Benjamin Ginsberg writes in the Washington Monthly about one reason that the cost of attending university has skyrocketed over the past few decades:
Forty years ago, America’s colleges employed more professors than administrators. The efforts of 446,830 professors were supported by 268,952 administrators and staffers.
....In 2005, colleges and universities employed more than 675,000 fulltime faculty members or full-time equivalents. In the same year, America’s colleges and universities employed more than 190,000 individuals classified by the federal government as “executive, administrative and managerial employees.” Another 566,405 college and university employees were classified as “other professional.”
Faculty growth has been roughly in line with growth in enrollment, which Ginsberg pegs at 50% over the past four decades. By contrast, support staff of various kinds has increased by nearly 500,000, a growth rate of 182%.
There's more at the link, including Ginsberg's take on why this is a bad trend even aside from all the money it costs. Maybe we need fewer adjunct professors and more adjunct administrators?