Financing Higher Education: Not

November 12, 2010

“One striking thing about the current global recession, a crisis that has hit those in the United States with weaker education backgrounds much harder than others, is that one response has been the massive retrenchment, austerity and abandonment of the promise and ideal of public college education.”

That’s the lead paragraph of a blog post from Michael Konczal, a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute who regularly blogs at Rortybomb and New Deal 2.0, but this week is subbing for Ezra Klein on the Washington Post’s blog “Economic and Domestic Policy and Lots of It.”

He notes that this isn’t just an American response. Konczal focuses on public higher education, but we should really be concerned about  the level of public support for higher education, whether public or private.  To an increasing degree, independent higher education institutions have been bearing the responsibility for educating lower income students.  But public support for young people to go to college is declining, now rapidly.

As Tom Mortenson of Postsecondary Education Opportunity has relentlessly noted, in the U.S., state appropriations for higher education as a share of personal income crested in 1973 and have been on the decline ever since.  The recession is only accelerating the trend.  As a nation, we are disinvesting in higher education as it becomes steadily more critical for our national well-being, economically and socially.

The title of Konczal’s post is “The 21st- Century Retreat from Public High Education.” He provides links to several other posts on the topic — an essential reading list. Worth reading and following the links.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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