Viewed from a traditional perspective, higher education gives people both new skills and enlightenment, making it indispensable to economic growth and personal fulfillment. But is that what we are getting? Viewed from other perspectives, we may not be: The Ivory Tower, it seems, is often weighed down by waste and excess, such as gold-plated sports programs, and highly compensated, yet inaccessible, faculty whose jobs are set in tenure stone. And tuition costs find new stratospheric highs every year.
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is a former president of the George Washington University. He discussed higher education productivity at the Cato Institute on November 18, 2011.