Thursday, April 19, 2012

Friday Finds | Inside Higher Ed

Friday Finds | Inside Higher Ed:

Friday Finds

If you haven’t seen this interview with Jane Wellman, it’s well worth a read.  She’s an expert on the drivers of college costs, and she was the founding director of the Delta Cost Project. (She’s also funny as hell in a sardonic, I’ve-had-toothaches-scarier-than-you way.) She makes several points that I wish we could all just stipulate before having any more conversations about college costs: that every new dollar of tuition goes directly to health insurance costs; that community colleges are routinely shafted in funding formulae and desperately need substantial and permanent increases in operating subsidies; and that the cost of prisons is one of the primary drains on state budgets.  (Yes, I also liked her recognition that the “administrative bloat” complains are symbolic, rather than serious; if you redistributed the money, it would be a drop in the bucket.)  Accepting those truths wouldn’t necessarily lead to a single policy outcome, but it would rule out some truly stupid and destructive ones.  That would help.  Even just recognizing that higher education’s funding issues are inextricably connected to health care and prisons would be a tremendous improvement.


The California death spiral continues. Now that the state has decided that Santa Monica College’s attempt at self-preservation was illegal, the survival options for community colleges are even fewer. Kevin Carey’s columnthis week drew some flak for being alarmist, but honestly, it struck me as restrained. First, California establishes a three-tier system of higher education, corresponding roughly to economic classes.  Then it starves out the