The Corner

Education

Meritocracy without Meeting

Students and pedestrians walk through the Yard at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., March 10, 2020. (Brian Snyder -/File Photo/Reuters)

Harvard University announced that it was canceling in-person classes for the entire upcoming academic year because of COVID-19. Students can attend digital Harvard for the exact same price.

Some of my fellow conservatives are wondering if the stresses of pandemic conditions will finally pop an over-inflated college bubble. The student-age population is already starting to shrink. Tuitions are at all-time highs, and the conventional wisdom is starting to catch up to the reality that the college-premium on salaries may not be worth the debt. And I do think smaller colleges and third-tier schools may be entering a world of hurt. They look at this new “offering” from Harvard and laugh.

But there is not some robust job market that is more attractive than school right now, so I’m not sure that elite universities will suffer.

Many people claim that the value of going to Harvard is really in the networking that Harvard enables on campus, off-campus, and after graduation. Ambitious people of talent meet the elites who buy into institutions like this, and out comes enterprises such as Facebook or the latest NGO. Without the in-person networking, the whole enterprise is worth less, they argue.

I’m not so sure. A huge part of the Harvard “offer” is that being accepted by Harvard and graduating from it confers most of the merit and the networking abilities a prospective employer may seek. This is a change for Harvard students to complete one year of Harvard while not going into debt for student housing. If the classes are not really all that valuable, maybe the digital Harvard will be more popular than we think.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Government Misconduct Frees Cliven Bundy

Politically charged prosecutions — even ones that are thoroughly justified — often end badly for the justice system. So it appears with the federal prosecutions of Cliven Bundy and his sons. The government blew its case against Bundy's sons by overcharging them, resulting in a jury acquittal in 2016. Today, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Government Misconduct Frees Cliven Bundy

Politically charged prosecutions — even ones that are thoroughly justified — often end badly for the justice system. So it appears with the federal prosecutions of Cliven Bundy and his sons. The government blew its case against Bundy's sons by overcharging them, resulting in a jury acquittal in 2016. Today, ... Read More
Education

Tom Cotton Introduces Campus Free-Speech Bill

I am pleased to announce that today Senator Tom Cotton has introduced the “Campus Free Speech Restoration Act” (CAFSRA). Under CAFSRA, public colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility ... Read More
Education

Tom Cotton Introduces Campus Free-Speech Bill

I am pleased to announce that today Senator Tom Cotton has introduced the “Campus Free Speech Restoration Act” (CAFSRA). Under CAFSRA, public colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Year of Resentment

Political journalists, commentators, pundits, and flacks often engage in their work in a year like this with a world-weary, if not depressed, attitude. And given the oddly low metabolism of our presidential campaign, who could blame them? Donald Trump isn’t able to do the rallies that energized him and his ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Year of Resentment

Political journalists, commentators, pundits, and flacks often engage in their work in a year like this with a world-weary, if not depressed, attitude. And given the oddly low metabolism of our presidential campaign, who could blame them? Donald Trump isn’t able to do the rallies that energized him and his ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More