Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Big Dog on Higher Ed

I've been thinking a lot lately about what should be done to reform Higher Ed in Pennsylvania. I hope to post something in the not too distant future when time allows. In the meantime, consider Bill Clinton's take on the situation nationally.
One of the main thrusts of this year’s CGI conference is discussing ways to build up human capital through public and private investments. This is particularly important here in America, as our educational attainment has stagnated, and we have lost the competitive academic edge that we used to hold over the rest of the world. Clinton touched on this, lamenting our falling academic standing:
In the last eight years, we went from first to tenth in terms of the percentage of 25-34 year olds holding a bachelor’s degree. That’s the most important unknown statistic out there…We are headed into long-term economic decline if we don’t do something about it.
He added that prohibitive tuition at college is contributing toward this problem, as “higher education institutions are pricing themselves into America’s decline.” Indeed, this is a real problem. As Michael Mandel at Economics Unbound pointed out, “college costs are up by 23 percent since 2000. But real pay for young college grads is down 11% over the same period.” Meanwhile, two-thirds of today’s college students borrow to pay for tuition, and their average debt load is $23,186.
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