Higher Ed Bubble Driving Luxury Development Around College Campuses


The higher ed bubble – the explosive growth in tuition and student loan debt driven by government policies promoting college – has resulted in a lot of hiring and compensation growth in the higher ed industry.

And, in turn, that’s driving big-money development around college campuses to serve this growing class of rich university elite.

Real-estate investors and developers, hungry for new areas for growth, are finding a lucrative and previously untapped market in these areas surrounding college campuses, one marked by low inventory, booming enrollment and an increasing appetite for luxury living.

We see this national trend here in North Dakota, where salary for the state’s 11 university presidents has grown rapidly over the last decade (more than doubling for the heads of NDSU and UND). North Dakota’s new chancellor, Hamid Shirvani, got a $120,000 per year raise over his predecessor (he promptly bought a Porsche upon taking his new job).

At North Dakota’s largest university, the average full professor makes over $100,000/year, an amount that has grown $42,000 over the last decade.

How many of you are making $42,000/year more than you were a decade ago? Not many of you. But then, most of us don’t work in an industry in the middle of a bubble.

“When the borrowed money dries up, this’ll change,” writes Glenn Reynolds, author of The Higher Education Bubble.

Indeed it will. But in the mean team, let’s remember that this opulence is built on the back of unsustainable amounts of student loan debt, even as the value of a college degree declines.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • camsaure

    This opulence is also built on the backs of us taxpayers.

  • RCND

    But it’s for the children….

  • Bubba

    But how much do assistant professors make…not much, or the part-time faculty who receive no benefits. There aren’t too many “full professors” as a precent of total faculty at any University.

    • jj

      Somebody is taking home all the money that the ed folks are demanding from the taxpayer. Wonder who it is?

  • WOOF

    Four years undergrad, 2 or three for a masters,
    3 to 5 years of doctoral work, another 5 or ten for tenure,
    lecturer, then associate professorship and you need to publish
    original work.
    Full proffessor ;
    $100K doesn’t seem extravagant.

    • fargomg

      Yeah, the one thing your missing is that other then for undergrad they are probablly getting paid for all the other work that they do. So by the time they get to full poffessor they have already taken more money from the university then most of us see in 10 years of employement.

  • The Fighting Czech

    Well, on a positive note: at least they spend the money locally, and arent investing it in overseas Universities!!!

  • jimmypop

    i agree hes (and his fellows) overpaid, but you are still camping on a guy buying a used porche….seriously, a suburban would have cost more.