A recent study was released that shows that colleges are spending more and more money at a higher rate on administration and recreational facilities, as opposed to instruction for students. This hits close to home for Portland State because of the new recreational center that opened up this year.
According to the New York Times, spending on student services, such as recreation, increased 20 percent over the decade. This is compared with a 10 percent increase for instruction and academics.
Some members of the Portland State community may feel like this article is an attack on the rec center. Earlier this year, PSU opened up a student recreation center that rivals the facilities of Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.
The rec center has been a hit on campus with students, athletes, faculty and staff alike. It is a great facility that the school can be proud of.
However, the New York Times article has facts to back up its position that schools are spending more money on recreational facilities at a higher rate than instruction for students, and it implies that this is a negative thing.
If the price of instruction is staying at a steady rate, and the schools are not expanding the teaching staff, then that could mean that the teaching staff was adequate in the first place. So why do they need to spend more money and expand on something that was just fine to begin with?
School is about a lot more than just the instruction that students get in the classroom. It is also about the community that the school creates, and facilities that cater to students' needs, such as student recreation centers that help build that community.
Giving students a place, such as a recreation center or a student union, gives students opportunities to live a little outside of a classroom and helps them build better relationships with their schoolmates, rather than be only classmates. It helps give more to students' lives than just schoolwork.
The amount of spending on recreation is rising more quickly than the amount of spending on instruction. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. It is good for schools to be spending money on services for students because it ultimately creates a richer and greater college experience for the students.