Are new student amenities boosting the cost of tuition?

As described by, new student amenities such as lazy rivers are “bad for optics” when talking about the cost of college. The article explores the notion of luxury amenities on college campuses driving up the cost of tuition.

Because New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have criticized these high-priced student enhancements, they may be unfairly correlating these spending projects with the cost of tuition.

With student loan debt spiraling out of control and tuition continuing to spike, both lawmakers believe that these types of amenities aren’t needed.

But according to’s article, tuition isn’t rising because of a lazy river. The price of higher education is going up due to cuts in state budgets.

“These lazy rivers are not the reason why student debt is soaring seemingly out of control. The big problem that higher education faces today, at the public side, is cuts in state spending,” said Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary, David Feldman to

This certainly is an interesting antecedent when looking at college costs. As mentioned earlier, adding lazy rivers and climbing walls is “bad for optics” when discussing how colleges charge students for their education. In this case, LSU is in the process of upgrading its student recreational facilities by installing a lazy river and other amenities.

While tuition isn’t impacted by the cost of the upgrade, which is $85 million, student fees were effected. That decision to increase student fees was granted by the school’s student government, not leadership brass.

If anything, this just seems like a popular talking point for politicians gearing up for the 2016 election season. The cost of college and student loan debt will be hot butting topics for voters nationwide, and to hinge “lazy river” and “rock climbing wall” onto the rising cost of college will simply add fodder to the conversation.

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