Forgiving Student Debt Isn’t the Solution to Anything

The time-honored American tradition of outlandish political promises continues apace. Now, the spotlight is on student debt. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren added to the debate recently when she put forward a proposal to cancel $640 billion worth of federal and private student loans. Warren touts her plan as a way to boost the economy, … Continue reading “Forgiving Student Debt Isn’t the Solution to Anything”


The High Price of Faculty and Administrative Salaries in the UNC System

Faculty pay can vary greatly across universities and even within the same university system. Among University of North Carolina schools, the type of institution can matter as much as a professor’s job title. Yet, for even the most highly paid professors, their salaries are eclipsed by administrators. A Martin Center analysis of salary data from … Continue reading “The High Price of Faculty and Administrative Salaries in the UNC System”


Improving Student Outcomes by Consolidating the University System of Georgia

As the cost of college creeps up and more small colleges close, consolidation has become a lifeline of last resort. To survive, dozens of small institutions have either merged or have been absorbed into larger ones. That way, the threat (usually financial) disappears and students are assured the larger institution is stable. But these mergers … Continue reading “Improving Student Outcomes by Consolidating the University System of Georgia”


How Bad Is For-Profit Higher Education, Actually?

For about fifteen years, from 1995 to 2010, enrollments grew rapidly in the for-profit higher education sector, but since then have fallen substantially. The reason for the decline is mainly the overt hostility to for-profits during the Obama administration. The Department of Education killed off two of the largest for-profit competitors (Corinthian and ITT), and … Continue reading “How Bad Is For-Profit Higher Education, Actually?”


UNC System Schools Profiting Off Unused Student Meals

College meal plans can help students avoid buying groceries and cooking for themselves—but they can also cost thousands of dollars each semester. In the University of North Carolina system, some students get a relative bargain, but others pay 60 percent more with fewer spending options. Even though some UNC campuses take in hundreds of thousands … Continue reading “UNC System Schools Profiting Off Unused Student Meals”


DC Wants to Further Subsidize Higher Education: Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea

Congressional Democrats are reintroducing the Debt-Free College Act in an attempt to lower costs and increase federal intervention in higher education. This debt-free proposal would require the federal government to match every dollar from states’ higher education appropriations to help students pay “all the costs” of college, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan told reporters. But while … Continue reading “DC Wants to Further Subsidize Higher Education: Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea”


March Madness Means Skyhigh Athletics Spending

As March Madness hits and the public’s attention is on college basketball’s NCAA Tournament, few spectators know just how much the public subsidizes college sports. Within the University of North Carolina system, funding can range from $8 million at UNC-Asheville to an eye-popping $96 million at UNC-Chapel Hill. Revenue from broadcast agreements, ticket sales, and … Continue reading “March Madness Means Skyhigh Athletics Spending”


Universities Should Invest in Their Students, Not Securities

Nearly all American institutions of higher education raise money they put into endowments—money that is kept invested in securities. At the same time, many of their students borrow money from the federal government so they can afford to attend. As I will explain, this system is fraught with problems. It would be far better if … Continue reading “Universities Should Invest in Their Students, Not Securities”


NC Promise’s Costs and Benefits: An Early Analysis

Concerned about the high cost of college, the University of North Carolina system is testing a low-tuition model at some schools to drive up enrollments. Though the experiment only started last fall, some preliminary observations can be made. The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan was created by legislators in 2016 to help students who struggle … Continue reading “NC Promise’s Costs and Benefits: An Early Analysis”


‘Free College:’ A Better Approach

Two facts about colleges stand out. First, they are largely (some argue almost entirely) a “private” good; that is to say, the benefits from college attendance accrue mainly to the student, not to society at large. For example, the Census Bureau tells us the typical male adult college graduate made about $30,000 a year more … Continue reading “‘Free College:’ A Better Approach”