Phi Beta Cons

Thinning the Herd

Higher education was fed very well and grew fat in the years following World War II. It is starting to go on a diet — and many schools might not be able to adapt to and survive in an era of lower revenues.

On the Pope Center site, Jesse Saffron tells how many schools’ finances are moving closer to the edge of bankruptcy, with industry analysts such as Bain Capital, Moody’s, Inside Higher Ed, and Forbes confirming that assessment. Of course, a few colleges fail every year, but it’s usually only a trickle, not a flood. Today, many long-established schools are financially vulnerable. State flagships and prestigious private schools generally don’t have a problem, but small, private colleges with medium or lower admissions standards — the ones that most rely on tuition to meet their budgets — could get squeezed out of business.

Of course, there is also the possibility that greater government intervention could stall the creative destruction process. After all, it is imperative that we prop up every failing institution that funnels money to or ideologically supports certain political parties. (Yes, the previous sentence is sarcasm.)

Most Popular

Economy & Business

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The ... Read More
White House

All Trump All the Time

It can be hard to keep one’s wits about oneself during the Age of Trump. Our president is like the ringmaster of a circus, and the American people are his enthralled spectators. It seems as if we cannot get enough. Love him or hate him, he remains at the center of our public consciousness. It is hard to ... Read More
White House

Why Tillerson Had to Go

Of all the abrupt comings and goings in this administration, the dismissal of Rex Tillerson is undoubtedly the most important — maybe one of the most important firings since Harry Truman fired Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. By dismissing MacArthur, Truman drew a firm line between military and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Hillary’s Other America

I am still chuckling at Hillary Clinton’s speech in India. Among the things she said: If you look at the map of the United States, there is all that red in the middle, places where Trump won. What that map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that own two thirds of America’s Gross Domestic product. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Samantha Power Regrets

‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More