State budget cuts have led to significant tuition increases, and student loan debt now exceeds the debt attached to credit cards. In response, policymakers have focused on helping debt-laden students pay off their loans, and shaming colleges with high tuition prices. But these policy fixes are temporary remedies that ignore the root cause of student debt: growth in the cost of college. After decades of maintaining affordability by investing increasing amounts in student financial aid, even President Obama has admitted that student aid investments cannot keep pace with rising tuition prices. This reality has focused the national debate on how to contain the cost of delivering a college education.
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In this provocative volume, higher education experts explore innovative ways that colleges and universities can unbundle the various elements of the college experience while assessing costs and benefits and realizing savings.
As Harvard Education Press's just-released volume Stretching the Higher Education Dollar details, while existing higher education institutions can take some steps to contain their costs, truly low-cost higher education will likely come from an emerging wave of new providers such as university-online partnerships, massive open online courses, and competency-based education.
In this new volume, education experts explain why costs have risen so dramatically, and explore innovative ways that education stakeholders can “bend the college cost curve” in an effort to rein in tuition prices without forgoing quality.
Policymakers and school leaders have far more control over productivity than assumed, but tend to lack the requisite information on which to base resource allocation decisions. This report provides a framework for helping college leaders determine which policies and practices provide the most bang for our education buck.
Improving the quality of higher education and curbing the costs of college tuition are not irreconcilable goals. However, tuition costs should be regulated not by the government but by the free market.
Tuition, fees, and other college charges have increased in both the public and private sectors at more than twice the rate of inflation for over a quarter century. This report seeks to examine the extent to which public policies at both the federal and state levels have shaped these trends in price and cost productivity.