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Bill Maher vs. higher ed | Bryan Alexander - 0 views

  • First, Maher gets certain things wrong, and many people share those errors, so addressing them might be beneficial. Second, several of his criticisms point to more broadly held American attitudes.  Better understanding them can help higher ed as it tries to navigate an increasingly challenging battle for public support.
  • Accurately, he points out that published prices have risen faster than inflation for a generation. However, setting aside the reasons for that inflation, this misses two key points. First, the tuition amounts cited are published prices, not what institutions actually charge most students.  Widespread tuition discounting means only the richest tend to pay full price, which subsidizes everyone else, who pay less.
  • ignoring the wide range of low cost colleges and universities
  • ...7 more annotations...
  • Maher gets some points dead right, like the general – and especially Democratic – idea that everyone should get some post-secondary schooling.  This is still the default American idea, with persistent popularity.
  • not all of higher ed is about those teenagers, and it’s a mistake to assume it is
  • Ignoring these swarms of campuses with low (sticker!) prices in favor of complaining about the most expensive slice of American academia is, alas, a popular mistake.
  • He wants the college and university sector to shrink back in size and influence.  He advises an end to college for all, wanting instead college for even fewer.
  • Maher reminds us of the power of economic populism, and not just in the ways Trump mobilized it. Academia’s sometimes intention of mitigating inequality runs smack into our role in making inequality happen
  • to whatever extent Bill Maher is representative, the public has woeful gaps in its understanding of how higher ed works.  Our elite institutions stand in for the entire sector too often. Our high tuition, high discount strategy just looks like very high tuition.  Adult learners are nowhere near visible enough.
  • the cost of today’s education is likely to be somewhat higher than what I paid 30 years ago, but the price is definitely dramatically higher because today’s students aren’t enjoying the taxpayer support that I did. The price went up for sure. How much the cost went up is less clear
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