Author: David Wilezol

David Wilezol is the co-author of "Is College Worth It?" with former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

Lee Siegel: Bad Op-Ed, Bad Thinking

Without rehashing the fine points made by AEI’s Andrew Kelly and Slate’s Jordan Weissmann about the irresponsible advice dispensed in Lee Siegel’s op-ed in the New York Times it’s worth noting a few points on the purported virtues of defaulting on student loans. First, Siegel seems to give the impression he was already under a […]

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Obama Hides $22 Billion in Student Debt

At the Washington Wizards-Brooklyn Nets game Saturday night, a Net player, in pursuit of a loose ball, careened into a waitress on the sidelines who was carrying a tray full of beers. The clip of the sudsy disaster went viral, and curious minds wanted to know more about the drenched victim. As it turns out, […]

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The Bureaucrat Behind the “Rape Culture” Radicals

To most Americans, Catherine Lhamon is all but unknown. As the U.S. Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, however, she plays an outsized role in pursuing colleges for their purportedly incompetent handing of sexual assault cases. As the issue of campus sexual assault continues to make news, it’s important that we understand her […]

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Looking for Teachers Qualified to Teach

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Tuesday a new set of rules designed to stimulate greater effectiveness in America’s teacher training programs. States will now be required to report to the federal government statistics such as job placement rates and student performance. Favorable student outcomes, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested, could also be […]

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Overstating Unhappiness with Student Loans

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Loan Ombudsman has just released his annual report on private student loans. The data in the report suggests that an epidemic of non-repayment is happening in the private student loan sector. Some 5300 borrowers lodged complaints with the CFPB from October 2013-September 2014, an increase of 38% from the […]

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How the Education Department Warped Title IX

When Congress passed the Title IX section of the Education Amendments of 1972, it aimed simply to offer women more opportunities to participate in on-campus athletics. Over the years, however, Title IX has become the legal foundation for the Education Department to insinuate itself into sexual assault cases. The key passage of Title IX reads, “No […]

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Student Loan Reform Is Now a Major Political Issue

As student debt continues to climb and reform fails to materialize, it’s not surprising that some politicians are capitalizing on their constituents’ frustration. In fact, some of the brightest stars on both sides of the partisan divide are taking up the cause of student loan reform. Senator Marco Rubio, who seems likely to run for […]

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Why is Brandeis a Haven for Anti-Israel Rhetoric?

Just as a new conflict breaks out between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East, the professoriate’s bias against Israel is resurfacing in novel, ugly ways. The Washington Free Beacon has exposed an anti-Israel listserv at Brandeis University, where faculty members expressed concerns about Israelis harvesting organs, referred to the President of Brandeis and his wife […]

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Accreditors Are Now Enforcing Political Orthodoxy

Since the 19th century, regionally-based accrediting bodies that use peer-based evaluation have determined which colleges and universities can stay open. Knowing the power that these agencies hold, schools usually march in lockstep to accommodate them. After all, the consequence of losing accreditation means a loss of federal funds (most commonly, student loan dollars). The mission […]

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When Is College Worth It?

It’s important to remember that though college makes good financial sense, not all college degrees are created equal.  A new paper by Temple economics professor Douglas Webber makes this point by highlighting a few factors which determine whether college is worth it. The first, major choice, surprised him. As he told the Chronicle of Higher […]

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Will Starbucks Save Higher Education?

Will working as a barista reduce your college tuition? Starbucks thinks it should. Yesterday, Starbucks CEO and chairman Howard Schultz announced that his company will pay for a portion of its employees’ college educations at the online arm of Arizona State University, provided they work up to 20 hours a week for the company. It […]

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A Low Point at High Point University

Out of North Carolina come some disturbing new details about a death on the campus of High Point University. In March 2012, Robert Eugene Tipton, Jr., a student at the school, died while in the company of several brothers of his Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. Tipton’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit which claims […]

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NYU’s New Graduate Student Union

As Judah mentioned on Thursday, graduate students at NYU have voted 620-10 in favor of unionization. This is not the first time that grad students at NYU have voted to do so. In 2002, grad students there became the first graduate student union to negotiate a contract with a private university, before the National Labor […]

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The Tuition Is Too Damn High (…Because of Government Subsidies)

The Washington Post is currently running a series of research pieces on the economics of higher ed entitled “The Tuition Is Too Damn High.”  Last week, I criticized Washington Post blogger Dylan Matthews’ assertion that paying for a college education is uniformly worth it, arguing that although aggregate data on employment and wages suggests that […]

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The Washington Post Oversimplifies The Value of College

Mark Twain once commented that Richard Wagner’s music “isn’t as bad as it sounds.” Despite daily sob stories of student debt, joblessness, and emotional disappointment, many defenders of higher education insist that college is absolutely worth it, for everyone. This is a simple reduction of the argument that deceives many. Nobody disputes that college graduates […]

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A Closer Look at President Obama’s Higher-Ed Plan

As I wrote last week on National Review Online, President Obama’s higher education reform agenda  acknowledges that decades of increasing government subsidies aren’t lowering the price of college. In fact, they have pushed prices to astronomical levels. This theory is known as the Bennett Hypothesis, after former Secretary of Education (and my boss) Bill Bennett, who first noticed […]

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Harkin Hamstrings Higher-Ed Reform

After weeks of squabbling on whether rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans would be tied to market-based interest rates or not, President Obama signed the long-awaited student loan interest rate bill on August 9th, 39 days after the old student loan rate expired. For students preparing to go back to school in August, many of […]

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Can Oregon Save Higher-Ed?

The state of Oregon has announced a new pilot program for funding higher education. Per the Wall Street Journal: As lawmakers in Washington remain at loggerheads over the student-debt crisis, Oregon’s legislature is moving ahead with a plan to enable students to attend state schools with no money down. In return, under one proposal, the […]

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How Elite Colleges Drive Income Inequality

In the last few months, there’s been a flurry of articles in the mainstream press acknowledging the same problem: a paucity of high-achieving, low-income students at elite colleges. “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor,” says the New York Times. ABC tells us “Colleges Struggle to Connect With High-Achieving Poor Students.” Likewise, NPR is concerned […]

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Let’s Listen to Those Scary Tales about Student Loans

Writer Christopher Shea argued in the Washington Post that the problems associated with student loans – and by extension, the cost of college – are overstated. Contrary to many of the sob stories in the media, says Shea, “…it’s almost always well worth what it does cost — assuming that you graduate and, if your  loans […]

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CNN Notices the Value of An Associate’s Degree

A recent piece from CNNMoney has noted the deflating value of a bachelor’s degree. Although community college degrees are frequently perceived as less “prestigious” than a four-year B.A., it turns out that nearly 30% of Americans with Associate’s degrees now make more than those with Bachelor’s degrees, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and […]

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A New Model for Higher Ed?

A fantastic New York Times piece yesterday shed light on Thomas Edison State College, an accredited state college in New Jersey. The article highlights TESC’s model of awarding credits to students based on demonstrating competency, not earning credits in situ, as is the norm at many schools. Many TESC students, earn credits by cobbling together […]

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But Will the Campaign for New Accountability Work?

The push to make public the earnings of new college graduates and President Obama’s “College Scorecard,” which he touted in his State of the Union Speech last night, are promising tools to assist graduates in making the best choices of school and major. Several states have also set up similar methods of evaluating the “bang […]

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Pleasure Island

The kids! The boys! They’re all donkeys! – Jiminy Cricket Beloit College recently released its annual “Mindset List,” the findings of a yearly survey which attempts to take stock of the cultural touchstones that each generation of college freshman is, or is not, familiar with. Most of the observations are benign: “They can’t picture people […]

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Some Hope for Higher Ed Reform

The current conversation on higher ed reform coming is unusually platitudinous even for an election year. This was clearest earlier this year during the battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the proposed federal student loan interest rate, a subject fairly inconsequential in larger problem of sky-high college costs. In his Democratic nomination acceptance […]

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