The Public University in the Recession

UC provides case studies of new modes of funding Since the 1960s, the University of California system has served as a role model for publicly-funded higher education. It has established ten campuses across the Golden State, and educates over 118,000 students annually. However, the UC system, once acclaimed for increasing the accessibility of higher education, … Read more

The Cost of College

Why higher education is still too expensive On Nov. 8, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act. The legislation increased financial assistance for post-secondary education and, supporters claimed, opened the doors of college to those who had previously been denied access because of lack of means. As the president proclaimed in … Read more

Tenure Tune-Up

Changes needed to bring tenure system into modernity Since the early 20th century, tenure has rewarded talented university faculty with the benefits of status, academic freedom, and lifetime job security. Tenure rests on the assumption that qualified faculty members are worth a lifelong investment, and will easily repay their costs. Indeed, advocates of tenure contend … Read more

Inflationary Spiral?

Assessing the threat of grade inflation “Grades are going up. Workloads are going down. … Professors are giving A’s instead of B’s, and have largely given up on C’s, D’s and F’s altogether.” This claim, made by Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired Duke geophysics professor, reflects a widespread view about higher education. But the concern is … Read more

Class Conflict

The debate over class-based affirmative action This summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard a case with profound implications for college students and their universities. The case of Fisher v. Texas charges that the University of Texas at Austin unconstitutionally used race as a factor in determining admissions. The case, which … Read more

The State of Higher Education in America

In May 1892, The Atlantic Monthly published an article of clear concern to the magazine’s readership: transformative changes in the admissions requirements for Harvard College. Harvard had dropped its 200-year-old requirement of studying Greek and Latin, and now allowed applicants the option of proving their fluency in “modern languages” like Spanish and French. As author … Read more

The Limits of SAFRA

New reform measures won’t solve the problem of tuition rates In March of 2010, Congress passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), a collection of efforts meant to improve access to college. The bill is perhaps best known for ending subsidies to private student lenders. At the bill’s signing, President Obama praised the … Read more

The End of the Women’s College?

The decades-long decline of single-sex higher education In 1960, a college-bound female eager to attend a single-sex school enjoyed a selection of 200 all-women’s colleges from which to choose. Fifty years later, the same applicant would find only 60 such schools, even as the number of colleges in America has grown exponentially. The decline in … Read more