Higher Education Used to Love Controversy

It is interesting but depressing to me that the more eminent a college or university is perceived to be, the more outrageous are efforts by administrators to stifle individual expression and enforce a numbing conformity of ideas reminiscent of universities in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. The most prestigious group of schools in … Continue reading “Higher Education Used to Love Controversy”


Inflation Will Hit Universities Hard

It is indisputable that the U.S. faces the worst inflation in 40 years, an outcome that seemingly no one was predicting a few years ago. The impact on Americans of rapid, unanticipated price increases varies. Retired citizens living on interest income from bonds and fixed pensions are badly hurt, for example, while some others, including … Continue reading “Inflation Will Hit Universities Hard”


One of Our Few Great College Presidents Retires

University presidents make a difference. The best of them can steer a university to new heights of greatness, while the worst of them can bring costly mediocrity or even extinction. A few weeks ago, Mitch Daniels of Purdue, arguably the primus inter pares of American university presidents, announced that he was stepping down at the … Continue reading “One of Our Few Great College Presidents Retires”


In Princeton’s Contempt for Justice, Shades of Duke Lacrosse

Presidents of prestigious universities often make outrageous decisions inconsistent with such bedrock values as freedom of expression and providing the accused with traditional American due process. The shameful manner in which Princeton University fired Joshua Katz, a distinguished scholar and winner of several teaching awards, leads me to consider Christopher Eisgruber to be the worst … Continue reading “In Princeton’s Contempt for Justice, Shades of Duke Lacrosse”


The Very Model of a Modern University President

While American higher education often is rightly condemned for being inefficient, non-innovative, and resistant to change, there are exceptions, and there are some collegiate entrepreneurs whose success is worthy of commendation and emulation. To me, the top award for American higher education innovation must go to Mitch Daniels, who is just beginning his tenth year … Continue reading “The Very Model of a Modern University President”


Did You Know? How North Carolina’s Institutions Rank Among the Nation’s Top Colleges

How do North Carolina’s colleges rank amongst the nation’s top colleges? Do going to these schools make a big difference in earnings after graduation? Using both Forbes and the Wall Street Journal rankings of the top American schools, four schools in North Carolina are ranked in the top 100. Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, and Wake … Continue reading “Did You Know? How North Carolina’s Institutions Rank Among the Nation’s Top Colleges”


Did You Know? The Higher Education Profile of North Carolina Business Leaders

Is having a college degree a critical dimension in becoming a business leader for those running North Carolina’s largest corporations? We have analyzed that question as part of a broader study of the relationship between higher education and corporate leadership in the United States, work currently being undertaken for the James G. Martin Center. Specifically, … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Higher Education Profile of North Carolina Business Leaders”


The Edifice Complex Is a Threat to University Budgets

According to one recent estimate, American colleges in the last few years, in a period of extraordinary enrollment decline, have added 70 million square feet of new instruction and research facilities on their campuses. That is more space than in 10 Pentagons, the largest office facility in the U.S. Yet enrollments for fall 2020 had … Continue reading “The Edifice Complex Is a Threat to University Budgets”


Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans

A recent defense of student loans by Jason Delisle of the American Enterprise Institute is, uncharacteristically for him, off-base. He defends the federal student loan program, which he correctly notes is criticized by those on the left (“college should be free”) as well as on the right (“student loan programs have raised the price of … Continue reading “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans”


American Higher Education: Beset with Problems, but Solutions Exist

Editor’s note: This is an abridged transcript of a speech Richard Vedder gave at a Martin Center luncheon on January 30, 2020. I will concentrate today on the economics of higher education—why it is so costly, and a few things we can do about it. When I entered Northwestern University over six decades ago, the … Continue reading “American Higher Education: Beset with Problems, but Solutions Exist”