What We’re Reading: Western Culture, Groupthink, and Queer Criminology

Jenna A. Robinson, President Jacques Barzun’s magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, has been a revelation—of my own inadequate history education. As the title says, the book covers 500 years of Western culture from 1500 to (almost) 2000. Barzun organizes the book around four important “revolutions:” religious, monarchical, liberal, and … Continue reading “What We’re Reading: Western Culture, Groupthink, and Queer Criminology”


Which Country’s Higher Education System Is Best?

Many Americans crow that our higher education system is “the envy of the world,” even though it’s nearly impossible to point to any proof of that. In truth, however, some Americans look down on our system, saying that it is clearly inferior to that of other nations, such as Japan and Finland. A recent study … Continue reading “Which Country’s Higher Education System Is Best?”


The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University

The modern American university has changed almost beyond recognition from the form it had even 100 years ago. It is larger, more “diverse,” more of a business, and more industrialized with relatively fewer teachers and more bureaucrats than ever before. Those changes have led to new problems. Higher education, if not broken, is at least … Continue reading “The Mess of Federal Funds Is Changing the University”


Did You know? The North Carolina Legislature Provides 41% of the UNC System’s Operational Funding

The North Carolina General Assembly often takes heat from the media on the topic of funding for education. But at least some of that criticism is unfounded. The General Assembly has been generous to the UNC system for many years. State appropriations are the single biggest source of funding for the UNC system: 41 percent … Continue reading “Did You know? The North Carolina Legislature Provides 41% of the UNC System’s Operational Funding”


Can American Higher Education Be Restored?

People who analyze and write about higher education generally fall into two camps. One camp consists of those who believe that our system is “the envy of the world” and just needs more public support to do its great work of improving our citizens and strengthening our economy. (For a sense of what that camp … Continue reading “Can American Higher Education Be Restored?”


Did You Know? Administrative Expenditures in the UNC System Keep Climbing

Expenditures for institutional support in the UNC system have increased significantly: from $2,217 per student in 2006 to $4,069 per student in 2017. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly 50 percent growth in just 11 years. According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, “institutional support” expenditures include: [E]xpenses for general administrative services, central executive-level activities … Continue reading “Did You Know? Administrative Expenditures in the UNC System Keep Climbing”


Student Loan Defaults Reveal the True Cost of Student Loans

With the rising number of student loan defaults, the federal government has reaped what it has sown. A government policy to give virtually any student a loan has pushed tens of thousands of them into a financial hole from which they will struggle to escape for years. A new report from The Institute for College … Continue reading “Student Loan Defaults Reveal the True Cost of Student Loans”


What Can Other Universities Learn from Purdue’s Tuition Freeze?

Tuition freezes are gaining popularity across the country. Earlier this year, university systems in Virginia and Pennsylvania announced that tuition would not rise in the next academic year, saving students and parents millions of dollars. Purdue University started the tuition-freeze trend in 2013. Under the leadership of its president, Mitch Daniels, Purdue instituted a freeze … Continue reading “What Can Other Universities Learn from Purdue’s Tuition Freeze?”


Did You Know? The Mega-wealth Tucked Away in Endowments

Collectively, the endowments of 15 Massachusetts colleges in 2017 were $70 billion, greater than the GDP of Lithuania. And Massachusetts isn’t alone—the endowments of 15 California colleges totaled $55 billion, and 10 Texas colleges trailed not far behind at $52 billion. Those institutions, as well as others in the chart above, comprise part of an … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Mega-wealth Tucked Away in Endowments”


What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?

Student loan debt has reached the dizzying level of nearly $1.6 trillion—largely due to ever-soaring tuition prices and students taking on financial burdens that far outweigh their earning potential. The issue has gripped national attention to the point that presidential hopefuls are now promising various forms of student debt relief as a central campaign platform. … Continue reading “What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?”