By Richard Vedder
Like most others, we at CCAP have taken a little break from the daily higher education scene to celebrate Christmas and rest our minds a bit. But I am already thinking of what we aim to accomplish in 2008. Here is a list of projects that hopefully will be completed.
STUDY ON GRIGGS DECISION
In cooperation with our good friends at the Pope Center in North Carolina, we are very shortly going to publish a significant study authored by Bryan O'Keefe on the impact on higher education of the Griggs Supreme Court decision in the early 1970s. Bryan does a fine job of outlining the consequences of Griggs, and we also have some empirical evidence that suggests Griggs may be important in explaining the explosion in college costs.
FOR PROFIT UNIVERSITIES
Jim Coleman, a Whiz Kid and sometime student of mine, has done a fine job of summarizing the growth in for profit universities. We hope to get his study to the printer early in the new year. For profits are part of the solution to the problem --they are a dynamic, cost- conscious form of educational delivery that continues to expand market share, using the powers of the market and profit signals to foster positive change.
NORTH CAROLINA, WASHINGTON, TEXAS,IOWA, GEORGIA, AND VIRGINIA
By far the most massive undertaking CCAP is doing is a series of fairly lengthy reports on the higher education systems of six states. We have essentially completed the North Carolina study, and will be publishing that, along with others on the aforementioned states. The last five studies will actually be produced by state policy think tanks in collaboration with us --a form of interthink tank synergy that we find exciting. We are working closely with the State Policy Network (SPN) on this project.
ENDOWMENTS AND OTHER FEDERAL REGULATORY AND TAX POLICY ISSUES
I am almost done with a study on university endowments. I discuss the virtues and the defects of various federal policies. Above all, I am skeptical of federal government subsidies for higher education, and argue that there is at least as strong of a case for taxing universities as there is for subsidizing them. While our friend Lynne Munson has made a good case for having an endowment spending rule for universities, their are some problems with that approach as well, which I outline in the paper.
OTHER STUDIES AND CONFERENCES
Jim Coleman has done still another study on market based management approaches to higher education. Other whiz kids (Matt Denhart, Jonathan Robe, and Gordy Ruchti) are doing some cool research that may result in further studies. I suspect Bryan will do his usually sterling job on a study on the role of unions and collective bargaining in higher edcuation. The updating and revision of our web site, which has lagged behind expectations, should become a priority. We hope to have conferences at the American Enterprise Institute both on endowments and, likely, for profit education. I will be speaking literally coast to coast on higher education issues. In short, as we mature, our output expands and we hope to be a positive form in making higher education better and more efficient.