Higher education policy was not amid the many media-friendly issues surrounding the election, but it's a sterling opportunity for the administration to make its mark, Kevin Carey argued this week in The Chronicle. The Obama administration has done solid work on higher education already by changing the way the federal government subsidizes student loans, but the administration's second term is a great chance to answer foundational questions about the efficacy of higher education, collect and publish information about post-college experiences, expand the very definition of what higher education means, and pay closer attention to some poor state decisionmaking:
State lawmakers have learned all the wrong lessons from the recession: Slash funding to the bone, let colleges make up the difference with tuition hikes and service cuts, and—look!—the colleges and universities are still there, seemingly no worse for wear. The deep human cost of state disinvestment is all below the surface and in the future, in the form of depleted savings, defaulted loans, diminished scholarship, and debased academic standards. The federal government needs to begin rendering harsh judgment on such conduct.
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