Higher Education in the Digital Age

By William G. Bowen; Kelly A. Lack | Go to book overview

Part 1
Costs and Productivity
in Higher Education
AS MY WIFE keeps reminding me, I have a Don Quixote–like tendency to flail away at windmills—to take on topics such as race in America and affirmative action; the insidious problems with college sports at all levels, including Division III and the Ivy League (which cause me to cringe whenever the NCAA refers to its legions of “student-athletes”); and, yes, the un forgiving economics of labor-intensive industries, such as the performing arts and higher education. But, my DNA is what it is, and so I am now adding to this list the potential implications of online learning for college costs.Context matters, and I will begin by outlining as succinctly as I can aspects of the economics of higher education that are relevant to my topic:
trends in costs, the “cost disease,” and how to think about changes in productivity;
other forces, some deeply ingrained in the fabric of higher education, that also push up costs; and
growing worries about affordability, especially in the public sector, where reductions in public support have been coupled with significant increases in tuition.

-1-

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