Getting Serious About a Parallel University System

We have reached a critical juncture in our nation’s history. As once hallowed institutions decay before our eyes, parallel structures struggle to arise. Cryptocurrencies, Fintechs, and private equity funds hedge against financial system collapse. Private security continues to grow in the face of police defunding crusades. And in K-12 education, charter, parochial, and private schools … Continue reading “Getting Serious About a Parallel University System”


Be Reasonable, But Not Naive, About the Crisis in Higher Ed

Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education is indeed a reasonable book. Drawing on thinkers from John Locke to Allan Bloom, Ursinus College political theory professor Jonathan Marks cuts through the excesses of higher education commentary and makes a compelling case that the underlying problem at the heart of higher education‘s troubles is … Continue reading “Be Reasonable, But Not Naive, About the Crisis in Higher Ed”


Biden Could Shake Up Higher Ed—If He Doesn’t Endorse the Status Quo

Now that President Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president, he wants to hit the ground running and attend to urgent priorities. One of his first moves was to extend student loan payment deferrals until October, buying time for further reforms to America’s higher education system. Deferrals will be one small part of … Continue reading “Biden Could Shake Up Higher Ed—If He Doesn’t Endorse the Status Quo”


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”


Did You Know? The State of Federal Student Loans

With the hyperbole inherent in a politicized topic like student loans, it’s important to step back and look at the data. The Department of Education recently published a quarterly report of the federal student loan portfolio with updated totals and information on what student debt looks like today. As of January 3, 2020, the federal … Continue reading “Did You Know? The State of Federal Student Loans”


Russell Kirk on Higher Education

Russell Kirk isn’t known as a policy wonk. The Great Books, not the mathematical or statistical models of economic technicians, were his organon of choice. He devoted essays to broad, perennial themes like “the moral imagination,” “liberal learning,” and “the permanent things.” Read his numerous columns about higher education, however, and you might come away … Continue reading “Russell Kirk on Higher Education”


New Research Shows Federal Student Aid Is Worse than We Thought

For years I have railed against the dysfunctional federal student loan program. The availability of cheap federal student loans has enabled universities to increase tuition fees aggressively, helping fund an unproductive academic arms race that, among other things, has led to sizable administrative bloat on most campuses. The proportion of recent college graduates from the … Continue reading “New Research Shows Federal Student Aid Is Worse than We Thought”


The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University

The modern American university has changed almost beyond recognition from the form it had even 100 years ago. It is larger, more “diverse,” more of a business, and more industrialized with relatively fewer teachers and more bureaucrats than ever before. Those changes have led to new problems. Higher education, if not broken, is at least … Continue reading “The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University”


Can American Higher Education Be Restored?

People who analyze and write about higher education generally fall into two camps. One camp consists of those who believe that our system is “the envy of the world” and just needs more public support to do its great work of improving our citizens and strengthening our economy. (For a sense of what that camp … Continue reading “Can American Higher Education Be Restored?”


Student Loan Defaults Reveal the True Cost of Student Loans

With the rising number of student loan defaults, the federal government has reaped what it has sown. A government policy to give virtually any student a loan has pushed tens of thousands of them into a financial hole from which they will struggle to escape for years. A new report from The Institute for College … Continue reading “Student Loan Defaults Reveal the True Cost of Student Loans”