Phi Beta Cons

An Alternative Paradigm

For some time, I have argued that major universities — and especially the University of North Carolina — should stop growing. They are bringing in students who don’t really want to be there and who are academically unprepared. Furthermore, the state appropriations that have always fueled growth simply aren’t there now.

However, it’s been bothering me that some universities don’t fit this model. They are growing — fast! — by using new technology and new teaching formats, and perhaps their experiences have something to offer. So in an article on the Pope Center site, I look at a few of those universities, such as Brigham Young University at Idaho and the University of Maryland University College. While they may be bringing in marginal students (not a good thing), they may also simply be more competitive (a good thing), and their students may be choosing them because they offer convenient, low-cost education. My underlying point is that if higher education begins to sour, those universities may be among the healthy survivors.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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