Are More Options Always a Good Thing? The Backfiring Effects of Academic Proliferation

The past decade has ushered in dramatic growth in the number of postsecondary degree options available to US students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the US increased by 22 percent from 2010 (1.6 million) to 2019 (2.0 million). Likewise, master’s degrees increased by 20 percent, … Continue reading “Are More Options Always a Good Thing? The Backfiring Effects of Academic Proliferation”


Complete an Online Ph.D. in Under a Year—Too Good to be True?

In the last few years, the higher ed landscape is seeing a steady rise in the number of institutions offering online degrees. Schools like Western Governors University and Grand Canyon University have stepped in to make degrees affordable and attainable for both lower-income students and students for whom traveling to a traditional classroom is seemingly … Continue reading “Complete an Online Ph.D. in Under a Year—Too Good to be True?”


Let the Buyer Beware!

“Almost all students cite getting a better job as a primary reason for attending college,” writes Preston Cooper in the opening paragraph of his new study, entitled Is College Worth It? A Comprehensive Return on Investment Analysis. He refers to an annual survey by UCLA that found that the percentage of incoming freshmen who state … Continue reading “Let the Buyer Beware!”


Letter to the Editor: How prospective students can choose a major

To the editor: The article on “How Higher Education is Going to Change” talks about the increasing importance of consumer input to the mix of what is offered. But how do prospective students/consumers know what they prefer in their education? In many or most cases, they are clueless. The typical entering student has no idea … Continue reading “Letter to the Editor: How prospective students can choose a major”


How Higher Education is Going to Change

Predictions that American higher education is on the verge of great change have been heard for quite a few years, but so far the system doesn’t look much different than it did twenty years ago. Perhaps the prognostications were wrong. I have never doubted that higher education was on an unsustainable path and after reading … Continue reading “How Higher Education is Going to Change”


Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way

It’s old news by now that the wage premium attached to a college degree largely depends on the field of study. Engineering and health care, for example, are far more likely to lead to a faster economic payoff than the arts or religion. But what if prospective employers were provided convincing evidence that graduates actually … Continue reading “Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way”


The Liberal Arts: What We Don’t Know

What is the value of a liberal arts education? At a time when parents are wary of taking on loads of debt to finance their children’s college degrees, it was inevitable that the language of the market would become more pronounced, especially during a pandemic. For my money, the cleverest answer came from a former … Continue reading “The Liberal Arts: What We Don’t Know”


Saving a Struggling College Starts with the Board

Before the COVID-19 pandemic walloped our colleges and universities, higher education had been facing threats to existing business models for years. A great deal has been written the past few years predicting the demise of large numbers of U.S. colleges and universities. Many higher education institutions are indeed threatened. But their demise may not be … Continue reading “Saving a Struggling College Starts with the Board”


When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)

Student debt has a bad reputation. It’s under attack from the left, which sees debt as a ball and chain that ruins the lives of young people who had the audacity to seek a decent education. Many on the right share this dim view of student debt but lay the blame at the feet of … Continue reading “When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)”


America Needs a GED Equivalent for a College Degree

As higher education undergoes dramatic changes thanks to the coronavirus, reformers should aim higher than expanding online education. Now is a propitious time to end the dominance of accreditation agencies in higher ed and create a GED-like equivalency exam for a college degree. Many students want a traditional college life: living on campus for four … Continue reading “America Needs a GED Equivalent for a College Degree”