In introducing the “Best Colleges” issue this week, U.S. News and World Report editor Brian Kelly was pretty frank about higher education. He didn’t flatter his subjects — “If colleges were businesses, they would be ripe for hostile takeovers, complete with serious cost-cutting and painful reorganizations” — and he was even self-effacing about U.S. News (“we are sometimes part of the problem”).
Although he discussed the debate over whether everyone should go to college (and mentioned the high dropout rate), he still concluded that the gap between wages of high-school and college graduates is a decisive reason. But he was open-minded about where to go to college — recommending that students consider two-year colleges and less expensive schools. I didn’t see a mention of for-profits, however — even though they may still be the biggest competitive challenge facing traditional schools.