The Crisis in Higher Education - Vol. 35

The Crisis in Higher Education - Vol. 35

The Crisis in Higher Education - Vol. 35

The Crisis in Higher Education - Vol. 35


Higher education in this country has changed enormously since World War II. The change built upon diversity that had developed in the generations before, providing many elements of continuity. But much today — not only in the sciences and computers — seems more new than traditional. And the numbers, e.g., students and outlays, have grown beyond anything that would have been dreamed possible only a few decades ago.

Achievements have properly been the source of pride. But shortfalls must be recognized. All too much remains all too far from the excellence we should seek. Moreover, the expansion of knowledge multiplies the opportunities for enriching life, but exploiting the potentials presents formidable challenges.

Both families and institutions have had to struggle to meet rising costs. In some cases most of the increase in expense has been evident—the tuition plus living costs in private institutions; but the increases have not been fully clear in other cases where taxes support universities and subsidize student loans. Projecting recent cost trends only a few years ahead produces figures that must cause serious concern. Will not too many persons who could benefit from higher education be excluded by rising costs?

Moreover, it is not only the prospective student and his family who see ominous problems in the future. Colleges and universities as institutions face rather frightening demographic trends. A declining student population can create many difficulties.

The essays in this volume bring the knowledge of experts to help us understand something about what has developed, key elements of the situation today, and insights into the problems for the future. This knowledge should assist in preparing for the future. Americans often take for granted a system of higher education that represents an accumulated treasure of value beyond calculation. It consists of many parts. Individually, and as a whole, these diverse elements can be made to serve us and our children more effectively.

The Academy of Political Science was founded in 1880 at Columbia University to investigate political, economic, and social issues and to provide a link between . . .

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