Is American Higher Education Going to Become More Consumer Friendly? | National Review

Is American Higher Education Going to Become More Consumer Friendly? | National Review


Back in the days before the federal government decided to heavily subsidize higher education, it was pretty consumer friendly — affordable and efficient. Then, thanks mainly  to LBJ, federal money began a long process of bloating and politicizing it. Will anything reverse that trend?

In their recent book The Great UpheavalArthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt argue that the same marketplace changes that brought dramatic change in the music, film, and newspaper industries are at work in higher education. It will become more consumer friendly (which means, no longer dominated by the sellers of college credentials), unbundled, and affordable.

In today’s Martin Center article, I review the book, which I found to be quite persuasive.

Among the big changes will be faculty-hiring practices. Levine and Van Pelt think that the days of hiring for “research” that hardly anyone ever reads and does nothing for students will have to give way to hiring for teaching ability. If so, many graduate departments are going to empty out.

Also, market-based evaluations of institutional quality will supplant our pathetic system of accreditation.

I like the book, but it should frighten the daylights out of many college presidents.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.