I don´t get it. I am in NYC having dinner with my eldest daughter, Alexa, a freshman at Columbia University. She is telling me about her “History of the Middle East” class and, in passing, she says that there are 300 students in her class. 300 students? Alexa´s tuition is $25K per year and she takes 10 classes. Therefore each class is $2500, so here there are 300 kids each paying $2500 or the crazy amount of $750K for a class that has 28 sessions of an hour and 15 minutes. The professor who teaches that class can´t possibly be making more than $50K just for teaching that class as he must do a lot else, and professor salaries, I estimate, cannot be much more than $200K per year. So the gross profit on that class is $700K. Now how can an institution that can make $700K on one course lose so much money and constantly be asking all of us ex-alumni to contribute to it? I haven´t studied the university income statement in detail but it sounds to me that these large courses must be cash cows. Of course Columbia has tons of expenses, administrators, teaching assistants, grants and so on, but still it seems to have an amazing top line and a terrible bottom line.

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