June 27, 2006

Spellings commission draft shows signs of distortion

Sigh. Sometimes, it's hard to have perspective. Reports of the Spellings commission's draft are not exaggerated, and it appears that Miller is hell-bent on claiming that college costs have risen and need to be clamped down on.

Oh, yes, and quality needs to rise.

What is true, and what I explained to a key staff member last summer at the NEA/AFT Higher-Ed Conference, is that tuition has gone up dramatically. But tuition has risen far more than actual costs, especially at public institutions, because states have cut the proportion of higher education funding provided from state coffers. In the public sector, at least, tuition costs are a reflection of cost-shifting from the state to students and their families.

And in the private market, the "list price" is as much a marketing tactic as a real cost. It's the snob factor that causes Princeton's tuition, room, and board to top $40,000, even though its endowment could allow everyone to get an undergraduate education without any tuition at all.

So what the heck is Miller getting at, and does he understand that maintaining this stance in the final report would be as close to an outright lie as one can get without stepping in it?

Listen to this article
Posted in Random comments on June 27, 2006 8:05 AM |