Back in 2003, Thomas Benton—“the pseudonym of an assistant professor of English at a Midwestern liberal arts college”—wrote a brutally honest article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about graduate programs in the humanities. Citing dismal job prospects for Ph.D. holders, the author’s advice to would-be students was simple: don’t go. Since that article was … Continue reading “The Academic Job Market Is Tottering, But Nobody’s Telling Graduate Students”
Small classes and programs are often praised for offering students more personal attention and one-on-one time with professors. But when programs are too small, students and universities suffer. Students find it difficult to enroll in the courses they need for graduation. Universities spend scarce resources on low-productivity activities. The Pope Center documented the problem two … Continue reading “Online Course Exchanges: Models of Efficiency”
The North Carolina General Assembly’s recently released budget for 2016-17 increases University of North Carolina System appropriations by $168 million, $31 million of which will be dedicated to fund projected enrollment increases. At many of the system’s 16 universities, however, increased funding for such a purpose is unnecessary. Furthermore, the new state higher education budget, … Continue reading “NC’s Latest Higher Ed Budget: More Spending, Less Saving”
Last month, former NC State football player Eric Leak made headlines for giving an unnamed UNC athlete “improper benefits,” in violation of the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA). An article in the Raleigh News & Observer explained that Leak was also accused of defrauding former clients and possibly the Medicaid system. Both are … Continue reading “Enriching the NCAA Through State Law”
Lawmakers returned to Raleigh at the end of April to attend this year’s “short session.” On the agenda are adjustments to the state budget and a few policies left unresolved when legislators adjourned last year. Many of those policies focus on community colleges.
A study of the UNC System’s administration, released last week, recommends realignment of the management of UNC’s 16 universities—mostly to fulfill campus wish lists. But downplayed in the report is the reason for the General Administration’s existence in the first place: to help the disparate schools function more efficiently as a system, in order to serve students better.
UNC President Margaret Spellings has said that the North Carolina legislature’s proposed Guaranteed Admissions Program (NC GAP) has identified the right problem, but has come up with the wrong solution. Her vision is of a UNC system accessible to everyone and educating everyone—not just elites. That vision, however, should include NC GAP, which focuses on access—through the community college system—and success at many educational levels.
At the Pope Center we spend a lot of time recommending changes to higher education policy. It’s in our name. But there are ways you—as a citizen, parent, student, or employer—can pressure higher education to change.
Federal, state, and local higher education laws seem to multiply by the hour. Bureaucrats now dictate campus policies regarding academics, sexual assault, athletics, dining, technology, employment, campus construction, and student health, among other areas. Meanwhile, schools devote millions of dollars and valuable resources to comply with those rules—many of which confuse and do little to improve student outcomes.
As the stock market gyrates and talk of a new recession begins, many universities have reason to worry. The cost of college education hasn’t stopped rising, students are fearful of being burdened by debt, and political pressure is beginning to weigh in. Congress is entertaining a bill that would require 25 percent of a school’s endowment spending to go toward student financial aid, and several presidential candidates have unveiled plans to solve the student debt crisis. At the state level, the return of state support to its pre-recession levels may be in jeopardy. But a few universities have chosen to take a different route. In addition to looking for more state revenues, they’ve found ways to reduce their expenditures and to ease the financial burden on students.