The Revenue-Cost Spiral in Higher Education
The Pope Center sponsored a fun colloquium to discuss the issue. Here is a summary of what we talked about. My thinking about what is “wrong” with higher education has changed dramatically in the last 9 years that I have studied it. In addition to some of the arguments you would find here, I believe that:
- The demand side factors are totally overlooked – particularly the wealth of funds available to be spent on college.
- Students are purchasing far more than education. What was a Snickers Bar in 1950 is now a Happy Meal in 2009.
- The accreditation process is a farce – no different than what other cartels do. Do not be fooled by the large number of institutions – competition is not ensured by mere numbers of firms.
- Workers have too strong a say in operations – the system of faculty governance, which has merits, also is extremely costly (e.g. why would an Economist recommend a shrinking of the German Poetry department when in the future someone from that department will have a say on whether a new institute for Political Economy is founded?)