finances

Higher Education’s ‘Obesity’ Problem

Open a marketing brochure for any college or university in the United States and you’ll find an info-graphic touting the variety and number of degree programs that the institution offers.  The more options, the rationale goes, the more likely a student will find a desired specialty.  The distinction between programs can be subtle, for instance […]

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In Hard Times, Diversity Bureaucracies Do Well

By Duke Cheston Originally Posted from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy About a year and a half ago, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro attempted to hire a new chief diversity officer. The university sought an administrator who would focus on increasing appreciation for racial differences on campus–even though UNCG already had […]

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Elite College ($50,000 a Year) or Good State School ($20,000)?

The new Sallie Mae-Gallup survey of attitudes toward higher education, “How America Pays for College 2012,” shows that Americans are becoming increasingly resistant to rising college prices. Some people who were saying “I want the best college money can buy” a few years ago, are now saying “We aren’t going to pay sky-high tuition when […]

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A College with 90,000 Students May Go Under

The City College of San Francisco, the largest college in California with 90,000 students, appears to be on the brink of closing. California’s Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges put it on probation and gave it just eight months to demonstrate why it should stay in business. Without accreditation, City College will be ineligible […]

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The Higher Ed Bubble–Not as Big as You Think

Cross-posted from Big Think. When even the judicious George Will is chiming in on an important policy issue, you just know the concern must be serious and supported by all the right studies. THE HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE, the thinking goes, is just like THE HOUSING BUBBLE.

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Cheaper Student Loans–A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come

When Victor Hugo claimed that all the world’s armies are powerless against an idea whose time has come, he probably had in mind good ideas. But the time can come for a bad idea also. Low-cost student loans, embraced by President Obama, Governor Romney, and Congressional leaders of both parties, is a bad idea. Students […]

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Women’s Studies Professor Takes a Vacation

How easy do some college professors have it?  Here is a paragraph from an Aug. 28 story in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the effect of recession-hit Nevada’s higher-education budget cuts at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas: One person who hasn’t spent much time on the campus since May is [Lynn] Comella.  Sitting behind a […]

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After Graduation, Get a Job Immediately, or Else

One of the frequent complaints one hears from humanities professors and figures in the “softer” social sciences is that students and a growing number of higher education officials, consultants, and commentators regard college more and more as a job-training program.  While driving across the country this week, I heard Rush Limbaugh declare that the only […]

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Sometimes Tuition Increases Are Good News

Almost lost in the welter of legislation to make it through the New York State government policy mill in its closing minutes was some help for New York’s two public universities – CUNY and SUNY.  Having endured hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts in state support over the last three years, they are finally […]

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The Financial Pressure on Faculty

The report entitled “What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors” is an important study that adds to the growing data base on the outcome of a college education.  It’s a product of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, and is authored by Anthony Carnevale, Jeff Strohl, and Michelle Melton. The study collects data […]

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Why University Presidents Are Clueless About the Real World

New Pew Research Center data show that a large majority of Americans think U.S. colleges and universities offer only fair or poor value for the financial cost -but college presidents strikingly disagree, with a majority of them thinking college offers at least a good value (though college presidents are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the quality of American higher education compared to the […]

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Why Do the Big Donors Give?

From reading news stories about multimillion-dollar gifts to universities, it’s easy to get the impression that the donors are mostly rich people with pronounced ideological agendas–or else they wouldn’t open their wallets so readily. In April 2010, for example, the billionaire-financier George Soros, known for his funding of progressive causes and his efforts to defeat George […]

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In Praise of Ideological Openness

Many people, some conservatives included, say we need to get ideology out of the college classroom. Some professors say proudly, “my students never come to know where I stand.”   I practice an opposite approach. I tell students that I am a free-market economist, a classical liberal or libertarian.  And I am not suggesting that […]

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Should University Flagships Go It Alone?

Overshadowed by the big political confrontation in Wisconsin is a higher-education story of note: The highly regarded “flagship” Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin seeks permission to secede from the rest of the state public higher education system (yet remain under the state’s oversight and subsidization).  While this is being justified now by the […]

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Highly Stressed Students and the Aimless Curriculum

When news came out recently that this year’s college freshmen rank their emotional well-being at record-low levels, observers in the media and the ivory tower began to wring their hands. Just how depressed are young men and women on campus? According to researchers at UCLA who conduct the annual “American Freshman” survey, the percentage of […]

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A Fishy Proposal for Albany

George Philip deserves a prominent place in any 2010 academic hall of shame. The SUNY Albany president recently terminated the university’s French, Russian, Italian, Classics, and Theater departments, citing financial concerns. That Albany purports to be a quality university (and is, in fact, one of SUNY’s better branches) makes Philip’s move all the more unjustifiable. […]

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Who Pays the Hidden Cost of University Research?

Higher education in America is in financial crisis. In constant dollars, the average cost of tuition and fees at public colleges has risen almost 300 percent since 1980. Our best public research universities, like my own University of California (UC), are wracked with doubt: will they be able to continue their historic role as institutions […]

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What Happened at Berkeley in November

We now have a long and fascinating report by the campus police review board on last fall’s disruptive protests at the University of California, Berkeley. The 128-page document, entitled “November 20, 2009: Review, Reflection, and Recommendations,” released in mid-June, is the product of months of yeoman work garnering volumes of evidence. It chronicles and evaluates […]

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How the Campuses Helped Ruin California’s Economy

All across the country there were demonstrations on March 4 by students (and some faculty) against cuts in higher education funding, but inevitably attention focused on California, where the modern genre originated in 1964. I joined the University of California faculty in 1966 and so have watched a good many of them, but have never […]

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Why The Student Protesters Are Wrong

By Daniel Bennett Thousands of students on more than a hundred college campuses joined together symbolically yesterday to protest sharp tuition hikes. The students pointed the finger at hard-pressed state and local governments. That was a mistake. State and local subsidies to public colleges and universities increased by 44% in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars during the […]

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Those Disastrous Student Loans

Alan Michael Collinge is back in his gadfly role agitating against the student loan industry. Collinge is the author of last year’s The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History—and How We Can Fight Back (Beacon Press) and founder of the website studentloanjustice.org, dedicated to, among other things restoring the bankruptcy protection […]

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Out Of Her Depth?

Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, quit the board of directors of Goldman Sachs, citing the “increasing time requirements associated with her position as President.” What she didn’t cite were the two or three weeks of steady criticism from financial analysts and students and the student newspaper in response to belated awareness of her lucrative […]

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Is an Endowment a Nest Egg or a Gambler’s Stake?

College investments dropped 23 percent in 2009, the most disastrous year since the National Association of College and University Business Officers began compiling investment statistics in 1971. Two observations can be made about NACUBO’s report, issued last week: One is: The richer the institution, the harder the fall, generally speaking. Harvard, the nation’s wealthiest university […]

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Another Thick Stack Of Paper

The Gates Foundation has just released a report “With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them” on why students fail to finish college, which might seem a timely topic amidst recent hand-wringing about our persistent failure to actually get students to a diploma. The problem, as with about all studies on this topic, is that it […]

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The Money Problem at U Cal

As a regent of the University of California (UC), I voted against “fee” increases proposed by the administration as often as I voted for them, but with each vote I realized that UC was slowly moving toward the day when basic decisions would have to be made about how the university is financed, who can […]

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