DC Wants to Further Subsidize Higher Education: Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

Congressional Democrats are reintroducing the Debt-Free College Act in an attempt to lower costs and increase federal intervention in higher education. This debt-free proposal would require the federal government to match every dollar from states’ higher education appropriations to help students pay “all the costs” of college, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan told reporters. But while … Continue reading “DC Wants to Further Subsidize Higher Education: Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea”

Public Universities Exploit Eminent Domain Powers with Little Oversight

Colleges tend to expand beyond their original missions by hiring more administrators and creating new programs. But they can also expand physically by exercising power usually reserved for state and federal governments. When that happens, universities can abuse their power and undermine the public good. For a prime example of this expansion, look at how … Continue reading “Public Universities Exploit Eminent Domain Powers with Little Oversight”

Engineering Education: Social Engineering Rather than Actual Engineering 

We engineers like to solve technical problems. That’s the way we think, that’s why we chose our major, that’s why we got into and stayed in engineering. There are several other reasons why we got into engineering. One of them was the absence of what I describe here as “social engineering,” where the professor/instructor is … Continue reading “Engineering Education: Social Engineering Rather than Actual Engineering “

Cutting Costs Is Possible. These Schools Did It.

As the stock market gyrates and talk of a new recession begins, many universities have reason to worry. The cost of college education hasn’t stopped rising, students are fearful of being burdened by debt, and political pressure is beginning to weigh in. Congress is entertaining a bill that would require 25 percent of a school’s endowment spending to go toward student financial aid, and several presidential candidates have unveiled plans to solve the student debt crisis. At the state level, the return of state support to its pre-recession levels may be in jeopardy. But a few universities have chosen to take a different route. In addition to looking for more state revenues, they’ve found ways to reduce their expenditures and to ease the financial burden on students.

The Game Changer: Mitch Daniels Paves a New Path for University Presidents

So far, Mitch Daniels has managed to skillfully navigate the treacherous waters of academic politics and actually get some things accomplished. By really leading, instead of following the pack, he may be paving the way for other non-traditional university presidents at a time when the status quo is no longer enough.

Can States Use Higher Education as an Economic Tonic?

Politicians in three Midwestern states – Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin – have lately been working on plans that are based on the idea that higher education can spur state economies along to better performance. While the details differ somewhat, all are rooted in the concept that increasing the number of residents with college educations is an investment for the government. Put some money in now, get much more money back later.

Will it work?

In Michigan, Governor Jennifer Granholm calls the new Michigan Promise scholarship a cornerstone of her economic plan to revive Michigan’s lagging economy. The program provides a $4,000 scholarship to students who complete two years of post-secondary education at a two- or four-year school in Michigan, public or private, provided that they have a GPA of at least 2.5. In her press release, Governor Granholm stated, “A $4,000 scholarship makes earning a college degree or technical certification a real possibility for every student. It’s an amazing opportunity for our students and a critical necessity for our economy.” This new scholarship is part of an effort by the state to double the number of college graduates within the next decade.