Is it just a coincidence that federal loans to college students are now approaching a trillion dollars--and default rates are over 11 %--during the same time that the number of college and university administrators is ballooning? Of course not: the availability of government-backed tuition money from students and their parents insulates higher education from the constraints faced by the profit sector. The administrators, as Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit points out, get to put themselves into the budget.
Meanwhile, faculty are noticing that the money is not going to them. At Purdue--where retiring Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is about to become President--the amount of administrative "bloat" is being quantified and names are being named. It will be fascinating to find what President-elect Daniels, who has been a famous and salubrious cost-cutter in state government, will do when he encounters the academic dragon.
Universities are very much like government in general. Each seemingly superfluous position is bolstered by some crying social objective. For example, you need to foster diversity, right? So you need a chief diversity administrator at $198,000 a year. That person of course, needs staff of his/her own.
And so on.
Until the bubble bursts.