Phi Beta Cons

Access or Performance?

The University of North Carolina system is something of a crucible for the future of state university systems. Today, Jay Schalin writes about the two alternatives the university system faces as it attempts to both increase access to college and improve students’ performance.

Officials seem undecided. Should they pour money (including tuition increases) into programs like “summer bridge” boot camps for underperforming freshmen? Or should they raise standards, limit enrollment, and let remediation be done by the community colleges? (At the moment they seem to be moving in both directions.)

Jay’s stance is pretty clear: Let the severely unprepared go to community colleges, which can provide remediation at less cost. Don’t burden the better students at four-year universities with the high costs of supporting non-performers.

Jane S. ShawJane 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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