Glenn Reynolds: Higher Ed Becoming a JokePosted: May 19, 2014
American colleges are fraught with petty politics and bad economics
For USA Today, Glenn Reynolds writes: As college graduates around the country fling their caps into the air, college and university administrators are ending the year in a less positive state. It has been a tough year for higher education in America, and it’s not especially likely that next year will be a lot better. As an industry, higher education is beset with problems, problems that for the most part aren’t being addressed.
[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]
One set of problems is economic. With tuitions climbing, and graduates’ salariesstagnant, students (and parents) are becoming less willing to pay top dollar. This has caused some schools — especially expensive private institutions that lack first-class reputations — to face real hardships. Yeshiva University’s bonds have beendowngraded to the status of junk. Credit downgrades have also hit several elite liberal arts colleges. Other private schools, such as Quinnipiac College, are actuallylaying off faculty. Georgetown in Kentucky cut faculty by 20%.
“If I understand college administrators correctly, colleges are hotbeds of racism and rape that everyone should be able to attend.”
It’s no picnic for public institutions either. “There have been 21 downgrades of public colleges and universities this year but no upgrades,” reported Inside Higher Ed. It’s gotten so bad that schools are even closing their gender studies centers, a once-sacrosanct kind of spending.
The decline in enrollment seems to be slowing, but the long-term problem remains: With costs growing, and post-graduation incomes stagnant or worse, students (and parents) are growing more reluctant to take on the extensive debt that is required to attend many private, and some public, institutions.
That is only made worse by the decline in higher education’s image, damage that is mostly self-inflicted. As Twitter wag IowaHawk japes: “If I understand college administrators correctly, colleges are hotbeds of racism and rape that everyone should be able to attend.”
That sums it up pretty well. Though the claim that one in five women on campus is sexually assaulted is pretty clearly bogus — as Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle notes, it includes things like sexual touching over clothes, which hardly constitute rape — it’s widely repeated, and that surely makes young women a bit less enthusiastic about attending. Then all the responses — involving, basically, kangaroo courts that strip male students charged with sexual assault of all due process protection — don’t make campuses more appealing to male students, who are already an under-represented minority on most campuses…(read more)
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself.
- Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds on the Future of Higher Education and How Kids are Getting Wise to Student Loan Debt (reason.com)
- Glenn Harlan Reynolds: The Higher Education Bubble Is Going To Burst (grumpyelder.com)
- “Nobody ever heard of an ‘adjunct administrator'”: Higher Ed SNAFU (reason.com)
- Glenn Reynolds on the Future of Higher Education & How Kids are Getting Wise to Student Loan Debt (sgtreport.com)
- Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops (bloomberg.com)
- Glenn Reynolds Explains That You Poor People Shouldn’t Go To College (oliverwillis.com)
- Reynolds: Making College Pay Off (taxprof.typepad.com)
- Higher Ed & Jobs: Former Reasoner Virginia Postrel on Glenn Reynolds’ InstaVision (reason.com)