It's long been a theme of mine that institutions of higher education ought think of themselves as in the same business as the Ivies and the hundred other institutions all claiming to be in the top twenty according to whatever rankings are popular at the time. I'm not alone in this: there's a term of art, Spielberg Effect, referring to accomplished graduates of less-highly-regarded institutions who qualified for admission to the high-status institutions yet didn't attend.There's even better news when it comes to students graduating with the STEM degrees that seem to be of particular interest these days.
STEM majors who go to inexpensive low-or-mid-tier schools do just as well, income-wise, as their counterparts who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an Ivy League education, suggests that there is plenty of room for cost-saving in these programs.Perhaps cost saving relative to the Ivies. Or perhaps we're seeing evidence that the Ivies' high price is underwriting the world-class research, while the teaching fellows and contingent faculty are actually doing the teaching.
Or perhaps the land-grants and mid-majors aren't exploiting their advantages fully. "At a time when college costs keep going up, and middle and working class families keep getting squeezed, these data highlight the need to find more efficient ways to deliver knowledge at lower cost."
Dean Dad speaks to the same responsibility, for a different reason.
Talented students often stay close to home, and restrict their college choices to places nearby. And that’s not because they don’t know any better. It’s because they want to. Believe it or not, people consider factors beyond what shows up in scorecards. Family obligations, regional tastes, and a sense of being at home matter.Yes, and developing local human capital has potential.
Community colleges are increasingly countercultural in a geographic sense. As Richard Florida likes to point out, the geographic distribution of wealth and opportunity is becoming increasingly spiky. But community colleges’ distribution is flat. They’re built on the assumption that the Batavias of the world matter.Yes. I have to repeat myself. But repeat I must.
They do. Students know that; they’re telling us with their feet. I hope policymakers figure that out before they do even more damage.
"What matters, though, to the citizens of Wisconsin is that Milwaukee, despite having neither high-visibility football nor royalties from rat poison, now has more Wisconsin residents enrolled than Madison, and Milwaukee's part of the social contract is to make sure that its brainiacs and strivers get the intellectual challenge they might have hoped to get at Madison, had Madison provided a slot for them. The incentive to the former teachers' colleges ought to be to lift their academic profiles as well." Yeah, I've used that quote several times before, but in the words of the Distinguished Professor, even the brightest among you could benefit from a modicum of repetition.If I have to run it again tomorrow, or next week, or for as long as there are conscious thoughts in my brain, I will.