‘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”


Preparing Students for Life Beyond High School

Few factors affect the long-term direction of students’ lives more than the quality of their K-12 education. For students who decide to attend a four-year university, their ability to keep up with college-level work is closely linked to how well their high school prepared them. Additionally, high school is the ideal time to consider what … Continue reading “Preparing Students for Life Beyond High School”


Collegiate Esports Programs Are Here to Stay

More money flows to arenas and building upgrades. The hunt for recruits gets more competitive. University presidents brag about how their new program will make the school nationally known. But the cause isn’t basketball or football. This time around, the athletics arms race on campus is for “esports”—competitive video gaming. And it’s a trend driven … Continue reading “Collegiate Esports Programs Are Here to Stay”


What Is the Actual Value of a Master’s Degree?

In the past 20 years, the number of students earning a master’s degree has more than doubled. Over 42 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients now go on to earn their master’s. This degree proliferation raises a serious question: Are master’s degrees on track to become the new bachelor’s? If so, the extra years of schooling … Continue reading “What Is the Actual Value of a Master’s Degree?”


Arts Everywhere: Distracting from a UNC Scandal

Although the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s former chancellor, Carol Folt, will mostly be remembered for the numerous scandals and years-long protests on campus during her tenure, she also leaves behind other less-publicized, but still controversial, projects. One of those projects she oversaw is Arts Everywhere, a “campus-wide arts initiative supported by the … Continue reading “Arts Everywhere: Distracting from a UNC Scandal”


Colleges Should Stop Forcing Students to Live On-Campus

A long-time practice for many private universities has been to require most freshmen and sophomores to live in campus residence halls. State-supported public universities, too, have copied their private counterparts in recent years. However, doing so drives up the cost of education and restricts the constitutional rights of public university students—all in the name of … Continue reading “Colleges Should Stop Forcing Students to Live On-Campus”


Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses

It can be tempting for college leaders to focus solely on data that support their policy initiatives—to the exclusion of other relevant information. Unfortunately, intentionally or not, University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings seems to have given in to this temptation. At Spellings’ last meeting of the UNC Board of Governors with her … Continue reading “Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses”


Parents, Student Loans, and Government: An Unhealthy Mix

Parent PLUS is not typically the loan program making headlines when student loans are in the news. But over the past several years, it has become a central part of America’s higher-education financing system. Under Parent PLUS, parents can borrow freely—with no limit—from the federal government to support their children’s education. Government programs without significant … Continue reading “Parents, Student Loans, and Government: An Unhealthy Mix”


Why Does North Carolina Keep Bailing Out ECU’s Medical School?

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been bailed out by the state to stay afloat, but it’s hard to say how, exactly, North Carolina has benefited by doing so. The difficulty in evaluating the school comes from a lack of transparency, oversight, and clear results. Funding that began as a temporary … Continue reading “Why Does North Carolina Keep Bailing Out ECU’s Medical School?”


What We Would Like to See in the New Year

It’s been a remarkable year for higher education. We ranked the most important events of 2018 in last week’s article. But now it’s time to look ahead. Here is what members of the Martin Center staff would like to see happen in academia in 2019.   Jenna A. Robinson, President More States Adopting Due Process … Continue reading “What We Would Like to See in the New Year”