Time to cut college subsidies?

Too much public money is going to subsidize higher education, argues Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economics professor and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Vedder sees diminishing returns as less-capable students are pushed to enroll in college.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  We need to measure how much college students are learning, writes Ed Sector’s Kevin Carey.

About Joanne


  1. but too much money is also going to K-12 as they are pushing ill-prepared and poorly educated students to higher ed…so, where do you draw the line? I would love better professors at colleges and better quality teachers and outcomes from K-12…with less money…K-12 needs to be held accountable too…well before 4-year colleges…

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    You know, it occurred to me reading tim-10-ber’ comment that part of the reason that high school teachers might be thought of poorly — as a group — is that many people who WOULD have been high school teachers in the past are now adjuncting and teaching university to students who really wouldn’t have gone to university in the past.

    If we could get all those young ABD’s into high school instead of killing themselves adjuncting so that they get to be a “serious academic,” we might see an overall rise in respect for the profession.

    It’s just a thought, and my last comment for a few days. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

  3. Just cut the spending at all levels of education and good things will inevitably follow.

  4. I might agree (even though I’m in higher ed myself) if I thought there might be a smart, coherent plan for how and where to cut. Right now what happens when they cut funding to higher ed is that colleges raise tuition and then the governments says, ah, we must now fund more grants or we must encourage banks to loan to all of these students, and this doesn’t really help. So what we do is reduce funding and increase student indebtedness, but we still try to get everyone to go to college, whether or not that’s a good choice for them. You can change the money stream somewhat, but unless you also change attitudes I don’t forsee it working out well.

  5. Vedder is wrong!

    In his piece, he argues that investments into higher ed have not cut crime rates, yet crime rates for those under 40 have been declining for years. While you can’t attribute the decline to higher ed, you certainly can’t say that crime rates are going up because of higher ed’s failures.

    Vedder, like many of the education critics, is just making up excuses (and data) to justify the defunding of public education.

  6. The “defunding of public education”? Inflation-adjusted spending on K-12 education in the U.S. has gone from $34B per year in 1940 to $556B per year tin 2008. The biggest increases have been in the past 15 years. Granted the number of enrolled students is higher today, but the increase in spending has vastly outpaced the increase in enrollment.