How Colleges Have Made Students Poorer and Undereducated

There is general agreement among higher education observers and reformers that tuition and fees at public universities have increased at an unsustainable pace. It’s equally uncontroversial to note that financial aid hasn’t kept up with unrelenting tuition increases, leaving students in the lurch. In his new book, “The Impoverishment of the American College Student,” James … Continue reading “How Colleges Have Made Students Poorer and Undereducated”


Did You Know? Student Loan Defaults Are Most Common in West Virginia, New Mexico

When students are late making a monthly payment on their federal student loans, the loan becomes delinquent. And if they don’t make any payments for 270 days, most types of federal student loans go into default. The Department of Education provides data on cohort default rates by institution, which informs the public of how many … Continue reading “Did You Know? Student Loan Defaults Are Most Common in West Virginia, New Mexico”


How Colleges Can Survive the Coming Enrollment Crash

Nationwide, higher education enrollment has been trending down for several years. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2019 was the eighth straight year of decline, with an overall drop of nearly 10 percent since 2011. The reasons for this are many, including political, economic, and social factors. But the main one is demographic: Fewer … Continue reading “How Colleges Can Survive the Coming Enrollment Crash”


A Complicated Debate: Have States Been Disinvesting in Higher Education?  

“Two days. Two reports citing the same data. Two different conclusions.” That is how Rick Seltzer described the near-simultaneous release of two studies looking at state funding in Inside Higher Ed. The first study was written by myself for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and found that state disinvestment is a myth. The second study, … Continue reading “A Complicated Debate: Have States Been Disinvesting in Higher Education?  “


Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans

A recent report from Payscale showed that a majority of college graduates regretted their college decision. Out of the 250,000 students surveyed, about 12 percent had some regret the major they picked. The biggest regret, though, came from borrowing student loans. While that regret is consistent among generations, millenials are the first ones to regret … Continue reading “Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans”


Did You Know? An Anti-Poverty Program Sent Funds to 33 Well-Off College Towns

“Opportunity zones,” defined by a 2017 law, are poor areas targeted by the federal government for economic investment. In a study by the Brookings Institution, researchers discovered that money intended for economically struggling areas was funneled to college towns instead. Though college towns have many unemployed, poor adults—known as students—they don’t tend to be economically … Continue reading “Did You Know? An Anti-Poverty Program Sent Funds to 33 Well-Off College Towns”


Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional

Public colleges spend public money, but college officials are reluctant to make information about their budgets easy to understand. That aversion to transparency makes it easier to pass non-instructional expenses along to students. Many experts have discussed the problem. But without transparency, it can be hard to show just how much so-called instruction is actually … Continue reading “Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional”


The True Cost of a PhD: Giving Up a Family for Academia

In 2012, CBS noted the bleak future that awaited PhD graduates. From 2005 to 2009, American universities graduated 100,000 new PhDs but only created 16,000 new professorships. The average PhD student spends 8 years in graduate school and turns 33 years old before they graduate. Unfortunately, the outlook for PhDs hasn’t improved since 2012. More … Continue reading “The True Cost of a PhD: Giving Up a Family for Academia”


Did You Know? UNC System Grads Carry Less Student Debt

Most students rely on loans to pay for college; colleges raise their prices, and student debt increases. Now, about 44 million students collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student debt. In North Carolina, at least, graduates carry less debt than their peers. North Carolina ranks 37th in the country for total debt levels of its graduates, … Continue reading “Did You Know? UNC System Grads Carry Less Student Debt”


No, Academia, Title VI Funding Is Not for Your Pleasure

A letter from the federal Department of Education has sparked yet another controversy on the campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This time, the issue is about how to honor the intentions of donors, with the donor being the federal government instead of a private individual or corporation. … Continue reading “No, Academia, Title VI Funding Is Not for Your Pleasure”