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ERIC Number: ED529627
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb-1
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Assessing the President's Proposals on Higher Education Costs. WebMemo. No. 3480
Butler, Stuart M.
Heritage Foundation
President Obama is right to draw attention to the soaring cost of a college education in America. However, his proposed solution will not only fail to fix the problem but is also likely to compound it by blunting the competition that is needed to shake up the world of higher education. President Obama proposes to slow tuition growth by conditioning the amount of federal campus-based aid to colleges. He also wants to create a "college scorecard" for every institution as a measure of quality. The scorecard would include such indicators as tuition, graduation rates, and earnings upon graduation. While the President was cheered by students when he presented his proposals at the University of Michigan, the students should have paused to consider the implications of his approach. Rising tuition in recent years is not due only to inefficiency and bloated administrations at the nation's colleges, although these are significant long-term factors. Most state universities are raising tuition sharply to compensate for cutbacks in budget support from their financially strapped state governments. Still, ever-increasing federal subsidies are but one culprit contributing to the high cost of college. Traditional higher education is a classic example of an industry that has grown bloated and inefficient over many decades and is ripe for a major transformation. The antidote to this trend is not for the federal government to tweak college assistance. This paper suggests that the real antidote to tuition hikes at traditional public and private colleges is emerging competition from colleges that are pioneering new business models, online education, and other technologies that dramatically cut costs. The best way for Washington to foster this competition is to make sure that accreditation requirements and other regulations are loosened. And the best way to ease the student debt problem for future students is through tax reform that encourages saving. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Heritage Foundation