It’s time to rethink incentives for higher ed
Sep 2023

It’s time to rethink incentives for higher ed

By Scott Pulsipher, Contributor and Michael Horn

Many institutions compete on superficial metrics that boost reputations that have little to do with how well they deliver value to students.

In recent months, discussions on the escalating cost of college — and subsequent debt passed onto students and taxpayers — have illuminated an affordability crisis that is hindering the ability of individuals to get ahead in life. Paired with underwhelming and uneven student outcomes, the reality is that colleges in America have a spending problem. Only by increasing affordability and value for students can we reinvigorate the promise of higher education for all.

Higher education has long been on an unsustainable cost trajectory. Since 1970, spending from public colleges and universities rose from nearly $104 billion in today’s dollars to $420 billion by 2020. Altogether, post-secondary institutions now spend more than $670 billion per year — and for what?

Completion rates remain stagnant, significant equity gaps persist, and nearly one-third of all institutions leave their students with zero economic return after accounting for the cost of attendance, according to the Postsecondary Value Commission.


Leave a reply