OK, so this stuff is everywhere. Maybe a tipping point, or maybe just the recession has just made people pay more attention to what they got for their student loans, or maybe a simple sweeps month link to graduations.
- Mike Munger links to a two part Bloomberg series
- 60 minutes had a report last night on the value of college, and an alternative route; here is the vid.
Past stuff I have written on this down the path here.
The confluence of two factors made me start thinking about this: first, serving on the executive committee of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke several years ago during a period of budget cutting, and looking more closely at the the cost side of our academic enterprise. Second, having an 11th grader and helping (watching?) her think about where she wants to go to college, and listening to college tours through the ears of a parent. In doing this, I found myself saying (silently, I value my relationship with my daughter) Bullshit! quite a lot.
When I wrote that college tuition was a bubble, I was (and am) mostly thinking of the cost side of the college equation. There are many key issues, but I think the bottom line is that there are many things that are being done by research universities that are cross-subsidized in non transparent ways. I am less sure about small, teaching-focused liberal arts schools, meaning I just don’t know much about the cost side of their equation. My bottom line to my friends and colleagues in the academy is that we had better get out front of this and take seriously the notion that there may not always be an unlimited supply of people willing to pay the full freight private University tuition, especially at lower ranked ones with less expansive financial aid than the Ivies, etc.