believe that relatively low student-faculty ratios are essential for high-quality education.
So I want you to consider a very simple example in which tuition is the only source of revenue coming into the university, and faculty salaries are the only expense that the university has. And what we know is in the rest of the economy, productivity is growing. And so because productivity is growing, the earnings of other people in the economy is going up by more than the rate of inflation. In the terminology of economists, real wages are growing.
So now you're a university president, and you have to decide, how much do I want to raise faculty salaries? And how much do I want to raise tuition? And there really are only two alternatives. The first alternative is to say, let's increase faculty salary by the same amount as the increase in salaries in the rest of the economy, which means that faculty salaries will go up by more than inflation, so tuition will have to go up by more than inflation. The second alternative is to say, well, let's constrain tuition growth to the rate of inflation, and faculty salaries will only go up by the rate of inflation, which means they will not increase in real terms.
Well, it's very difficult to do the second thing, because if you do the second thing, over time, the salaries of faculty will progressively fall behind the salaries of people in other occupations in the economy, and it will become increasingly difficult to retain the faculty that you have and to recruit new people to go into PhD programs and then into faculty. So invariably, what they did at the selective private universities was to raise tuition by 2% to 3% more than the rate of inflation. And they did this for 60 years, and nobody complained. And the reason that nobody complained was because family incomes were going up by 2% to 3% more than the rate of inflation also. And family incomes were going up both because of productivity growth, but also because of the fact that there were more two-income-earner families with more women in the labor force.
So that takes us up to 1960, and then we go on from 1960, and in fact, tuition continued to increase by 2% to 3% more than the rate of inflation every year. And at places such as Cornell, we actually-- when we went through the budgetary process, and I know this because I was on faculty budget committees, we explicitly looked at, how much is median family income going up? And we tied our tuition to median family income growth.
So that went on, and things kept going really nicely until about 1980, and then something happened. And actually what happened in the late '70s, but it went through the whole decade of the '80s, is that real family income stopped growing. We had a whole decade, which sort of resulted from OPEC oil shocks and a set of other things, where family income didn't grow. But we kept continuing tuition, raising tuition, by 2% to 3% more than the rate of inflation.
And that went on until finally, when we get to 2004, by my calculations, tuition as a share of median family income at places like Cornell was twice as large as it was 25 years ago. And so now, people really are concerned, and they are looking at our tuition.
But there are two important qualifications. The first important qualification is that net tuition, what we actually charge to students after they get finished with all of the grant aid and tax credits that they receive, has grown by much less. And so taking financial aid into account, both institutional and federal financial aid, and state financial aid, matters.
The second point is that even students who receive no grant aid do not bear the full cost of their educations, because all of our students benefit from appropriations that we get from federal and state government. They benefit from spending that we are able to provide from the endowment. They benefit from annual giving that alumni and other friends provide that are devoted to current operations. And they benefit from the value of the services that the buildings, such as the one that we are in today, produce that were paid for by all of the above things. And so that's an important point that I want you to keep in mind. No matter how high you think tuition is, we are spending much more on educating our students than tuition.
Well, what I want to talk about is some of the other forces that cause tuition to keep rising. And the things that I'm going to talk about very quickly are the aspirations of academic institutions, our winner-take-all society, our system of shared governance between faculty, administration, and trustees, the issue of quality change, and that tuition is just a price that does not take account of the change in the quality of our product over time, federal policies, external actors, including you alumni, and then issues relating to rankings, prestige, hierarchies, and an arm race of spending. And I'm only going to briefly talk about this, because Bob Frank is going to spend a lot of time in his presentation about it.
So let me start out by talking about Sesame Street. My children are all grown up, but when they were little, on Sesame Street, there was this character Cookie Monster. And all Cookie Monster wanted to do would get his hands on as many cookies as-- I think it's a he. He or she wanted to do was to get his hands-- his or her hands on as many cookies as could be, and then shove it into the mouth.
Well, we at the selective private universities are very much like Cookie Monsters. We want to gobble up-- we want as many resources as we can, because we have one fundamental objective. We want to be the very best we can in everything that we want to do. We want to have the best faculty. We want to have the best research facilities. We want to have the best living and learning centers. We want to have the best students.
And so to do these things takes resources. And you might ask the question, why don't we grow by substitution and increase our efficiency, rather than increasing our expenditures? Well, we actually do make some efforts to increase efficiency, and Carolyn will talk about them.
But the major reason we don't do so is because there are no market forces that limit our tuition increases. And this basically is actually something that Bob has written a lot about. And the argument goes something like the following.
Our society has become much more unequal, in terms of the distribution of income, than it was 20 or 30 years ago. And the inequality in the distribution of income also holds within people who have relatively the same education level. If you just look at college graduates, the distribution of income is much wider now than it used to be. And so people believe that where they go to college matters as much, if not more, than whether they go to college.
And in fact, there is some truth to this. There's a wide body of research, which I have contributed to, that shows that going to a selective private college or university, a university where a lot of resources are being poured into you, leads to better outcomes, in terms of higher post-college earnings and higher probability of getting into first-rate graduate and professional programs, even after you control for the fact that our students are better than students elsewhere.
So people want to come here. They understand this. And there are long lines of students that are continually knocking at our door. And as long as the applications go up and we have no difficulty attracting the types of students that we want, there's not a lot of pressure to hold tuition down. And so that's one important force.
Another force is our system of governance, and our system of shared governance between faculty, administrators, and trustees. So you're the president of a university like Cornell. You have to serve two masters.
The first master that you have to serve are the trustees. And with few exceptions, including me, the trustees are very successful businesspeople who understand the importance of holding down costs. But they love the university, and they want the university to prosper, and they want the university to be as high-quality as possible.
The second master that the president has to serve, and David Skorton talked about this in his inaugural address, are the faculty. Now, we faculty members believe-- and I'm speaking now as a typical faculty member. We faculty members believe we are the university, right, because we're the creators of new knowledge. We are the people who teach the students. And keeping us happy becomes very, very important.
And so if faculty complain about that their salaries are too low, if faculty say we need more money for research facilities, if faculty say these are the new, innovative academic programs that they want to do, the president is going to be very, very supportive. And the president's going to be very supportive because no president can govern for a long time at a selective university without the support of the faculty. And this is a lesson that my friend Larry Summers unfortunately learned at Harvard recently.
So you're the president of the university, and you come to the Cornell trustees, and they want to keep costs down. And you say, I need $200 million to build a new West Campus living and learning center, so we can provide an out-of-classroom academic environment for our top students. Or, you're the president and you come and you say, I need even more money for the life sciences initiative, because Cornell has to be preeminent in this important area in the 21st century.
The trustees want to keep costs down, but they want Cornell to be great. And so they will reluctantly swallow, just as the president reluctantly swallows. So all of the pressure is basically to increase our cost and to spend more.
But there is an important distinction. And I want to tell you a little bit about public higher education. It's much easier to cut costs in public higher education. So this figure simply shows you, what is the average salary of professors at public higher education institutions-- places like Berkeley and Wisconsin and Michigan, the great public universities-- versus the average salary of full professors at private universities?
And if you went back to 1978, at the publics, they were earning about 92% of what was being earned at the privates. Today, the number is down to 75%. So if the salaries of faculty at the public institutions have fallen so much relative to the salaries of faculty at privates, you have to believe that it's increasingly difficult for the publics to attract and retain top-quality faculty. And what goes on there has gone down in a quality sense.
So you might ask the question, don't the trustees of public universities care as much as the trustees of private universities? Well, in some cases, the answer is no. But we'll ignore that and assume that they do care.
There is a fundamental distinction, and that is that the governor and the state legislature control the appropriations, and in some states, they also control tuition. And even in states such as New York, where the governor and the legislature don't control tuition, the SUNY and CUNY boards have complete freedom to set tuition at whatever they want. But if they dare to raise tuition when the governor and the legislature don't want them to do that, the political process will respond by cutting back state appropriations. So basically, revenues are constrained in public higher education.
So now you're a president of a public university, and you go back to the faculty and you say, we're constrained. The legislature and the governor has cut us. I have to cut costs. The faculty is going to be angry, but they're not going to blame you the same way that they would blame the president at a private university. If the president of a private university does that, they will accuse the president of not lobbying hard enough for the public university.
So that's an important difference. But the difference also is reflected in what has happened quality-wise to public higher education. Product quality is also important. The Consumer Price Index, which is the measure of inflation that we usually talk about, controls for improvement in quality.
So the car that I drive today is very different than the car that I drove when I first started driving, 40 or 45 years ago. I didn't have automatic transmission then. I didn't have power brakes. I didn't have quadraphonic sound. I did not have individual seat warmers, which is actually very important to me.
I did not have air conditioning controls, air conditioning at all, or air conditioning that my wife and I can choose our own temperatures. I didn't have four-wheel drive. I didn't have power windows, on and on.
When the Bureau of Labor Statistics computes how much consumer price has gone up, they try to take account of quality change, and separate out the increase in prices due to quality and the increase in prices due to inflation. We don't do that for tuition. Tuition is just a gross price.
So when I taught my class yesterday, I had a guest speaker who came by video conferencing from Washington. That would not have happened 30 years ago. My students don't stand on line in the library to get reserve materials. They pull it all off electronically. My students don't stand on line to register or to do course exchange today. They do it all electronically.
When I went to college, we didn't have climbing walls. We didn't have fitness centers. I won't even talk about differences in the quality of where our students live and what they eat. But in a real sense, the important point is the quality of what we're providing for our students is very, very different today than it was in the past, but the tuition changes don't adjust for quality and don't give us credit for the quality.
Another set of factors that matter have to do with federal government policies and the cost of research. The first thing-- and Bob is going to talk about this, so I will just mention it-- is that up until around 1990, we used to collude with other selective private institutions, in terms of the size of the financial aid packages that we offered to our students. The consent decree that ultimately resolved the case prevents us from discussing any individual student with our competitors. And what has resulted is a much more competitive process for financial aid, which often is referred to by the admissions and financial aid people as dialing for dollars, that people will call up and said, I've gotten this financial aid package from so and so. What can you do for me?
And that, plus the failure of Pell grants, which is the federal financial aid program, and the TAP program, which is the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, to keep up with inflation, let alone our tuition, has caused Cornell's share of the grant aid that are provided to our students to go from about 62% 20 years ago to over 80% now. So increasingly, we are bearing the cost of the financial aid that our students receive.
Why is that important? At a university like Cornell, which is not heavily endowed, the majority of our financial aid expenditures come out of recycled tuition revenues. So that puts increased pressure on tuition, because if more of our tuition revenue is being used for financial aid, less is being used for other things.
The other thing that has happened is that the federal government no longer finances our research as well as it used to. And this is technically something called the change in the indirect cost rates. The amount that we get from the federal government to administer our research programs is much lower now than it used to be. Plus the increase in cost of research-- now when we go out and we hire a new life scientist or physical scientist, we typically provide that faculty member with a startup costs package in the range of $500,000. And if we are hiring senior faculty members, the costs often exceed $1 million.
So that actually leads to the interesting question, does this mean that undergraduate students are subsidizing research? And the answer is no, because remember I told you at the start that every undergraduate student has more spent on him or her than the full tuition level.
But what it does mean is that the size of the subsidy that we are providing to our undergraduate students is getting smaller, because we now have to use more of our resources for research. And both of these factors-- the fact that we are spending more on financial aid, and we need to spend more on research-- really highlight the importance of the campaign.
There are a set of external actors that I want to mention briefly. Alumni, we love you. You give us money. You recruit students. You provide internship opportunities. You help our students get jobs. I'm fond of saying that both of my sons received their first jobs with the aid of Cornell alums. So we really love you.
But you love lots of things at the university, and that prevents us from cutting almost anything, because whenever we try to cut something, there will be a group of alumni who will get very, very upset. Also, often you want to give us money for things, but the things that you want to give us money for are not always things that we want to do. And we don't want to hurt your feelings, so often, if we can't convince you to change your mind, we'll take the money. But the money you give us often doesn't cover the full cost of the activity.
Local governments-- local governments don't like us. And they don't like us because we don't pay property taxes. So they are constantly trying to hold us up, to get us to give them more money in lieu of taxes, whenever we try to get building permits. And there's a whole discussion in my book about all of the different entities that we had to buy off when we were building Lake Source Cooling.
Environmentalists and historic preservation people, right, they add to our building costs dramatically. And you say, well, wait a minute. Stop whining. Right, why are you whining? Because corporations have to worry about environmentalists and historic preservation and local governments.
Well, there is a fundamental difference between how the university reacts to these pressures and corporations react. The first difference is that, because we are charted to behave in the public interest, we have to take very, very seriously the concern of these different groups.
The second reason is, we can't threaten to move if they don't stop bothering us. I mean, so you can imagine a president coming to the Cornell alumni and saying to you, we have decided that Cornell is no longer going to be far above Cayuga's waters. We're moving someplace else.
So we are tied here. Although we will open up campuses around the world, for the most part, we are tied here. And so we have to take these concerns very seriously.
The final point I want to make has to do with published rankings of academic institutions. And I want to tell you that US News and World Report is not the evil empire, but it sure comes close. And why does it come close? It comes close because, although every president and provost will tell you we don't pay attention to the rankings, they're lying.
And the reason they're lying is that I have done research that shows the following things. When you go up in the rankings, when you get better, you get more applicants. You can be more selective in who you accept. The SAT scores of your students go up. And the amount of financial aid that you have to give students to get them to come goes down. When you fall in the rankings, just the opposite happens.
So we care very much about what happens to the US News and World Report rankings. And one of the variables that enters into the US News and World Report rankings is how much we spend per student. So imagine that you are a university that is determined to hold down costs. And so you're either going to cut your expenditures per student, or you're going to increase your expenditures per student by a slower rate than your competitors do. The net result will be that you will fall in the rankings.
So that's something-- and when I go to sleep each night, I say thank god I'm no longer a Cornell vice president, because I don't have to worry about this. But people like Carolyn do.
So let me conclude just by asking the question, why must we be sensitive to what the public thinks about our tuition level? And the answer is that there are tremendous subsidies that come to us from the public at large. Forget about the money that we get for research. Forget about the money that we get for undergraduate student aid.
But basically, all of the gifts that we get from alumni and corporate friends can be deducted from their income tax returns. We pay no tax on our endowment income. The property that we use for educational purposes is tax-exempt. And much of our borrowing is done at tax-exempt interest rates.
Well, why do they treat us so nicely? The answer is they believe that we are operating in the public interest, and our research activities are a part of it. But another part of it is that we remain accessible to students from all income groups. And so that, again, explains why funding for financial aid has to be such an important part of the upcoming campaign.
OK, so the bottom line is, what can we do if we want universities to control costs and moderate tuition increases? What I argue is that the trustees are really the key players. If anyone is to argue that costs should be held down, the trustees have to do it, because absent them telling and ordering the administration to do so, it won't happen. They must make clear to administration and faculty that cost control is important.
Second, we have to improve the efficiency of our operation, so we can give more resources to the academic side of the operation. And Carolyn will talk much more about this.
Third, we have to worry about the institution as a whole. And we have to explain to deans that you have to care much more about your individual college. You have to care about the institution as a whole. And that involves sharing resources across colleges within the institution. And we also have to think more about sharing resources across institutions.
We have to think about outsourcing support services in areas where someone else can do it better. And we have done that in some areas. Cornell used to administer all of its own benefit programs. We now have outside companies that do this for that.
And then we have to diversify revenue sources, because remember when I started, I said suppose tuition is the only source of revenue. Well, the more revenue that we get from other sources, the less pressure there is on tuition. And again, that explains why the campaign is so important to us. Thank you.
ROBERT FRANK: No one can just walk to the podium and start talking. You have to fiddle with the technical stuff, or you won't be able to talk at all. But this increases our productivity, we're told.
I was supposed to be done by 4:15. It's 4:18 now, so I'm going to speak quickly and leave some of the material out that I had planned to talk to you about.
But I do want to take this as an opportunity for a teaching moment about how the market for higher education is, in a fundamental way, different from the markets that we teach our students about in the introductory economics courses. Basically, the invisible hand idea that most of you heard at one time or another-- it traces to Adam Smith-- if everybody goes out there and does the best he or she can, seeking to serve only selfish interests, we'll get a pretty good outcome, was Smith's claim. And many economists continue to believe that that's a statement that applies more or less in most domains of the economy. It's not a statement that applies very accurately in the university sector of the economy. And I'll try to explain what the single difference is that really results in the exceptional circumstances.
Charles Darwin wrote about a century after Smith. He was very heavily influenced by Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, other economists. But he did not believe that when individuals sought their own advantage, we would get good results necessarily for groups as a whole. His argument was that traits and behaviors are selected for their effect on individual advantage, but that that's often in conflict with the interests of larger groups.
And I'll just show you a very simple example of what he meant, because this example will carry through to probably 80% of the issues Ron talked about and everything that I want to talk to you about. There are two elk squaring off. They are a polygynous species. That means the males take more than one mate, if they can.
The "if they can" part's important. If some do, that means others won't get any mates at all. So it's an enormously important contest for access to mates.
And their armaments are their antlers. And so if there were a mutation that coded for slightly broader racks of antlers, that animal would win a larger share of fights, and genes for that mutation would spread very quickly throughout the population of elk in the next generation, and so on. We would get an evolutionary arms race selecting for broader and broader antlers.
Each time that happens, it's good for the individual male that has the genes that code for them, but note that for the group as a whole, it's a horrible idea. If elk are chased into the woods by wolves, with six-foot-across racks of antlers, they're toast. You can't get away in the woods.
If they could take a vote and each cut back their antler racks by half, they would do it in a heartbeat. The fights would be resolved in the same way as before. They'd have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing that. Of course, they can't.
Humans, though, can implement positional arms control agreements. And this is going to end up at the overlap agreement that Ron mentioned in passing. We can organize steps that will prevent the arms races from getting too far out of hand.
I'll mention one interesting example, the rules of the duel. If you offended somebody's honor, in the old days, that person would be duty-bound to challenge you to a duel. You'd show up at dawn with your seconds. The rules were very specific. They said you could use only single-shot weapons, and that the barrels could be smooth only, no spiral grooves.
The idea was, with the single-shot restriction, to prevent you from mowing one another down. They wouldn't allow 100-shot weapons, because each duelist would go down for sure that way. So single-shot served the goal of making sure you didn't get hit.
So did the smooth barrel. It made the bullets less accurate. You had to stand and pace off 30 paces before you turn and fire. Why not just turn and fire? Because you'll both be killed for sure if you just turn and fire.
So they're trying to limit contestants' attempts to gain advantage, because that's better for the group. That's the underlying idea.
These kinds of situations arise always when payoffs depend on rank. Who has more bullets? Who has a more accurate weapon? Who turns and fires first?
So when rank matters, none of the Adam Smith arguments work. Adam Smith's arguments depended on the critical, if often unstated, assumption that if what you do doesn't affect others, then everything goes through. But in the university domain, that's clearly not the case.
Ratings were always important in the university environment. Everyone knew who the best schools were, and wanted to go to them. But they've become way more important than they were in the past. You're all familiar with the data. I won't dwell on them.
Why has it happened? I think that's an interesting thing to spend a second on. If you're the CEO of a Fortune 100 company that's in a financial tailspin, what do you do? You want to get consulting help. That way, even if things turn out wrong, you can say, I got good advice and followed it. That may help you with your board.
Are you going to hire Acme Consulting to do the consulting for you, or McKinsey & Company, widely regarded as the first among equals among consulting firms? Well, here, rank matters enormously, because if your company goes into that tailspin you're worried about, you can say, I did everything I could. I hired the best consultant, and I implemented exactly what they said to do, and things still went wrong. So McKinsey is in the driver's seat in this market. They can charge any fee within reason and still get business.
Well, how did they get there? They got there by having the best consultants. And what that meant was bidding vigorously for the graduates of the best-- the best graduates from the best schools.
Think about it. You're sending 30-year-old kids in to give advice to seasoned professionals about what they should do in their companies. Suppose the consultant is from Podunk U. The advice lacks face validity.
Suppose, though, that the consultant is from Stanford. The CEO may have gone to Stanford, but he knows he couldn't get into Stanford today. There are more valedictorians applying for the freshman class positions than they have positions in the class. And so there's an aura of face validity to the advice.
So they start bidding for the talent. You ask Cornell students, what's the job of your dreams? They'll say, I want to be an analyst for JPMorgan.
Well, JPMorgan posts a position, and that's what it looks like back in the mailroom. Sacks full come in of applications. They can't look at them all. Who are they going to look at? They're going to screen on a variety of criteria, but where you went to school is one of the things that they'll look at first. If you don't come from a good school, they just don't have time to interview you.
So the demand for elite educational credentials has just gone way up, because they play such a much bigger role in deciding who gets the big prizes in the labor market. What makes a school elite? Well, it's mainly the quality of its faculty.
There are many other things, obviously. People like Ron Ehrenberg, people who have distinguished research records that the university can point to as on its staff, and people want to come and work here, to work with distinguished people. Students want to come and work.
They don't come cheap. The bidding has intensified for top faculty, and their salaries have risen accordingly. Here's Costas Azariadis, an economist who was recently hired by Washington University from UCLA at a salary of $500,000 a year. That's every year. That's not a startup package. That's every year.
Facilities competition-- Ron mentioned the climbing walls. Oh, the students come round. You don't have a climbing wall? Well, let's keep looking.
The indoor fitness centers-- I was talking to a president of university who was working in his garden one day when a family pulled in and they asked-- they thought he was a gardener. They were coming for the briefing session. Are the dorms wired for HBO? He didn't know, but he said he didn't think so. They pulled into the driveway and backed right out. They left. They didn't want--
Tuition's not the only expense now. You need applicant coaching, Kaplan's admission counseling, $120 a year. IvyWise, they'll take you in the eighth grade, and they'll remake you, in effect, and get you into one of your reach schools. But the bill for that's $29,000. IvyWise Kids will help your kid get into the best preschool, in certain cities.
So 10%-- that's the acceptance rate. Why do these schools feel so much pressure to give merit aid if they've got so many qualified students clamoring to get in? Well, the other side of the equation is that we need the best students every bit as much as they need us. That's the other key ingredient to claiming credibly that you're an elite school.
I think you already saw in an earlier session how US News and World Report uses grades and SAT scores in coming up with its rankings of institutions. So if you can get a few more good students, that boosts your ranking. That gets you more good students. There are positive feedback loops in the process.
So the best bait for getting a good student to come is another good student. That's the way it works. And if you look at what students want, typically they want to go someplace where the other students are better than they are.
This is a variation of the famous Lake Wobegon "all above average" effect. Not everyone can be at a school where everyone's above average. But you can try to go to a school where the other students are better than you. And that is, apparently, what students try to do.
So here's the dilemma facing the admissions director. Two candidates' dossiers on your desk. Susan Wirtz, a GPA of 4.0. Great, great, great SAT scores. I'm using the old two-test, because nobody would know what the three-test numbers meant.
Here's the other applicant, Jennifer Hamilton, a slightly higher grade point average, 140 points higher on her SATs. Look at the difference in the family incomes. We're going to accept both of these students at Cornell.
What about, which one's going to get financial aid? Which one should get financial aid? Well, we've got one student who's going to have a hard time paying the bills if she doesn't get financial aid, another one who's in no need whatsoever of financial aid.
But if you look at what happens at ambitious institutions today-- NYU is a prime example. My son, who just started there as a freshman, was offered a full tuition scholarship. He had to go down for a weekend to claim the scholarship. When he got back, the president of NYU called him up and said, we've decided to up the offer to full tuition, full room and board, the meal plan included, and a little stipend for this and that.
We didn't need that. You know, we could have afforded to go there. My son asked me, should we return the offer? I said, what do you think they'll do if you return the offer?
And he paused for a second and said, they'll give it to another well-positioned kid, and we'll have to pay. I said yeah, so write them a check someday if you think you got good service there. So you invent reasons for not doing--
Positional arms control agreements-- if there's an arms race, why not control it? We do this all the time. We don't let parents hold their kids out of kindergarten year after year, thereby to have them be older and smarter and stronger than other kids in the class. If you did that, then pretty soon kindergartners would be starting at an advanced age, to what point? So we say you have to start when you're six. That's a positional arms control agreement.
Last point, the overlap agreement was a terrific positional arms control agreement. We won't try to steal your merit students if you won't try to steal ours. We colluded, and the Justice Department, animated by its belief in the invisible hand, thought that was a bad thing, and made us stop doing it. So the anti-trust suit resulted in the schools being no longer allowed to collude. And now we see all these competitive pressures for merit aid to suck the dollars out of the financial aid pool.
And the whole thing is because individual interests and group interests don't coincide. We've got to be prepared to sort of attack the problem at a collective level if we're ever going to really make progress with it. I'm sorry if I went over, Carolyn.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: So now I have that great position of an administrator at Cornell trying to do more with less, in terms of less amount of time here. But in fact, some of what I have is somewhat redundant to what Ron had done. And I will try to go through that quickly and leave time for questions and answers.
I do want to put a little bit of a Cornell perspective on what they've shared with you today, because I think it's important for you to realize that the tuition is a very important topic for us and something that we grapple with, given all the things that Ron and Bob just talked about. And the first thing that Ron mentioned was the whole issue of subsidies, about really what the cost of education is, and the sticker price. And here at Cornell, we did a thorough cost study of this a couple years ago, and our numbers came up that actually the cost of education is about twice what our sticker price was then. And we think that's come down a little bit. But just so the point that Ron makes, that actually every student here is subsidized, is an important point.
And so really, the question of this panel today could have been not just why tuition has increased, but why does a quality education cost so much? And Ron and Bob have talked about some of those. And I'm going to put a Cornell spin on that.
First of all, we're very labor intensive, as Ron talked about. And it's something that's actually very important to us. And you'll see in a few minutes, I'm going to share a perspective on our budget, that about 60% of our budget is people.
Our subject matter evolves constantly. It's the quest for knowledge that Ron talked about. What does that mean for us? It means that in our libraries, we're constantly acquiring more materials, to be able to keep the faculty engaged in their cutting-edge research.
And speaking of research, our research enhances our instruction. This is a very important part of our research university. And that does drive up our overall cost, as Ron has mentioned.
We also have extensive compliance costs with government regulations. And this is almost in every aspect of what we do. And that has increased in the last decade, in particular.
And inflation rates around the major elements of our budget far exceed the CPI. In fact, higher education has developed its own price index. And I think Ron actually sits on the panel that now calculates this. It's called the Higher Education Price Index. And for the 12 months ending June of '06, that actually was 5%. And the CPI for that comparable period was about 4%.
Also, the enhanced residential experience that both Bob and Ron talked about, whether it's the fitness centers or the enhanced dining, it's something that our students expect. And we have a very important objective of trying to integrate our living and learning into a shared goal here. That means that we need to pay and have graduate students and faculty members be engaged in our living and learning experience.
We also-- the competition, competition for students, costs us money. We have to recruit, and we have to be in that race that Bob just talked about, to make sure that we have the best students here.
So why has the tuition rate grown? It's the cost of education, the elements that we just talked about. But also, that we, not unlike some of the other places that Ron talked about, have reduction in subsidies of other support that supports our overall budget.
We also have increased our financial aid. So one of the things that's very important to us here, as we're setting our tuition rate, is we want to make sure that we're accessible. So if we have additional funds to provide financial aid, and knowing that those that can pay will pay, that's an important part.
We also think about the market price, where we are relative to our peers. We don't want to be out in front of the pack, and we don't want to be on the low end of the pack. And there is a sense that price is a proxy for quality.
We have demand, unbelievable demand for our product, as Ron just talked about. We had 28,000 applications for 3,050 spots this fall. I mean, that's unbelievable.
We also-- our students, our customers, actually realize the return on our investment. What does that mean? And Ron mentioned this a little bit. But I found the statistics that actually were just published this week, I believe, in terms of-- and I'll need to look it up here, about the difference in terms of college graduates, in terms of their income, that male college graduates earn 63% more than male high school graduates. And for women, interestingly enough, with bachelor's degree, they earn 70% more than women with only high school degrees. And that's double the difference that it was in 1975. So the return on the investment of the education is significant.
And we do have, here at Cornell and other places, a steadfast commitment to the labor-intensive product. We want tenured faculty members teaching our students and engaging with our students. And that means that it costs us more. We are not moving along the productivity curve that Ron talked about when he first started.
So what is it about our budget, and how much are we reliant on tuition? This is our budget for the year that we're in, for here on the Ithaca campus. And you'll see that tuition and fees account for 35% of our overall resources.
You'll note the section of government appropriations is 10%. That includes our very important support of the state of New York that comes and assists four of our colleges here on our campus. And I'm going to show you in a minute how that's changed over time. This is a point-in-time analysis from 1976-77, as compared to this year's plan. You'll notice that tuition and fees is a higher proportion of our budget this year.
And why is that? You'll see that government appropriations as a proportion of the total has gone down. So what we have done, particularly in the contract colleges, our state-assisted colleges, we've had to increase tuition to offset the decrease in state support.
You'll also notice that our investment income has gone up. That's been a very important part of that subsidy that I talked about, to subsidize actually all students for what we do. That's a result of a couple of things. One, we raise important gifts to our endowment. Then we use those investments to subsidize what we do. We also have been more aggressive about how we actually invest those assets and what the returns are.
So what does that mean? What has happened to our tuition? Ron talked about this over time. And this chart probably would not be unlike a lot of other institutions' charts here. We've actually slowed down that slope a little bit. I know it's hard to see there in the last five or six years.
You'll also notice on the chart that the contract nonresident rate, the blue line, has gone up more steeply over that time. And why is that? As our state support has gone down, we have prioritized the resource to support in-state residents, which is the green line at the bottom.
So how do we compare in our pack of peers, in terms of our tuition and fees? We're in the middle of the pack. But you'll also notice that there's very little difference in that price there.
And one of the things that we want to make sure every year when we're setting tuition, that we're not an outlier in this. And this is only the sticker price. So one of the things that we do talk about, and Ron mentioned this a little bit, is the actual financial aid, the discount that we give.
And this is one way we look at the discount. There are lots of other ways that we think about financial aid. But for every tuition dollar that we bring in, you'll see for the pink line there, which are the endowed colleges, about 16 cents on that dollar gets recycled to actually subsidize a student who is on financial aid.
You'll notice that this seems a little spiky over time. In '01 you saw that it went down. That was actually the result of a very successful campaign for undergraduate financial aid. So we raised, from you and many others, restricted funds that helped us support that.
And it's gone up in the last couple of years as one, in the contract colleges, our state support's gone down. So actually we've had to increase the tuition. So the recycled dollars has gone up.
On the expense side, real quickly, we're really labor-intensive. So if you add the part of the pie there that says salary and wages and employee benefits, that's 59%. And over time-- this is looking back 30 years, two points in time, not adjusted for inflation. If you add salary and wages and benefits, those were closely the same numbers.
But you will notice how compensation components have changed over time. There's less proportion of direct pay into salaries, and more employee benefits, as many of you probably experience in your own businesses. Health care costs have been in double digits. So that's been one aspect of our compensation that's been a real challenge for us.
So what do we do to reduce the pressure on tuition? What are the kinds of things that we can do as administrators, as alumni, trustees?
One, we raise gifts, particularly for the priorities that support these core missions. We have to enhance our investment income, which is an important part of our budget that enables us to support financial aid, but also faculty salaries over time.
We have to increase the state and federal support. I spend many hours pounding the pavement of Albany to make sure that Albany realizes the importance of higher education, not only for Cornell University, but for the SUNY system. [INAUDIBLE] and I have spent many, many hours doing this. And it is a very high priority of our new president as well.
We need to develop entrepreneurial activities. What are the kinds of things we can do? We can look at how our facilities aren't used all year round, and make sure that we're using them for other activities that cover some of the costs over the course of the whole year. We can think about technology transfer. We can think about how we translate some of what we do into other revenue-generating activities.
And one of the things that we and many others have done is we charge fee for services that aren't part of the core instruction. So that's one of the reasons we charge for fitness centers and some of these things, at least some portion for students, that aren't part of the core mission. And those are just to name a few.
On the expense side-- and this is a very important part of what we do, and I think Ron would have liked me to have spent my whole presentation on this part of it. But I wanted to put in context how we think about the overall budget and how tuition fits in.
We have done a number of things. There's much more that we can do in this arena, even though you do have the conundrum that they just mentioned, that places like US News and World Report, the more we spend, the higher we go in the ranking. That isn't something, though, that just says that we just spend anything that we can.
What are some of the things that we've done? In the last five years, we initiated a major look at our workforce, because it is 60% of our budget. We created service centers to support our human resources and business activities, and consolidated across the campus. We reduced the headcount in a couple job categories, and we looked very hard at procurement strategies.
And the combination of these two activities may not sound like a lot. But for us, in terms of an organization, it was $15.7 million of annual savings that we got out of those two activities. This was important enough to us that we've actually established a group here that does this on a regular basis, that we review functions across the campus to streamline our activities, and eliminating redundant work. Right now, we're looking at the communications job family, which there's so much pressure for us to communicate more. But thinking about how we can do it better and more efficiently is our top priority for this year.
We also look at eliminating outdated programs and services. Ron named a couple, but that's both on the academic program and on the administrative side. We've gotten out of the business of doing some things that are no longer cost-effective for us to do, whether it's printing services or the like.
And I'm just going to end with a very important point to me, that we have a strong culture and commitment to stewardship. We realize here as administrators, and most of the staff across the campus knows, that we are spending money that we get from loyal alumni, from the state of New York, from students and families, and we take that very seriously. So that actually reduces the pressure on tuition in everything that we do.
And with that very fast presentation, I'm now going to open it up for questions. And we're going to come over here. And actually, you could address it to the panel.
And I think what's going to happen now, they're going to put some mics out into the two corridors. And I invite you up, if you would like to, to come up to, and I will stand here and kind of call on one side or the other. And then one of us, hopefully, will have an answer.
And why don't you introduce yourself?
AUDIENCE: Rob, Rob [INAUDIBLE], class of '76, arts and sciences. The one item that I question a little bit is the return on investment comment that you all seem to either have said or implied. And I've actually-- I sent Bob Frank an email about this. If you take a look at return on investment as what you get out of what you put in, looking back at my own experience, and probably lots of people in this room, at the time I graduated, 30 or so years ago, it was possible to secure the average job that would pay something along the lines of four or five times what a year's tuition was.
OK, today, the average job-- and let's exclude the investment bankers for a moment, and people of that nature. Today, you're lucky if you can secure a job, just with a BA, that will pay you half of one year's tuition. So you're talking about a 10-- basically, it's a 10-time shift. So at what point do we all begin to question the true value of a college education, and begin shifting to other forms or ways of getting ahead?
RONALD EHRENBERG: Well, what I would say is if you look at what has happened in the income distribution in the United States over the last 30 years, the only group that has really grown substantially in real terms is people with more than a college degree. And a lot of what we do is provide opportunities for our students to go on to first-rate professional and law schools. And I teach primarily in the ILR school, and I still smile when I think of, not too many years ago, we had 40 students who wanted to go to law school, and 10 of them wound up going to Harvard, or getting admitted to Harvard.
And if you look at the Cornell webpage on the success of our students getting into medical colleges, you will see a much higher percentage of our students who want to go to medical school are able to do so than other places. So I think that's an important point.
The other point that I would want to make is, we do have a serious problem, in the sense that someone having to pay high Cornell tuition who is interested in going into what, for better terms, I'll call a socially important but low-paying occupation, is at a real disadvantage. And I think that one of the things that we have to think about as we go forward is, how do we make sure that Cornell contributes to the supply of social workers and teachers and nurses and whatever?
And it may be that we will need to adopt policies like the major American law schools have done, where you have loan forgiveness programs for students who go into public interest law. But I think we have to worry about that issue.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Yeah, Bob, you want to add to that?
ROBERT FRANK: And I think that highlights the need to attack a lot of these issues at a broader level than just the level of Cornell University. We don't want to become a second-rate institution. And if we fail to compete with the other universities in our circle for the best students, that's the outcome we're facing.
And so I think what's really needed is more support from the government and other sources, forgiveness for people who go into socially valuable career paths like teaching and other low-paying jobs that nonetheless have high social value, to ask Cornell to forgive all that gap between what you earn and what you pay. It's not possible to do that and maintain Cornell's status as an elite university. So I think it's really incumbent on us to reach more broadly for solutions than just within the university.
AUDIENCE: Hi, it's [INAUDIBLE]. I was ILR '69. In your chart that showed the increase in tuition over time-- could you put that up there one more time?
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Sure thing. Yeah. If I know how to run this backwards.
AUDIENCE: There it is.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: This one?
AUDIENCE: One further up, please.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: That one?
AUDIENCE: Yeah. What's interesting is, if you look at us, we have the lowest compound annual change, which I think is very interesting, and probably a very positive note, suggesting that despite probably some of the other universities having more interest income or investment income to subsidize or pay for the increase in their expenses, notwithstanding that, we appear to be the best at maintaining costs, at least over that two-year period.
One, I think it's interesting to note. Two, can you talk about maybe why?
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Why?
AUDIENCE: Why we're so good. [INAUDIBLE] great question here [INAUDIBLE] argumentative [INAUDIBLE].
CAROLYN AINSLIE: I mean, partly, we don't know what the tuition of the other peers are going to be in advance. We used to. I used to go to meetings, not unlike the financial aid, and I used to compare tuition rates with our peers, before the consent decree. Now I'm not allowed to do that.
Our objective is to be in the middle of this pack. And actually, to be quite honest with you, some of it, I think in this year, is we just missed a little bit from prior years. I'm being perfectly honest with you.
The other thing is that we have been really pressing on our costs here. So in that sense-- and making sure that we had the financial aid resources that we could be able to meet the needs. So setting tuition is really an art and a balancing act here.
You'll note that this is for '05-'06. For '06-'07, that rate of increase for us actually was 4.8%. And we don't have all the peer data, but my guess is that we'll be probably closer to the peers in the year that we're in. Thank you for the question.
AUDIENCE: My name is Richard Silverman, class of '50. I have a comment and a question to Professor Loewenberg. It has never been clear to me what proportion or percentage of the rising costs for tuition are those related as faculty salaries. And in your introduction, you in fact prided yourself on the fact that you were only teaching three classes a week, or whatever very-- a small number. And of course, that was because you were busy with other responsibilities.
There has been a study, indeed, that shows that the argument for tenured professors is that they teach a very small load, because of the fact they're doing research. But indeed, the study that was done-- I think it came out of Harvard or one of the Commonwealth organizations-- were that tenured professors really don't do very much research in any of their fields. So that you may in fact be a quite a different, in that very small percentage of people who are indeed participating actively in research and academic activities, where in fact the great majority of professors and associate professors could increase their teaching responsibilities.
RONALD EHRENBERG: So Cornell is an extraordinary university. We're a university where--
AUDIENCE: And I'm making that a general remark, necessarily--
RONALD EHRENBERG: I know. But I mean, we're a university where every Nobel-Prize-winning scientist teaches introductory level classes.
Now, let's sort of take someone like me. I have a wonderful deal. For various reasons, I'm only teaching one class this semester.
This is a class with 72 students. They are working on research papers. They can do it in groups, but invariably, it turns out that it will be 30 different groups. They have to meet with me multiple times during the semester to sort of talk about their research papers.
Could I teach more classes? Sure, I could teach more classes. But the quality of what I would do would go down substantially.
Now, am I an outlier? Absolutely not. OK? This is a university in which the faculty, we passionately care about undergraduate education.
As Carolyn has pointed out, we have not followed the trend, which many other universities have done, of going heavily into the usage of adjunct faculty. We don't have graduate students who teach large lecture sections of freshman classes. We use them as sort of teaching assistants in small discussion sections, and as graders.
So I think the problem that you've pointed out may be a problem nationwide. But from my perspective, it's not a problem at Cornell. And there are very few faculty members here who I feel are shirking and not really performing--
AUDIENCE: But I know, but that's mother pie and applehood and the American flag, and we're all for that. But you showed us data that would suggest that we are in the median of everything else. So there's no reason not to think we're not in the median--
RONALD EHRENBERG: Yeah, now--
AUDIENCE: Wait, let me finish, sir.
RONALD EHRENBERG: The other thing--
AUDIENCE: So there is no reason not to think that this is intriguing.
RONALD EHRENBERG: The other thing to tell you is that the real salary of faculty members at Cornell today, relative to the Consumer Price Index, is not much higher than it was in 1970. So although the long-run trend is true, that faculty salaries are a major driver of tuition increases, faculty salary increases have not been the major thing that has been responsible for tuition increases over the past 30 years.
AUDIENCE: But we never see what percentage of the rising costs are in fact due to rising salaries among our faculty.
RONALD EHRENBERG: I mean, that is information which could be provided to you.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Harry [INAUDIBLE], class of '59. I hate to sound like an old curmudgeon, but when we started here in 1955, the tuition of the arts college was $1,000. And when we look at the compounded rates that get us up to $31,000, I think that's 3,100% over the last 51 years. Where are we going to be in 20 years? And who's going to be able to afford to go to college?
ROBERT FRANK: Herb Stein said, if something can't go on forever, it won't. I mean, if things get to where no one can afford to come to the schools that they're applying to, 10 for every open slot, then something's got to give. And I think we got to look forward to that day coming yet. You're absolutely right. If it keeps on going, something's got to give. We've got to look for--
ROBERT FRANK: I mean, we talked about a bunch of things that could be done.
AUDIENCE: So we go back to living in the old dorms that were like cell blocks, and having chipped beef on toast for dinner?
ROBERT FRANK: Yeah, we can't do that and hope to attract the students we want to attract. So it can't be that if we want to sort of maintain our position as a good school. So yeah, we'll have to attack in other ways.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Over here? Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Charles [INAUDIBLE], class of 1973. To sound even more like a curmudgeon, when my father went to Cornell, the tuition was $300 a year. And it was completely covered by his Regents' Scholarship. So, which isn't the case anymore.
But my question is, I don't know if these numbers would be borne out by Cornell's experience, but certainly when you look at many colleges across the country, the number of professors and instructional people it takes to deliver education to the number of students has stayed relatively the same over a 20-year period. And what really has grown is the number of administrators. And my question is, why does it take so many more administrators to deliver education?
RONALD EHRENBERG: The--
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Ron, you want to answer that?
RONALD EHRENBERG: Well--
CAROLYN AINSLIE: OK.
RONALD EHRENBERG: I'll sort of give a crack at it. I think you have to understand that what the federal government requires us to do, in terms of environmental and research administration, has gone up absolutely substantially. Secondly, you have to understand that many of the people serving in administrative roles in the university are working on funded research-related-type things. And so although their numbers have gone up, in a sense, tuition dollars are not paying for it.
And another thing is that we have had tremendous increases for psychological services, and health services, and the size of our development operation at universities has increased really substantially. But there, we're sort of paying people to sort of raise money for us, which will offset tuition increases.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Yeah. So those are a good start. And I would just add a few more examples there. Student expectations around services have grown. So instead of actually taking faculty time to do that, that might have happened 30 years ago, we are hiring professional staff to do some of those things now, whether it's career advising, advising, mentoring, those kinds of things.
And our fastest-growing job group here is actually information technology. And we can't keep up with that one fast enough, in terms of it. So as the world pace-- it just takes more people to support the expectations of both our faculty and students for a whole set of infrastructure here. It is something we pay a lot of attention to. We track headcount every year. We look at it. We look for efficiencies. So I think it's an important part of it.
I like to think of it, though, that we're partners with the faculty in delivering a really quality experience to our students, and think about it that way. Another question over here?
AUDIENCE: Yeah. My name is [INAUDIBLE], class of 1986, school of engineering. Professor Frank, you did a great job painting a strategy which is effectively MAD, mutually assured destruction.
Now, my question is the following. The picture you painted, if you look at US universities, holds out exactly as you played it out. But if you throw into the equation China and India, just as two examples-- you could throw in Israel, you can throw in Russia and other markets, right? You have extremely competitive universities there, and cost of education is a fraction of what it is.
When you throw that into the mix, it's a pretty disruptive force. And I wonder, five years from today, am I going to have to send my kids to India to get a great education, rather than having them come here? I wonder if you could comment on that.
ROBERT FRANK: Yeah, that's obviously a concern that we have to keep our eye on when we're figuring out where we need to go with policy. The dentists didn't think they had competition from abroad, except for maybe a few border towns in Texas. But now, if you need a lot of dental work done, you can go to India and get it done for less than the cost of what you pay here, plus have enough left over to tour all over India for a couple of weeks. So yeah, we're all, I think, vulnerable in ways, not just having to send our children abroad to get cheaper educations, but having people abroad doing online delivery of educational services that compete with what we're trying to offer.
So Cornell is going abroad in lots of different ways. We have campus initiatives in Europe and Asia. There's a lot to worry about there. Yeah, the market, every year is more competitive than the year before.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: Thank you. I think this will be our last question over here. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Rosanna Frank, class of '61, Human Ecology. As a graduate of one of the contract colleges, I wanted to ask, what is Cornell doing about allocating resources to make up for the shortfall that goes to the contract colleges each year from the state government? Because I think US News and World Report does not take into account the uniqueness of Cornell when they do their rankings. And one of the things that makes Cornell so very unique is the mix of the endowed and contract colleges, and the fact that any person can get an education in any area when they come to Cornell. And so we need to keep the contract colleges strong, as well as the endowed colleges.
CAROLYN AINSLIE: You bet. And it's a very important point. One, we spend a lot of time in Albany. In fact, I'm proud to say, in the year that we're in we got an 8% increase in our support, because we were finally-- it was a good year for them, but it also was a year that we convinced them that we were really an important part of higher education for the state.
Two, the contract colleges haven't had the same length of history, in terms of fundraising. And so it's really important in this upcoming campaign that we raise professorships and program support for the contract colleges, because they have been somewhat behind in having the same number of endowed professorships that the private part of the university has had.
And I think that the last piece is, we have been raising tuition so that we've been offsetting it. We have not been decreasing the quality. And one of the things that's really important to us is that we operate like one university.
And it's been something that Hunter Rawlings believed in, and actually went and allowed us to have a faculty salary program that was different from the state. I mean, only five years ago do we separate having a different compensation structure from the state, so that we could keep the quality up in the contract colleges. Those are just to name a few. Very important point.
And at that, I thank you all for coming. Thank you. Sorry it went over. Appreciate it.
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Tuition at selective private colleges and universities, including Cornell, has increased much more rapidly than the Consumer Price Index for many years. What factors explain this pattern, and can it continue indefinitely? What actions has Cornell been taking to hold down costs? Is there more that Cornell could or should be doing?
Moderator: Carolyn N. Ainslie, Vice President for Planning and Budget
Carolyn N. Ainslie Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics; Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow; Director, Cornell Higher Education Research Institute Robert H. Frank, Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics