New ACTA Report Shows Elite Colleges Neglect Core Components of Education

It will come as no surprise to readers here that many top liberal arts colleges have failed to live up to their reputations. But just how bad is it?

ACTA’s new report, Education or Reputation?, answers that question. The report looks at the top 29 liberal arts colleges to evaluate measures ranging from general education and grade inflation, to college management, to free speech. Consider that:

  • Not a single institution except for the military academies requires a foundational, college-level course in American history or government. Only two require an economics course; only five require a literature course.
  • Instead of cutting costs to lower tuition and help students graduate without crippling debt, half of the institutions allowed administrative spending to grow faster than instructional spending.
  • All 29 institutions have speech-code policies leaving students with less freedom than they would have in a grocery store or public park.
  • Eleven of these institutions paid their presidents base salaries of $400,000 or more to run colleges that typically have fewer than 2,000 students. These presidents are paid as well as — or better than — President Obama.

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