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 Vision Thing

The 2008 financial crisis, which still lingers in the higher education community, should not have been a surprise. Higher education has a financial cycle—trough, recovery, peak and decline—that mirrors the business cycle. Neither corporate nor university executives can predict with any certainty when the next downturn will occur, but institutional leaders could have prepared their institutions by containing their ambitions, creating safeguards, and developing contingency plans.

My heretical view is that mainstream public and private not-for-profit higher education boards of trustees have neither the will nor the incentive to control their institutions’ costs. The pursuit and maintenance of prestige are more valued than fiscal responsibility.