Higher Education in America
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Publisher: Independent Institute
Hardcover (ISBN 978-1-59813-327-1)
|eBook Coming Soon|
Higher Education in America
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Publisher: Independent Institute
Hardcover (ISBN 978-1-59813-327-1)
|eBook Coming Soon|
Higher education in America is in crisis. Costs are too high, learning is too little, and the payoff to students and society is increasingly problematic. In Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder shows how the precarious position of colleges and universities results from a mostly unsuccessful expansion of governmental involvement in the academy, especially at the federal level.
The book examines todays most serious issues in higher education, including free speech and academic freedom; tuition and other costs; culture and curricula; governance; gender, race and diversity; due process; admissions; student loans; and much more. It diagnoses problems and identifies solutions.
For example, the total cost of college per student in the United States is now higher than in any other country. When combining the monetary costs of college with the opportunity costs of losing years of labor to the economy, the true cost of higher education to American society well exceeds one trillion dollars annually. Yet, despite American higher educations immense price tag, students are learning less than ever before and continue to be underemployed.
The book discusses the three Is of university reform: information, incentives, and innovation. Without information, it is impossible for taxpayers and governing authorities to ensure that public education spending truly furthers the broader interests of society rather than the narrow interests of faculty and administrators.
Shaping incentives for management would help to reduce costs and improve quality. Business practices such as Responsibility Centered Management (RCM), for example, allow profit to motivate efficiency and encourage learning outcomes.
And expanding the use of innovation in technology and open online courses, along with relinquishing old rules such as tenure and three-month summer vacations, offer new hope for institutions of higher education.
The book discusses such additional reforms as the following:
- Ending or revising the federal student financial aid program
- Giving departments or even professors a share of overall revenue based on student enrollments in their classes. Departments or professors would then be required to pay their share of travel, building rental, maintenance, utilities, and other such costs from the revenues they receive
- Providing earnings data on former students by college five, ten or fifteen years after matriculation. Prospective students (and parents) as well as lawmakers and oversight officials would be assisted regarding school successes and failures
- Increasing faculty teaching loads
- Instituting three-year degrees and year-round instruction
- Ending discrimination against for-profit schools
- Ending grade inflation
- Ending speech codes and other barriers to academic freedom
- Ending affirmative action and related diversity programs
- And more...
Table of Contents
Part One: Higher Educations Triple Crisis
1: Why Go to College Anyway?
2: College Is Too Costly
3: Students Arent Learning Critical Knowledge and Employable Skills
4: College Graduates Are Underemployed
Part Two: How Did We Get Here?
5: Nearly Four Centuries of Higher Learning
6: Why Fees and Costs Are Rising So Fast
7: Why Endowments Dont Lower the Cost of Tuition
8: The Federal Student Financial Assistance Debt Crisis
Part Three: Where Does All the Money Go?
9: Universities Spending Perversities
10: Nonacademic Activities and Rip-Offs
11: The Edifice Complex
12: The Costly Enterprise of Intercollegiate Athletics
Part Four: Is Educating Students a Top Priority?
13: The Conundrum of Research
14: The Academic Cartel of Accreditation
15: The Scandal of Diversity
16: The Weaknesses of Current University Governance
Part Five: Where Do We Go from Here?
17: The Three Is of University Reform
18: The Failure of Government Higher Education Policy
19: Reforming Higher Education
About the Author
- Americas colleges and universities are increasingly expensivefar more costly than 25 or 50 years agocausing graduates to defer buying a home, starting a family, saving for retirement, and pursuing the American Dream. While growing incomes and wealth have made almost everything else more affordable, it now takes a larger portion of income for most Americans to pay for college compared to one or two generations ago. The increased cost reflects many factorssome tied to the labor-intensive nature of teachingbut the main fault lies with misguided government policies, especially federal student financial assistance programs that artificially boost demand and enable schools to exploit students through price discrimination. For example, data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest every one dollar per student in federal financial aid leads to about a 60 cent increase in tuition fees.
- The saddest truth about higher education is that most college students learn relatively little while in school. Although colleges are supposed to be in the information and knowledge business, they know shockingly little about the educational value added they impart to students during their collegiate years. For example, the evidence of Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa after surveying over 2,300 students on diverse campuses suggests that students gain little important knowledge, with some exceptions in technical areas such as engineering, nursing, architecture, or accounting, where colleges teach vocationally useful material. Low levels of learning are not surprising, because students spend little time in classrooms or studyingon average less than 30 hours weekly for about 32 weeks a year.
- Higher education often confers surprisingly little advantage in the job market, making college a risky investment for many. An October 2018 report by Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds that around 40 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, filling jobs traditionally filled by high school graduatesUber drivers, baristas, big box store cashiers, and other jobs not requiring a degree. Some 40 percent or more of students fail to graduate from college in even six years. To be sure, for many Americans, going to college is worthwhile financially, but there are significant risks involved.
- Colleges are notoriously inefficient, with few incentives to lower costs or improve quality. Often the incentives they face create perverse outcomes, such as a growing ratio of employees to students over the past half century. Colleges are swarming with administratorsmore than faculty. Buildings lie empty much of the year. Professors at even teaching-oriented schools rarely teach even 400 hours a year, down at least one-third over the past half century.
- Making matters worse, academic debate on campus has increasingly yielded to intellectual conformity. Despite exceptions, many prominent campuses have become bastions of a progressive leftish monoculture: the faculty espouse overwhelmingly similar views on political and cultural issues, tolerance of alternative viewpoints is stifled, and original research demonstrates that outside speakers also tend to have a strong leftish orientation. Reasoned debate among alternative viewpoints is too often limited.
- Too many faculty limit their research output to little-read academic papers that do little or nothing to advance civilization. Teachers write many scholarly papers to get tenure, but typically they say little that is new or important. Todays academic culture disincentivizes engagement with the broader educated communityor even communication with scholars working outside the confines of a narrow subdiscipline. Hyperspecialization, jargon-heavy prose, and academic self-exile run counter to the universitys traditional mission of advancing the frontiers of knowledge to benefit the community at large.
- Higher education has been diverted from its main taskcreating and disseminating knowledgeby intercollegiate athletics, sustainability, diversity, and other fashionable trends and distractions. Too many resources go for non-academic pursuits unrelated to teaching students or expanding the frontiers of knowledge. Intercollegiate athletics is costly and often scandalous, and administrations are excessively obsessed with sustainability and group characteristics of students and faculty, such as race, gender, sexual orientationat the expense of cultivating intellectual curiosity, appreciation of diverse viewpoints, and the life of the mind.
- Schools routinely come up short on metrics and strategies for improving efficiency, academic instruction and performance, and sound governance. Three I words are often missing: information, incentives, and innovation. Transparency and meaningful accountability are missing in regards who actually runs or even owns our colleges and universities.
American universities are facing unprecedented challenges: falling enrollments and declining public support are causing more schools to close their doors. In a half of a century, they have gone from a Golden Age of expansion and affluence to a drearier era of decline. Whats troubling academiaand what can be done to spark renewal?
The answers are complex. But at the heart of the problem, according to economist Richard K. Vedder, is that higher education lacks incentives to change, to innovate, to operate efficiently. It often even lacks vital information measuring the problems it faces. Much of the difficulty arises because of the fact that third parties, especially government, help finance the enterprise, so the discipline that markets impose on businesses does not exert its salutatory effects in the academy.
In Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America, Vedder offers a probing analysis of the many problems facing higher education, particularly its triple crisis: excessive costs, inadequate classroom performance (as measured by student academic achievement), and the failure to prepare graduates for success in life beyond the academy. More than a diagnosis of what ails American academia and why, Restoring the Promise offers powerful prescriptions to cure the underlying problems and foster a renaissance in higher education.
Higher Educations Triple Crisis
Restoring the Promise begins by examining the competing objectives that Americas colleges and universities are supposed to meet.
To grasp that higher education is failing to adequately serve many students, its first necessary to appreciate that the collective student body has diverse expectations and needs, Vedder explains. For many, college provides a ticket to a comfortable lifeit allegedly leads to higher incomes and wealth. For others, college provides immediate enjoyment in many formsintellectual, social or hedonistic. For still others, colleges are mechanisms for putting the disadvantaged on the path to economic opportunity and the American Dream. Historically, colleges were also considered instruments promoting high morality, the Ten Commandments, and effective civic participation.
Higher education is said to have positive externalities: it benefits not only its consumers but the broader society. But does it really? How is this best measured? Universities also do other things besides teach, such as research. By what standard can we determine whether any spillover benefits accruing to society exceed the costs?
Yet many Americanssome polls say a majoritycomplain that colleges are too costly. College prices have risen roughly three percent more annually than the overall inflation rate in the past 40 years, although that increase is now slowing. What is troubling is that costs have risen faster than incomes, which themselves are growing slowly because of declining economic growth. Moreover, per student spending in the United States is high relative to other industrialized nations like Britain, Germany, or Japan.
Rising costs might be warranted if this were accompanied by qualitative improvements in educational services. But are students actually learning more? The evidence suggests otherwise. The most comprehensive study, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, shows little improvement in critical thinking or writing abilities during college. Additionally, inputs used to achieve educational outcomes are declining: professors are teaching much less than their counterparts of the 1960s, while the students are studying a lot lessbut getting much higher grades. Students are doing less for more.
Rising costs might also make sense if they conferred growing advantages in the job market. But this appears not to be the case. While college graduates earn more than high school diploma holders, that differential is not growing, and there are far more college graduate workers than jobs requiring a bachelors degree. Moreover, at some non-elite schools, starting pay on average is low, and many fail to graduate.
How Did We Get Here?
To put these trends in historical perspective, its important to note that for much of U.S. history, higher education has been a growth industry. At the time of the American Revolution, there were 774 students at nine American colleges. The numbers grew rapidly and fairly consistently until recent years, when enrollments actually started declining. Early schools were private and many had religious orientation. The Morrill Act of 1862, which helped finance colleges devoted to instruction for agriculture and industry, was less important than many imagine. The growth in the research university concept dates from the late 19th century. Up from 5 percent in 1940, the proportion of adult Americans with college degrees now exceeds 30 percent.
Rising incomes, population, and job skill requirements contributed to rising demand, as did a greater college-high school earnings differential. Another factor that increased demand for college is of particular importance: the surge in federal student loan and grant programs after 1965. Some blame the labor-intensity of teaching for rising costs, others, declining state support. Of major importance as demonstrated through research, however, is the Bennett Hypothesis: greater federal student loan availability largely explains higher tuition fees. The huge rise in federal student debt (to $1.5 trillion today) created a myriad of unintended problems, including reduced fertility and homeownership for debt-laden young adults.
Some schools depend heavily on endowments. The evidence shows that while endowment money goes for many things, little is spent to make college more affordable to students. Instead, the staff benefit from higher compensation, lower teaching loads, and other perks. Indeed, despite rising federal financial assistance and growing endowments, the proportion of recent college graduates from the bottom quintile of the income distribution has actually declined since 1970. So much for the notion that higher education is a ladder for the poorest Americans to climb toward social advancement and the American Dream.
Where Does All the Money Go?
As a thought experiment, we can imagine a situation in which nearly every penny spent on education goes toward instruction: a tutor uses student fees almost exclusively to pay his or her salary. In reality, however, a much smaller share of education spending goes toward instruction. At most modern universities, somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of spending is not even directly related to the academic mission; it is spent on things like food services, medical clinics, or intercollegiate athletics.
But even within spending on core activities, less than half goes directly for instruction. Spending for research, academic support, student services and institutional support each consume typically over 10 percent of university budgets. Instructional and research spending as a share of budgets has fallen over time. Administrative staffs have soared in size and importance, while the faculty has lost some clout, although they have been bribed (figuratively) with lower teaching loads. In the 1970s, there were typically more than two faculty members per bureaucrat; now there is less than one.
The rise in tuition fees is duplicated by soaring prices of university-provided food and housing, which have risen faster than in the non-university private economy. University costs have increased also because of an edifice complex, huge outlays for elaborate buildings and sports facilities with climbing walls, atriums, and lazy rivers. Buildings cant talk and lobby for funds, however, so they lose out in maintenance spending, which typically is woefully inadequate on most campuses. This construction boom has led to a sometimes dangerous increase in debt obligations, as credit rating agencies like Moodys and Fitch have warned.
Some would argue that the biggest collegiate scandal of all is intercollegiate athletics. It is increasingly highly costly, with good athletic performance lining the pockets of plutocratic coaches at the expense of athletes who are underpaid but often scarred with debilitating long-term health issues. Scandals abound.
Is Educating Students a Top Priority?
As universities deemphasize teaching, they have put much emphasis on research. At many schools, research dollars are a big revenue source. Yet much non-STEM research is not even read much or cited by other scholars. Federal research overhead policies make little sense and mainly benefit university bureaucracies. Non-university research organizations, especially think tanks, provide some needed competition.
Academic accreditation is highly ineffectivecomplex, costly, secretive, provides little consumer information, emphasizes inputs rather than outcomes, stands as a barrier to entry and innovation, and promotes excessive federal control. Is also is riddled with conflicts of interests.
Another challenge to traditional aim of higher education can be heard in the top buzz word on todays campuses: diversity. By any criterion, universities are far more diverse than ever. They are now dominated by females, and participation by racial minorities has also grown markedly (white students have declined from 82% to 57% of the total from 1976 to 2013). Yet performance among minorities is often disappointing, in part because of mismatchingpushing minorities to attend schools for which they are academically unprepared. While demographic diversity has increased, another sort has declined: diversity of the mind. Campuses are increasingly dominated by left-oriented faculty, sometimes to the exclusion of many of alternative perspectives.
More fundamental is the problem of governance: who runs the universities? Indeed, who even owns them? So-called shared governance is often exceedingly inefficient and leads to politically based compromises that are not optimal policies. Governing boards are often rubber stamps for administrations, often ignorant of key facts needed to make objective decisions.
Where Do We Go from Here?
It is relatively easy to identify characteristics and problems with American higher education today, but more difficult to identify realistic solutions. Three words beginning with the letter I are critical to constructive change: information, incentives, and innovation. We have sketchy information about key statisticshow much do students learn, for example. Inefficiencies persist because staff have little reason to improve. And new better ways of doing things are often ignored for too long.
In a major way, higher education is a poster child for government failure, especially at the federal level, but also at the state level. Governments have contributed importantly to the huge increase in the costs of attending universities, providing instead economic rents (unnecessary income/compensation payments) to faculty and staff. From the standpoint of higher education, we would have been better off if the U.S. Department of Education had not been created.
What to do? The most radical reforms involve ending university monopolies on certifying educational and vocational competence. Alternatives could include external examination. For example, non-college packagers of academic courses could award degrees whose quality is verified by external examination. Especially key is ending or radically revising federal student financial aid programsperhaps by promoting new private ways of funding, such as Income Share Agreements, and by insisting that colleges share in covering loan defaults (have skin in the game.) Many smaller but useful reforms are possible, such as downsizing university bureaucracies, offering three-year bachelor degrees, ending grade inflation, and prohibiting race-centered admissions. If changes are not made either from within or through outside pressure, markets will force some much needed Schumpeterian creative destruction upon American higher education.
In Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder brings experience from a venerable career as economist and historian to an analysis of the troubled state of higher education. His research is data driven, his writing is uncomplicated, and his arguments are persuasive enough to worry standard-issue academic administrators. Hurrah!
John W. Sommer, Knight Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina; former Dean, School of Social Science, University of Texas at Dallas; editor, The Academy in Crisis: The Political Economy of Higher Education
In his book Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder continues in his role as the conscience of modern higher education. Readers will have to determine their own answers, but Dr. Vedder is asking all the right questions.
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President, Purdue University; former Governor, State of Indiana
Richard Vedder is a major national resource on higher education. No one knows it better-especially what is wrong with it, why and how it got to be wrong, and how and where we might make it right, or at least better. In Restoring the Promise, Vedder chronicles higher educations waste, duplication, overpricing, and broken promises. So much wrong and so many misrepresentations for so much money!! If we want to fix it, his chronicle is a good place to start. Thorough, scholarly, probative and revealing.
William J. Bennett, former Secretary, U.S. Department of Education; former Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities; author (with David Wilezol), Is College Worth It? A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education; editor, The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories
Building on a lifetime of scholarship and experience in his book Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder provides a backstage tour of the multitudinous dysfunctions of American higher education. You may not like what he shows you, but youll savor the tour.
Bryan D. Caplan, Professor of Economics, George Mason University; author, The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
Richard Vedder has seen our higher education problems coming miles away. From skyrocketing tuition and crushing student debt to the diminishing utility of a college education and the underemployment of graduates, Vedder has spent decades looking at the data and warning that this will not end well. If you want to understand how higher education came to this crisis and how it can be fixed, start with his book, Restoring the Promise.
Jason L. Riley, Member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and Naomi Schaefer Riley, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
American higher education promises so muchexcellence, access, diversity, world-class researchand yet it delivers far too little for so many students. The problems are manyhigh cost, micromanaging from the federal government, diversity programs that do more harm than goodthe list goes on. The book, Restoring the Promise by Richard Vedder, Americas premier expert on higher education, offers a comprehensive and sobering look at how we got here and where we might head in pursuit of better higher education. Forget the bromides of politicians, this book is a clear-eyed starting point for higher education policy. If I could put one book in the hands of university boards (and their presidents), it would be this one.
Jonathan J. Bean, Professor of History, Southern Illinois University
Richard Vedder is the leading economist of higher education in America. Higher education today is too expensive, too irrelevant, and too plagued by political correctness to deliver promised value to its students or the country at large. And not only do those problems persist, they are getting increasingly worse. Why is the system so resistant to change? Vedder provides the time-honored lesson'Follow the money. Reform of higher education means changing incentives, and changing incentives means reviewing the thicket of regulations and subsidies that distort the industry. Restoring the Promise is Vedders magnum opus and an important read for anyone concerned about students, parents, and taxpayers are getting their money's worth.
Todd J. Zywicki, University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School; Co-Editor, Supreme Court Economic Review
With Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder has written a thorough and thoughtful book on higher education in nearly all of its aspects. It is a marvelous endeavor and a rich resource for wonks as well as bystanders. One is not obliged to agree on philosophy or politics to appreciate this important contribution.
A. Lee Fritschler, former Vice President and Director, Center for Public Policy Education, Brookings Institution; former Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; former President, Dickinson College; Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; former Chairman, U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission
Restoring the Promise is destined to become the must-read resource for anyone hoping to understand why college tuition is so obscenely expensive and why students emerge from college, if they graduate at all, with an almost unblemished ignorance about history and the achievements of the West. Richard Vedders calculations of college endowments per studentnearly $3 million at Princeton University, for exampleare alone worth the price of admission. University administrators will hate Restoring the Promise, since it demolishes the arguments that more federal student aid is the solution to ballooning tuition costs and that not enough teenagers are attending college. Everyone else should welcome it.
Heather L. Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research; author, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture
Over the last 20 years, no economist has spent more time in productive thinking about American higher education than Richard Vedder. In his book, Vedder refutes many of the mistaken beliefs about college, probes the reasons for its woeful inefficiency, and shows how we can rescue higher education from the interest groups that now control it. If you are concerned about higher education, put Restoring the Promise on the top of your reading list.
George C. Leef, Director of Research, James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
If you truly want to understand the current crises in American higher education, start with Restoring the Promise, a masterful and eye-opening work of analysis and diagnosis.
Alan Charles Kors, Henry Charles Lea Professor Emeritus of History, University of Pennsylvania; Co-Founder and former Chairman, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; and co-author (with Harvey A. Silvergate), The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses
American higher education appears to have lost its way. A short list of problems includes: escalating and unaccountable costs; documented decline of the quality and extent of learning; growing misfit between the educational experience and life prospects; obsession with administrative and political agendas that far too often compromise the pursuit of truth and intellectual freedom that are higher educations raison detre. As a critical friend of higher education, Richard Vedder deploys in his superb book Restoring the Promise the considerable analytical skills that have made him one of Americas leading scholars of higher education to not only illuminate the origins and nature of the problems that beset us, but to also provide us with highly informed and instructive remedies to right the ship.
Donald A. Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Law and Journalism; the Glenn B. and Cleone Orr Hawkins Emeritus Professor of Political Science; and Co-Founder of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy; University of Wisconsin, Madison; author, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus
Richard Vedder is among Americas foremost students of higher education. His indictment of Americas colleges in his book Restoring the Promise is on the mark and his recommendations thought provoking. Everyone interested in higher education should read and ponder this book.
Benjamin Ginsberg, David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair, Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, Johns Hopkins University; author, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why it Matters
At last, Restoring the Promise is a lucid 360-degree examination of the whole of American higher education, sparing no idols. Richard Vedder commands near-encyclopedic knowledge of his subject and he writes with flair. His excellent book is not another sky-is-falling pronouncement of doom on colleges and universities that have become unaffordable, unaccountable, and intellectually mediocre. Rather, he takes the failures one by one and shows how we as a nation could solve them though practical policy choices. Vedder is a distinguished economist and possesses an economists eye for the tradeoffs we inevitably make when we demand a dozen things from colleges and universities besides teaching and research. He asks tough questions, adduces pertinent data, and advances compelling answers. His tone is temperate but his conclusions will surely dismay those who are complacent about how we are preparing the next generation for leadership. This is one of the best books written about higher education in the last quarter-century. The inherited strengths of our system weighed against its flaws, temptations, and corruptions are laid forth with precision by a scholar who knows exactly whats what.
Peter W. Wood, President, National Association of Scholars; former Provost, The Kings College, New York
Richard Vedders book, Restoring the Promise, provides a tough-minded blueprint for resolving American higher educations crisis of confidence. He skillfully draws from historical and economic analyses as the base of reason to achieve the revelation that our colleges and universities can regain their proper footing and missions. This well-written, thoroughly researched work cuts through the public relations images and ideologies that have stalled higher education of the 21st century at a time when they most need to confront a host of internal and external problems that will no longer be fixed by business as usual. Vedder combines good writing with critical thinking in dissecting the dilemmas of prices and costs along with access and affordability that have been turning the American Dream of higher education into an educational and financial nightmare. Vedders book helps leaders in American higher education turn away from complacence and indecision toward informed reflection and discussions about institutional practices and public policies in rebuilding a base that in turn will be essential to restoring the promise of going to college.
John R. Thelin, University Research Professor, History of Higher Education and Public Policy, College of Education, University of Kentucky; author, A History of American Higher Education and Going to College in the Sixties
In Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder has used his vast experience and research to craft an exceptional critique of U.S. higher education. I daresay that nobody will agree with all of his conclusions. But I am also sure that nobody will fail to be challenged by his arguments and data. Higher education is an area where the participants regularly pat themselves on the back for what they are doing and regularly suggest that the only real problem is that there is not enough of it. Vedder offers a refreshing contrarian view.
Eric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; former Deputy Director, Congressional Budget Office; former Member, Equity and Excellence Commission, U.S. Department of Education
Richard Vedder takes readers on a most sobering campus tour. Though Americas universities may be the pride of the world, Vedder marshals meticulous evidence to argue they are delivering services of declining educational quality at escalating prices. As its title suggests, Restoring the Promise offers numerous ideas for arresting these trends. Most every reader will agree with some and disagree with others, but everyone concerned with the future of higher education would benefit from bringing them into the conversation.
Jacob L. Vigdor, Daniel J. Evans Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington
Americas ivory tower is crackingall over. Richard Vedder, informed by decades of working in the tower, and years of analyzing its myriad faults, has answers. If you care at all about higher educationand youd better, because youre paying for ityou need to read the invaluable, incisive volume, Restoring the Promise.
Neal P. McCluskey, Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute
Richard Vedder is known as a strident critic of the higher education establishment in the U.S. But, it would be wrong to think he doubts the value of education. Instead, much of his ire, and the power of his critiques, come from his intimate knowledge of the failings of the public education system. Restoring the Promise documents how college education falls short of what it should be, and our society desperately needs it to be. College is expensive, and fast becoming even more so, yet it fails either to prepare students for living in a liberal society or to provide them the tools they need for employment and personal responsibility. This book is the culmination of decades of reflection, argument, and deep examination of the problems we face. This is the right book, at the right time, while there still is time to rescue the next generation.
Michael C. Munger, Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, Duke University
No one is better equipped to analyze the crisis of American higher education than Richard Vedder. And analyze it he does in Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America. Tuition is exploding, campus bureaucracies are ballooning, infantilizing ideas like micro aggressions are spreading and metastasizing, and evidence that students arent learning much during their four to however many years on campus is accumulating. Vedder methodically exposes these and many other afflictions of the modern university. Anyone interested in understanding what has gone wrong in higher education and how to fix it should read this book.
Joshua Dunn, Professor of Political Science and Director, Center for the Study of Government and the Individual, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Richard Vedder is a provocative, iconoclastic voice when it comes to American higher education. He has long been willing to ask hard questions and speak hard truths about our nation's colleges and universities. His new volume Restoring the Promise is a welcome addition to the national conversation.
Frederick M. Hess, Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Restoring the Promise makes a compelling case about whats causing much of the dysfunction in our higher education system. Professor Vedder suggests potential fixes for these problemssome of which would be very difficult politically, but all of which are directly targeted at fixing the problems he so effectively presents. With higher education having skyrocketed in cost while often declining in quality and value, colleges and policymakers would do well to experiment with Vedders recommendations before the growing crisis of trust and confidence in academia reaches levels that are impossible to ignore.
Robert L. Shibley, Executive Director, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; author, Twisting Title IX
In his book Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder pinpoints the issue plaguing higher education early on, identifying the precarious position of higher education as the outgrowth of governmentparticularly federalintervention in the sector. That intervention has fueled pernicious regulations and a student loan debt crisis that, cumulatively, exceeds aggregate credit card debt. Moreover, his provocative suggestion that higher education as currently structured may exacerbate income inequalities rather than reduce it will no doubt spur a critical conversation about the efficacy of the American college system moving forward. Fifty-four years of university teaching have made Dr. Vedder uniquely situated to diagnose the many problems plaguing higher education. Restoring the Promise is a must-read for anyone interested in how to address the $1.5 trillion question, improve university efficiency and effectiveness, and who generally appreciates the good-natured wit and insight of Richard Vedder.
Lindsey M. Burke, Director and Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy; Center for Education Policy; Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity; Heritage Foundation
Most people would agree that American higher education is an important institution in our society that faces numerous challenges that threaten its very existence. In his new and comprehensive critical study of higher education, Restoring the Promise, Richard Vedder outlines a triple crisis, high costs, little learning, and uncertain employment prospects for graduation. As the Founding Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Vedder has supported his analysis with numerous charts and graphs, mostly drawn from governmental studies and reports, that show the effects of out-of-control tuition rates, grade inflation, and administrators who focus on political correctness, sports and luxury residence halls more than the measurement of learning, graduation rates, and post-graduate employment. While constructively criticizing many practices within colleges and universities, Vedder notes that a large part of higher educations problems relate to the role that government plays. He concludes this comprehensive work by offering a set of broad, long-run, and radical solutions to move academe back to a consumer-funded model that would remove much of the rationale for outside oversight. Among the many recent books on higher education, Vedders is the most comprehensive, coming from a scholar with more than five decades of experience. I highly recommend it to legislators, policymakers, academics, administrators, business leaders, parents, students, and anyone else with a stake in the future of Americas higher education institutions.
C. Ronald Kimberling, former Assistant Secretary of Education for Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; former President, Argosy University, Chicago Campus; former Executive Director, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
Robert Ade, Communications Manager
|Putting the Ivory Tower Together Again Sr. Fellow Richard Vedder, author of the forthcoming book Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America speaks at The Cato Institute Washington, D.C., February 12||Tue., Feb. 12, 2019|
|Saving Higher Education Sr. Fellow Richard Vedder, author of Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America will speak at the Cato Institute event Putting the Ivory Tower Together Again February 12, 2019||Wed., Feb. 6, 2019|
|Senior Fellow Richard Vedder, author of the forthcoming book Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America spoke at CEO Summit at the Career Education Colleges & Universities (CECU) in Las Vegas, NV from Nov. 13-14, 2018||Tue., Nov. 13, 2018|