According to a new study, college students are covering more of what it costs to educate them, even as most colleges are spending less on students, reports the New York Times. The study, based on data that colleges and universities report to the federal government, also found that the share of higher-education budgets that goes to instruction has declined, while the portion spent on administrative costs has increased. It describes a system that is increasingly stratified: the smallest number of students–about 1 million out of a total 18 million students–attend the private research universities that spend the most per student. The largest number of students–6 million–attend community colleges, which spend the least per student and have cut spending most sharply as government aid has declined. "Students are paying more, and a greater share of the costs, but are arguably getting less," said Jane Wellman, the executive director of the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability, which drafted the study. The Delta Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, seeks to increase college affordability by controlling costs, a goal it says can be accomplished without sacrificing quality. The study is a rare effort to look inside what researchers call the black box of higher education: the question of why it costs so much and where the money goes. Colleges have justified rising tuition, in part, by saying that it does not cover anywhere near the full cost of educating a student. That is still true, but less so; the study found that students are contributing a greater share of the cost of their education at all kinds of institutions, even after accounting for scholarships and other tuition discounts…

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