September 1, 2009 9:53AM

Lots of Higher Ed Stuff

Probably because it’s back‐​to‐​school time, there are lots of interesting higher education related items worth checking out today. Here are a few:

  1. I have a new op‐​ed on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsbility Act, the bill that we’re told will save taxpayer money but will almost certainly cost us tens of billions. Meanwhile, the Associated Press published a big article on “spin” about the legislation that ignores supporters’ extremely dubious assertions about SAFRA’s true costs — the AP repeats the supposed savings line without question — but instead focuses on whether Pell Grant increases will be as large as some people hope .
  2. Over at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, they’re running a three‐​part series that’s really a lengthy email exchange among numerous experts, including myself, on controlling college costs. The central question is whether more government “transparency” requirements hold the key to containing skyrocketing college prices, or whether what we really need is to cut third‐​party payments. I think I’ve made it clear where I stand, but if you’re not sure (or even for some reason want other opinions) definitely take in the Pope series. Also, mark your calendars for a debate we’ll be having on this subject right here at Cato on October 6!
  3. William McGurn has an excellent commentary in the Wall Street Journal explaining that — shocker! — you can make a very good living without getting a college degree.
  4. I haven’t read it yet but have seen a summary, and if the summary is accurate a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that colleges and universities contribute no more to their local economies than “other forms of economic activity.” This puts another serious hole in the highly suspect argument that more public money for higher education is good because enriching colleges is better for everyone.

And that’s the ivy‐​ensconsed news for today!