Today’s New York Sun has a splendid op-ed by Rich Vedder and Bryan O’Keefe of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. You can read it here.
They point out that although the average increase in tuition at four-year state universities rose somewhat less last year than the previous year (according to new figures from The College Board), that is still substantially above the rate of inflation. In fact, the cost of college has been rising faster than inflation for many years.
There is lots of hand-wringing over the affordability problem, with the higher ed establishment usually looking to government and saying, “You’ve just got to do something to make college more affordable.” As Vedder argues in his book Going Broke by Degree, very few institutions of higher education have any incentive to keep costs down for students and naturally turn to government to subsidize students so more of them can attend. Hardly ever do we see college administrators taking serious steps to get more educational value for each dollar spent.
Consequently, we find the country spending more and more on higher education, but students on the whole seem to learn less than they did 30, 40, 50 years ago.