By Sara Goldrick-Rab
This month the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents heard from Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council of Education, who spoke about “Higher Education at the Crossroads: Multiple Challenges, Innovation and Learning.” Then she gave a similar talk, which I moderated, at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, this time to faculty, staff, and students.
I’m grateful to her for joining us, and I’d like to show her the respect of fully engaging with her comments.
Let’s begin with Broad’s assessment of higher education.
- The economic strains facing colleges are intense: the slow economic recovery and new political pressures from the federal government and the states; the increasing number of low-income students who need support. Colleges can no longer raise tuition by ever-larger amounts. As a result, more and more are becoming “dependent” on Pell Grants and the other sources of financial aid their students receive—although funds for the grants may be cut in the future, and increases in interest rates are likely to make loans less affordable for students. (In any case, too much government involvement is not productive.)
- Institutions vary greatly in our system, in terms of whom they admit and how much they spend to educate those students. One size doesn’t meet the needs of all students.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/02/20/the-higher-education-lobby-comes-to-madison/ ]