Attaching Strings to “Free” College Education Makes No Sense

Recently, several states have adopted policies that ostensibly make college education free to their residents, but with strings attached to this benefit. The most famous program is undoubtedly New York’s. Under the “Excelsior Scholarships” plan recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, state residents who come from families with annual incomes under $125,000 won’t … Continue reading “Attaching Strings to “Free” College Education Makes No Sense”


Let’s Not Throw the Dual Enrollment Baby Out with the Bathwater

Dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take college courses for college credit, have been getting some bad publicity lately. In 2013, the popular college watchdog site Minding the Campus reported problems with instructor qualifications. More recently, an article here on the Martin Center site questioned the way dual enrollment programs are administered … Continue reading “Let’s Not Throw the Dual Enrollment Baby Out with the Bathwater”


How to Make University Foundations More Transparent

University foundations are at the forefront of schools’ fundraising, event planning, and publicity efforts. But the details of how these foundations operate—such as where they get their money and what it pays for—often are hidden from public view. Many foundations are allowed to take advantage of their private non-profit status despite being considerably entangled with … Continue reading “How to Make University Foundations More Transparent”


If We Can’t Repeal the Higher Education Act, Let’s Improve It

The United States got along nicely for its first 176 years without any federal legislation on higher education. (A good reason why there was no such legislation is the absence of any authority for it in the Constitution, but that’s not a point I want to go into here.) In 1965, however, Congress passed and … Continue reading “If We Can’t Repeal the Higher Education Act, Let’s Improve It”


Concerns Raised Over NC’s Dual Enrollment Program and Possible Community College Misconduct

Each year, roughly 1.4 million high school students take college courses. This is made possible by dual enrollment programs, which give those students opportunities to earn credits and work toward a college degree or technical vocation. Over 70 percent of courses are offered by community colleges. Such programs were praised recently by the Department of … Continue reading “Concerns Raised Over NC’s Dual Enrollment Program and Possible Community College Misconduct”


Beyond Ideology: Poetry and the Conservative Mind

The Ideologues Genius of Burke! forgive the pen seduced/ by specious wonders – William Wordsworth Conservatives today seem to be pretty good at winning elections. They also seem to be pretty good at spreading their ideas; there are more conservative think tanks, student groups, campus centers, policy organizations, and media outlets than ever before. And … Continue reading “Beyond Ideology: Poetry and the Conservative Mind”


Universities Are Spending Millions on Ineffective Campus Security Initiatives

Concerns over campus safety—both founded and unfounded—have escalated recently. In North Carolina, for example, sexual assault charges against UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte football players made headlines. And even more high-profile cases, such as the Brock Turner rape case and the recent attack on Ohio State’s campus, have captured a national audience. Though these stories have … Continue reading “Universities Are Spending Millions on Ineffective Campus Security Initiatives”


Five Questions to Ask Future UNC Board Members

Since 2010, the UNC system’s Board of Governors has become somewhat more conservative and more interested in serious educational reforms. Members of the Board have professed interest in decreasing costs, rolling back university mission creep, and improving academic standards. But progress has been slow. Part of the problem can be attributed to the structure of … Continue reading “Five Questions to Ask Future UNC Board Members”


Sweeping Change at the Office for Civil Rights Is Imperative

Nowhere is the adage “personnel is policy” truer than in the federal education bureaucracy. With nothing more than a few Dear Colleague letters meant to provide “guidance” to nearly all colleges and universities, during the Obama administration officials in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) made dramatic and harmful changes in the … Continue reading “Sweeping Change at the Office for Civil Rights Is Imperative”


A Small College Is Suffering from Self-inflicted Wounds

Recently, one of my neighbors saw students from Elizabethtown College, where I taught for many years, walking down the street wearing what looked like the puzzle pieces featured as symbols by Autistic Awareness. When he asked why they were wearing the all-white puzzle pieces, one of the coeds proudly explained that they were dramatizing the … Continue reading “A Small College Is Suffering from Self-inflicted Wounds”