The Furor Over Student Loan Forgiveness

Once again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has kicked the hornet’s nest, this time by changing the rules for deciding if a student will be relieved of his or her obligation to repay federal college loans. The way our higher education finance system works, the federal government makes it easy for students to borrow money for … Continue reading “The Furor Over Student Loan Forgiveness”


Does the Bennett Hypothesis Still Matter?

It’s been 30 years since then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett took to the pages of The New York Times to chide colleges for their “greedy” behavior. He decried the negative effect federal student aid seemed to have on tuition, namely, that it allowed universities to raise prices without feeling the consequences of reduced demand or lower-quality … Continue reading “Does the Bennett Hypothesis Still Matter?”


If There’s a College Affordability Crisis, What Should We Do About It?

In last year’s campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tried to attract votes with promises of free college. In the British elections earlier this year, one reason for the Labour Party’s surge was its pledge to do more to help students afford college. Higher education has become a very big political issue, … Continue reading “If There’s a College Affordability Crisis, What Should We Do About It?”


The Good and the Bad for Higher Ed in the Republican Tax Proposal

On November 2, House Republican leaders unveiled their tax reform plan. A number of its provisions affect higher education. While this is only a proposal, it’s worth looking into those provisions. Several of them eliminate tax preferences for college-related activities and two impose new taxes. Those that take away tax preferences are beneficial, but the … Continue reading “The Good and the Bad for Higher Ed in the Republican Tax Proposal”


Copying Australia’s Student Loan System Won’t Save American Higher Ed

The American student loan system is a mess, weighing down more than 40 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion of debt. As a result, analysts and journalists in search of alternative systems often look abroad. Some claim they have found the answer they are looking for Down Under, describing the Australian student loan system as an … Continue reading “Copying Australia’s Student Loan System Won’t Save American Higher Ed”


NC State Hoops Players’ Palatial New Digs Send the Wrong Message

Athletes need a good night’s sleep to maximize their performance. But that doesn’t explain why NC State’s proposed new dormitory for basketball players will cost roughly four times as much per bed than other campus living quarters do. It seems pretty clear that the dormitory is due to NC State’s participation in the ever-escalating arms … Continue reading “NC State Hoops Players’ Palatial New Digs Send the Wrong Message”


Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?

Connecticut legislators made headlines last year when they introduced a bill to tax revenue-generating college and university property. The bill was crafted to help New Haven, where Yale University is located, remain solvent. The bill specifies that any commercial property that is owned and operated by a university and that generates more than $6,000 in … Continue reading “Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?”


An Innovative Guide Through the Higher Ed Landscape

Increasingly, the old model of earning a college degree by simply choosing a school, paying cash to cover room, board, and tuition, and graduating within four years (with summers off) is passé. Currently, the average student takes six years to finish college and has about $37,000 in student loan debt. Higher education’s escalating costs and … Continue reading “An Innovative Guide Through the Higher Ed Landscape”


Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Late last year, NC State University purchased two small office buildings on Oberlin Road, near the university’s East campus, for the price of $3.1 million. Their location, situated between NC State’s historic bell tower and the thriving private, mixed-use community at Cameron Village, has considerable commercial value. If State finds new tenants for the buildings … Continue reading “Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?”


How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition

The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35% from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year. Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by … Continue reading “How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition”