ERIC Number: EJ1091946
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
An Affair to Remember: America's Brief Fling with the University as a Public Good
Labaree, David F.
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v50 n1 p20-36 Feb 2016
American higher education rose to fame and fortune during the Cold War, when both student enrollments and funded research shot upward. Prior to World War II, the federal government showed little interest in universities and provided little support. The war spurred a large investment in defence-based scientific research in universities, and the emergence of the Cold War expanded federal investment exponentially. Unlike a hot war, the Cold War offered an extended period of federally funded research public subsidy for expanding student enrollments. The result was the golden age of the American university. The good times continued for about 30 years and then began to go bad. The decline was triggered by the combination of a decline in the perceived Soviet threat and a taxpayer revolt against high public spending; both trends culminating with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. With no money and no enemy, the Cold War university fell as quickly as it arose. Instead of seeing the Cold War university as the norm, we need to think of it as the exception. What we are experiencing now in American higher education is a regression to the mean, in which, over the long haul, Americans have understood higher education to be a distinctly private good.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Universities, War, Scientific Research, Federal Aid, Educational History, Taxes, Money Management, Expenditures, Private Sector, Enrollment Trends, Educational Finance, Social Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
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