Improving Student Outcomes by Consolidating the University System of Georgia

As the cost of college creeps up and more small colleges close, consolidation has become a lifeline of last resort. To survive, dozens of small institutions have either merged or have been absorbed into larger ones. That way, the threat (usually financial) disappears and students are assured the larger institution is stable. But these mergers … Continue reading “Improving Student Outcomes by Consolidating the University System of Georgia”


Former University President Nails Many of Higher Education’s Ills

Often, the strongest criticisms of higher education come from insiders. One insider is Daniel Johnson, who retired as president of the University of Toledo in 2006 after an academic career that included several senior leadership positions. He has recently published a book, The Uncertain Future of American Public Higher Education, that illuminates many of the … Continue reading “Former University President Nails Many of Higher Education’s Ills”


What Is the Actual Value of a Master’s Degree?

In the past 20 years, the number of students earning a master’s degree has more than doubled. Over 42 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients now go on to earn their master’s. This degree proliferation raises a serious question: Are master’s degrees on track to become the new bachelor’s? If so, the extra years of schooling … Continue reading “What Is the Actual Value of a Master’s Degree?”


Answering the Perennial Question: Why Does College Cost So Much?

Last month, Amanda Ripley, writing for The Atlantic, asked a good question: why does higher education in the United States cost significantly more than in every other OECD nation except Luxembourg? Related to that: Why have college costs risen sharply over time? Unfortunately, while the questions Ripley raises are compellingly important, the answers she provided … Continue reading “Answering the Perennial Question: Why Does College Cost So Much?”


Higher Ed Reform Hits Prime Time

The movement to reform higher education is finally entering prime time. Although major news outlets have previously aired interviews and television segments about various aspects of higher education, the coverage seems to be reaching an all-new level. Last month, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson announced a month-long series dedicated to answering the question “is college worth … Continue reading “Higher Ed Reform Hits Prime Time”


Mitch Daniels Has the Right Stuff for Purdue

Higher education does not produce many flashy, innovating entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Peter Thiel, or Elon Musk. The non-profit, highly subsidized, and low-incentive culture that universities operate in promotes conformity and risk avoidance. Despite that, there are some college leaders who stand out from the rest. Paul LeBlanc, for example, has taken Southern … Continue reading “Mitch Daniels Has the Right Stuff for Purdue”


The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30: How Federal Funding Drives Tuition

In 1987, U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett asserted that increases in federal student aid make it possible for universities to increase tuition. In this presentation, Jenna Robinson will describe her new paper analyzing 30 years of research on that idea, which is now called “The Bennett Hypothesis.” Click here to register. This event is a Shaftesbury … Continue reading “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30: How Federal Funding Drives Tuition”


The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30

Many Americans are concerned about the rise of university tuition. “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30,” a research paper by Jenna A. Robinson, merges findings from 25 empirical studies on the “Bennett Hypothesis”: Reagan-era Education Secretary William J. Bennett’s theory that large amounts of federal student aid drive up the cost of tuition.  Executive Summary In 1987, … Continue reading “The Bennett Hypothesis Turns 30”


Does “Merit Aid” Make Sense?

Businesses sometimes charge different customers different prices as a way to maximize revenue. Airlines, for example, usually charge more for seats reserved on short notice, on the theory that the traveler probably doesn’t have good alternatives and will therefore pay a high price. (Economists call it price discrimination.) Similarly, colleges and universities sometimes also charge … Continue reading “Does “Merit Aid” Make Sense?”


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.