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Higher Ed in the News

Are colleges and universities worth the price of admission?

July 14, 2010

Tuition charges at both public and private colleges have more than doubled in a generation. So are colleges giving good value for the investment?

Andrew Hacker, professor at Queens College, and Claudia Dreifus, adjunct associate professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, have studied institutions and interviewed higher-education leaders, policy makers, and students across the United States. Their conclusion: Colleges are taking on too many roles and doing none of them well.

Proposals to set things right:

  • Engage all students
  • Make students use their minds
  • Replace tenure with multiyear contracts
  • Allow fewer sabbaticals
  • End exploitation of adjuncts
  • Make presidents be public servants
  • Spin off medical schools, research centers, and institutes
  • Give techno-teaching a fair hearing
  • Spread donations around

The article is adapted from Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids - and What We Can Do About It, published next month by Henry Holt/Times Books.

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