New Study Analyzes the High Cost of College

TANSTAAFL. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. That’s the pithy way that economists convey the idea that there are always costs associated with the goods and services we consume. Some resources, if only our time, had to be expended so we could enjoy them. Despite foolish talk from politicians about giving us … Continue reading “New Study Analyzes the High Cost of College”


This Case Gives the Supreme Court a Chance to Protect Campus Free Speech

Over the last 30 years, federal courts have consistently ruled that restrictive speech codes and minuscule free speech zones on college campuses violate the First Amendment. So, why do college administrators continue to create and enforce such policies? The answer is that they face no penalty for doing so. A case that arose back in … Continue reading “This Case Gives the Supreme Court a Chance to Protect Campus Free Speech”


What’s in a Syllabus? The Keys to Undoing Academic Freedom, If We’re Not Careful  

The syllabus is such a basic document that most of us tend not to think much about what goes into making one. What are its necessary ingredients? A listing of the required study and reading materials, obviously. Dates of important milestones, like term papers and exams, as well. Lecture schedules, weekly assignments, and a rubric … Continue reading “What’s in a Syllabus? The Keys to Undoing Academic Freedom, If We’re Not Careful  “


Testing Affirmative Action

Even though Harvard won the first round in its battle with Students for Fair Admissions, a case challenging the university’s affirmative action policy, the judge did not address the deep and difficult issues that racial preferences involve. For lawyers and judges who will grapple with this issue in the future, we would like to advance … Continue reading “Testing Affirmative Action”


College Officials, Take Note: We’re Watching You

The Gallup Organization and Inside Higher Ed co-hosted a conference in Washington on September 15. They called it “Not Out of the Woods: Colleges, Diversity and Affirmative Action after a Year of Protest and Court Battles.” Most of those in attendance were university officials of one kind or another. I was the sole participant who … Continue reading “College Officials, Take Note: We’re Watching You”


Fisher Decision a Disappointment, But Won’t Stop Campaign Against Racial Preferences

When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Abigail Fisher’s challenge to the University of Texas’s admissions program a second time, it seemed that the writing was on the wall. Why would the high court twice take up the Fifth Circuit’s rulings in favor of UT-Austin if not to slap down the school’s self-serving and disingenuous … Continue readingFisher Decision a Disappointment, But Won’t Stop Campaign Against Racial Preferences”


We can thank the Supreme Court for credential inflation

Perhaps you have noticed that many jobs requiring only basic skills and a cooperative attitude are now walled off to Americans who don’t possess a college degree.

The mania for college credentials hampers upward mobility for individuals without a college degree. They are confined to the shrinking and mostly low-pay segment of the labor market where educational credentials still don’t matter. (As I argued here, that explains much of the earnings gap between workers with and without college degrees.)




Griggs v. Duke Power

This paper by Bryan O’Keefe and Richard Vedder raises a provocative question. Does the increase in college enrollment over the past 30 years partly reflect the changing pressures on employers based on a 1971 Supreme Court decision? And if so, could these pressures also explain the much-touted increase in earnings that comes from a college education?

O’Keefe and Vedder explore the impact of the Griggs v. Duke Power decision on today’s college enrollment. In Griggs, the plaintiffs argued that Duke Power’s reliance on two aptitude tests discriminated against minority groups. Subsequent cases and statutory law have changed the environment for employer testing. This may have changed the pressure to attend college.

The paper is jointly published by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.