LET ME PROPOSE, as a beginning point, that we should all accept the premise that a residential liberal arts education is the gold standard to which higher education should aspire. The challenge we face in an increasingly economically challenging tim e is: how do we preserve as much of that gold standard as we possibly can? We understand, just like gold jewelry, there will be 24-karat, 18-karat, and 10-karat organizations, and then there will be those that simply have a little gold plate on the outside. I would like to ask what we can do to preserve the best possible program for the highest number of students.
Let us start with the question that Professor Bowen raised yesterday. Is there a cost problem in higher education? I think the answer to that is undeniably there is a cost problem but with many caveats around the structure of that cost problem. In a wonderful book, Why Does College Cost So Much?, two colleagues, Professors Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, plotted lines of the growing cost of higher education and demonstrated that in fact, higher education had much the same cost structure as other service industries that relied on highly educated people. The good news was that we were no more expensive in terms of cost growth than dental services, and we