Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Dialogue on College Affordability This Morning

By Richard Vedder

At 11:00 EDT a potentially interesting hour long dialogue on college costs and affordability will take place on the Diane Rehm show, a nationally syndicated radio presentation of National Public Radio. Appearing will be INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION co-editor Scott Jaschik, the executive vice president of the American Council of Education, Terry Hartle, and, last and, perhaps least --me.

Is the soaring cost of college a function of inadequate public funding --an argument I expect Dr. Hartle to make in his usual articulate and almost convincing way. Let us expand Pell Grants further, reform state financing systems to allow continued growth in higher education funding, etc., etc. Or, as I maintain, are rising costs inherent in the nature of the higher education delivery system based on third party payments, non-profit providers, a lack of a bottom line to measure performance, and other consideration of that nature?

I expect the discussion will be civilized, interesting, and sometimes provocative. Host Steve Roberts (Diane Rehm is literally moving houses today, I understand) is a veteran journalist as is Scott Jaschik, and I understand at least one community college prez will be weighing in. Should be fun and informative. Go to NPR later this morning.

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