The Rising Costs of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook

The Rising Costs of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook

The Rising Costs of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook

The Rising Costs of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook

Synopsis

100 years ago, college tuition at prestigious Ivy League colleges such as Harvard and Brown was about $130 per year. Even when adjusted for inflation, today's cost of higher education has increased dramatically—to the point where a college education is shifting further out of reach for many Americans. This book explains the essential concepts in the debate regarding the staggering costs of higher education, supplying ten original essays by higher education policy experts, a lively historical narrative that provides context to current issues, and systematic guides to finding additional sources of information on the subject.

Written from a historian's point of view, The Rising Costs of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook explains the economics of higher education in a manner that encourages readers to participate in the discussion on how to control ever-increasing tuition costs. Both college-bound students and parents will come to appreciate how complicated the problem of paying for college is, and grasp the crucial differences between "cost" and "price" in the specific economics of colleges and universities.

Excerpt

On February 4, 2012 the New York Times featured an editorial, “Reining in College Tuition,” noting that “A national discussion on how to make public colleges more affordable is long overdue” (New York Times, 2012). This attention by the press to the college costs topic came in response to a White House conference of experts convened by the president of the United States in December 2011 and was testimony to the importance of higher education in our national forum of public affairs. Indeed, the rising costs of higher education have coincided with the rising stature of American colleges and universities. But this coincidence is no simple direct cause-effect relationship. It is, rather, a complex story over time. Higher education in the United States now stands out as a success story—an enterprise that commands both prestige and power worldwide (Jencks and Riesman, 1968). This prominence is relatively new and was hardly inevitable. A century ago, American colleges and universities were defensive, often apologetic, about the quality of their PhD programs, medical colleges, scientific laboratories, research libraries, faculty credentials, and undergraduate admissions standards (Slosson, 1910). A bachelor’s degree from a college in the United States often was considered suspect when a student applied for advanced studies at a European university. Even as late as 1930, American colleges and universities did not fare well in international rankings and ratings of higher education institutions (Flexner, 1930).

But at the start of the twenty-first century, it is universally acknowledged that these rankings and ratings have undergone . . .

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