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Fixing America's Universities46:42Download

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With guest host Ray Suarez.

Rising costs. Unfair admissions. Threats to academic freedom. The future of the American university.

In this March 8, 2015 file photo, the campus of Michigan State University awakens to a spring floral blossom. MSU is listed one of the nation's top research universities. (Courtesy MSU)
In this March 8, 2015 file photo, the campus of Michigan State University awakens to a spring floral blossom. MSU is listed one of the nation's top research universities. (Courtesy MSU)

Who’s happy with America’s colleges and universities? Between the byzantine admissions process — the jaw-dropping prices for tuition and room and board — the creation of a cossetted class of tenured teachers and a sea of struggling adjuncts, you’ll hear plenty of complaints. At the same time most of the world’s top-rated schools are in the United States. One veteran professor has a prescription. This hour On Point, toward a more perfect university.
-- Ray Suarez

Guests

Jonathan Cole, professor of sociology at Columbia University. Author of the new book, "Toward a More Perfect University." Also author of "The Great American University." Former Provost and Dean of Faculties at Columbia University.

Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Economist, historian, author and professor of economics at Ohio University. Senior fellow at the Independent Institute. Author of "Going Broke By Degree."

From The Reading List

The Atlantic: What Is the Future of Higher Education? -- "A bachelor’s degree is more valuable than ever before, and yet college enrollment in the United States is on the decline. As the economy has improved and tuition has increased, more young adults have sought options outside of higher education. The plight of for-profit colleges—which tend to enroll low-income students—has accounted for much of drop in enrollment. State support for higher education has also weakened. Seven in 10 seniors who completed their degrees at public and private nonprofit colleges in 2014 graduated with student debt."

The Wall Street Journal: Richard Vedder and Christopher Denhart: How the College Bubble Will Pop — "A key measure of the benefits of a degree is the college graduate's earning potential—and on this score, their advantage over high-school graduates is deteriorating. Since 2006, the gap between what the median college graduate earned compared with the median high-school graduate has narrowed by $1,387 for men over 25 working full time, a 5% fall. Women in the same category have fared worse, losing 7% of their income advantage ($1,496)."

Salon: Meet the real student-loan victims: Ivy League schools, the 1 percent and the real cause of tuition creep — "If a high-achieving high school student of modest means wins the lottery of getting into one of the most selective universities, then he or she is in for more good luck. Despite what the media would have us believe, these are the very small number of institutions where the difference between the nominal cost of attending the university— $50,000 tuition and fees— and the actual cost for students from low-income backgrounds is the greatest."

Read An Excerpt Of "Toward a More Perfect University" By Jonathan Cole

This program aired on March 23, 2016.

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