Nov 2019

Why Lazy Rivers Have Their Place On College Campuses—And Yet Still Might Just Be Lazy

At a time when college tuition list prices are higher than ever before, CBS News recently spotlighted how some colleges are spending more on lavish perks like lazy rivers in an effort to lure students to their campuses often at the expense of core academic facilities like libraries.

Although education onlookers have been quick to decry college administrators’ misappropriation of funds for education when spent on such apparent excesses, research that Bob Moesta and I led at the Christensen Institute suggests that for many of the students attending these schools, this type of opulent experience may be precisely part of what they are buying. Spending on these items also gives lie to the idea that brick-and-mortar colleges don’t spend much money on marketing. Spending on amenities like lazy rivers, alongside college athletics expenditures, may not be formally classified as marketing on a school’s 990, but they are certainly used to attract students.


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