Friday, May 29, 2009

Article: Bursting the Higher Ed Bubble

This is a great article.

"Will Higher Education be the Next Bubble to Burst?" So asks a recent op-ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The question is powerful. Data points:

• Over the past quarter-century, the average cost of higher education has risen at a rate four times faster than inflation—twice as fast as the cost of health care.
• Tuition, room, and board at private colleges can cost $50,000 per year or more.
• The market crash of 2008 inflicted terrible damage on college endowments. The Commonfund Institute reports that endowments dropped by an average of 23 percent in the five months ending Nov. 30, 2008.

I particularly like this idea:
Maybe tough high school exit exams would serve the needs of employers who currently insist on a BA not for its own sake but as proof that a student was not too lazy or aimless to get one. Indeed, it could be that when the job market attaches less value to a piece of parchment, universities will at last lay aside their often ugly political preoccupations and rediscover their true mission: the pursuit of knowledge as a good in itself.

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