What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?

Student loan debt has reached the dizzying level of nearly $1.6 trillion—largely due to ever-soaring tuition prices and students taking on financial burdens that far outweigh their earning potential. The issue has gripped national attention to the point that presidential hopefuls are now promising various forms of student debt relief as a central campaign platform. … Continue reading “What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?”


‘Baby Bonds’ Would Skyrocket College Costs, Bilk Taxpayers for Billions

For too many politicians and presidential hopefuls, a free college education is a cure-all for inequality in America—so long as the federal government can pour enough money into it. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), for instance, has opted to make “baby bonds” the centerpiece of his campaign. Under this policy, fleshed out in … Continue reading “‘Baby Bonds’ Would Skyrocket College Costs, Bilk Taxpayers for Billions”


Income Share Agreements Offer a Promising Alternative to Federal Loans

College is expensive. Even in today’s deeply divided political climate, all Americans seem to agree on that. But while most, if not all, Americans agree that student loan debt is a big problem, the proper role of the federal government in distributing loans remains hotly contested. A solution could lie in offering a more attractive … Continue reading “Income Share Agreements Offer a Promising Alternative to Federal Loans”



Answering the Perennial Question: Why Does College Cost So Much?

Last month, Amanda Ripley, writing for The Atlantic, asked a good question: why does higher education in the United States cost significantly more than in every other OECD nation except Luxembourg? Related to that: Why have college costs risen sharply over time? Unfortunately, while the questions Ripley raises are compellingly important, the answers she provided … Continue reading “Answering the Perennial Question: Why Does College Cost So Much?”


How to Stop Student Aid from Driving Up Tuition

The Department of Education’s method for awarding college students financial aid has many perverse effects. It contributes to rising tuition, keeps students in the dark about their aid eligibility for too long, gives some colleges unfair special treatment, and does not incentivize colleges to improve. But a small tweak would address those problems: replacing the … Continue reading “How to Stop Student Aid from Driving Up Tuition”


The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30: How Federal Funding Drives Tuition

In 1987, U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett asserted that increases in federal student aid make it possible for universities to increase tuition. In this presentation, Jenna Robinson will describe her new paper analyzing 30 years of research on that idea, which is now called “The Bennett Hypothesis.” Click here to register. This event is a Shaftesbury … Continue reading “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30: How Federal Funding Drives Tuition”


Does the Bennett Hypothesis Still Matter?

It’s been 30 years since then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett took to the pages of The New York Times to chide colleges for their “greedy” behavior. He decried the negative effect federal student aid seemed to have on tuition, namely, that it allowed universities to raise prices without feeling the consequences of reduced demand or lower-quality … Continue reading “Does the Bennett Hypothesis Still Matter?”


The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30

Many Americans are concerned about the rise of university tuition. “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30,” a research paper by Jenna A. Robinson, merges findings from 25 empirical studies on the “Bennett Hypothesis”: Reagan-era Education Secretary William J. Bennett’s theory that large amounts of federal student aid drive up the cost of tuition.  Executive Summary In 1987, … Continue reading “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30”


If There’s a College Affordability Crisis, What Should We Do About It?

In last year’s campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tried to attract votes with promises of free college. In the British elections earlier this year, one reason for the Labour Party’s surge was its pledge to do more to help students afford college. Higher education has become a very big political issue, … Continue reading “If There’s a College Affordability Crisis, What Should We Do About It?”