Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses

It can be tempting for college leaders to focus solely on data that support their policy initiatives—to the exclusion of other relevant information. Unfortunately, intentionally or not, University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings seems to have given in to this temptation. At Spellings’ last meeting of the UNC Board of Governors with her … Continue reading “Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses”


Parents, Student Loans, and Government: An Unhealthy Mix

Parent PLUS is not typically the loan program making headlines when student loans are in the news. But over the past several years, it has become a central part of America’s higher-education financing system. Under Parent PLUS, parents can borrow freely—with no limit—from the federal government to support their children’s education. Government programs without significant … Continue reading “Parents, Student Loans, and Government: An Unhealthy Mix”


Why Does North Carolina Keep Bailing Out ECU’s Medical School?

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been bailed out by the state to stay afloat, but it’s hard to say how, exactly, North Carolina has benefited by doing so. The difficulty in evaluating the school comes from a lack of transparency, oversight, and clear results. Funding that began as a temporary … Continue reading “Why Does North Carolina Keep Bailing Out ECU’s Medical School?”


What We Would Like to See in the New Year

It’s been a remarkable year for higher education. We ranked the most important events of 2018 in last week’s article. But now it’s time to look ahead. Here is what members of the Martin Center staff would like to see happen in academia in 2019.   Jenna A. Robinson, President More States Adopting Due Process … Continue reading “What We Would Like to See in the New Year”


The 10 Most Important Higher Education Events of 2018

This year has been a turbulent one for higher education. From #MeToo to academic hoaxes, colleges and universities across the country have had to grapple with new problems that continue to shake individuals’ confidence in higher education. Here are the ten events we think have been the most significant: Jenna A. Robinson, President 1. Purdue … Continue reading “The 10 Most Important Higher Education Events of 2018”


Income Share Agreements Offer a Promising Alternative to Federal Loans

College is expensive. Even in today’s deeply divided political climate, all Americans seem to agree on that. But while most, if not all, Americans agree that student loan debt is a big problem, the proper role of the federal government in distributing loans remains hotly contested. A solution could lie in offering a more attractive … Continue reading “Income Share Agreements Offer a Promising Alternative to Federal Loans”


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”


How Nike Transformed the University of Oregon

While money is not the root of all evil, it is undeniably responsible for the transformation of the University of Oregon (UO). It changed from a typical state flagship where athletics were a nice diversion for some students and alums into a sports powerhouse where the quest for glory in football and basketball dominates the … Continue reading “How Nike Transformed the University of Oregon”


The Democrats Retake the House; Now What for Higher Ed?

Back in the summer, it seemed that the Republican/conservative vision for higher education reform was building momentum. A House GOP bill called the PROSPER Act was on the verge of moving toward passage and education secretary Betsy DeVos was implementing regulatory changes meant to undo some Obama-era policies such as the “Gainful Employment” rule and … Continue reading “The Democrats Retake the House; Now What for Higher Ed?”


When a University Helps a Business Avoid Property Taxes

State governments treat public university land as non-taxable because the mission of these institutions is nonprofit education. But when state legislatures aren’t careful, university administrators can take advantage of their non-profit status—at the expense of taxpayers. In Arizona, the university system has a cavalier attitude regarding the use of its tax-exempt status. In one glaring … Continue reading “When a University Helps a Business Avoid Property Taxes”