Phi Beta Cons

More Reason for Lower-Tier Colleges to Worry

On The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead points to more statistics that augur badly for the higher ed industry. Despite much discounting of tuition, revenues and enrollments are flat. Lower-tier institutions “will be squeezed harder and harder, and perhaps some will need to close their doors.”

Mead understands the trouble. Higher ed is afflicted by “a combination of federally mandated costs and controls, runaway cost inflation driven by insiders who keep jacking up the price, perverse market incentives in a warped marketplace, dysfunctional mandates, guild controls and crony regulations.” As a result, we have “a system in which costs are increasingly out of line with true value — and with society’s ability to pay.”

Exactly. The big unintended effects of federal intervention since LBJ’s time has been to make higher education cost far more than otherwise, while at the same time eroding the value that students receive.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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