In Congress, Higher Education Proposals Fall Flat

Although the bills currently under consideration are unlikely to pass in the immediate future, evaluating them reveals the current areas of federal interest in higher education. These categories can be broadly defined as student aid and access, controlling costs, and political interest.

2016 Commencement Season Relatively Calm, But Lacks Viewpoint Diversity

It’s possible that the relatively calm season is the result of well-publicized controversy in previous years, as universities appear to overwhelming exclude conservative speakers from commencement ceremonies. A 2015 study from the Young America Foundation found that, of the top 50 universities ranked by US News and World Report, the ratio of liberal to conservative speakers was nine to one. That trend holds at North Carolina universities.

North Carolina Unveils Innovative Approach to Remediation

The North Carolina Community College System is poised to become a national leader in career and college readiness. At a time when there is a spotlight on both high schools and community colleges to do a better job preparing students for prosperous careers, the North Carolina Community College System has taken several key steps toward that goal.

The Frivolity of Free Community College (And What We Can Do Instead)

The idea of free community college has become a topic of national debate in recent years, highlighted by Tennessee’s and Oregon’s enactment of statewide plans, and President Obama’s advocacy for a nationwide program. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who last week won the Democratic nomination for governor, has laid out a lofty education plan that includes tuition-free community college for North Carolina students. How to pay for this plan and its overall structure remains uncertain, but the flaws of similar plans—and more innovative ideas to improve access and outcomes for North Carolina’s community college students—are worth discussion.

Guaranteed Tuition Plans Pose Greater Risk Than Potential Benefit

Amid what appears to be a national crisis of student debt, legislators and higher education leaders have clamored for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. Guaranteed tuition programs are among the innovations gaining traction. More than 300 colleges offer these programs, and a group of North Carolina legislators wants to explore whether to add the state’s 17 public universities to the growing list. While that may seem like a good idea, there are potential negative consequences for both students and universities.