Office of Planning and Budgeting

Is Higher Education the Next Bubble?

As we continue to experience a very slow recovery from a deep recession, the ideas of long-time critics of modern, inclusive American higher education who question the value of college for many have gained traction and blossomed into widespread public speculation about whether undergraduate education might be the next economic bubble to threaten the US economy. We explore this topic in the latest OPB brief and hold that, in the context of data, the ‘bubble’ metaphor, though effective at capturing public attention in an economic climate characterized by fear and uncertainty, is ultimately inaccurate, misleading, and harmful.

We would love to hear your feedback on this topic!

Comments

One Response to “Is Higher Education the Next Bubble?”

  1. Jonathan Bowers on November 4th, 2011 9:24 pm

    This left me with a few thoughts.

    1. Even though this article was well written, easy to understand, and very informative, I wonder how much tuition funded this write up. I have no beef with the OPB but I want to be sure my dollars are being well spent and I am not saying that this is a bad use of funds, but I am not convinced that it is a good one. Its not meant to be an attack on the department, but I would like to know how much of my money is being spent on these reports.

    2. As you acknowledge rising tuition is a problem, and is increasing debt burdens. I would like to know more about how UW compares with other public Universities, as opposed to the public/private divide. (yes, I realize that this completely undermines my first point.)

    3. This has less to do with the article, though the info did float this to the surface of my brain. I receive only Pell Grants and Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized). With the way the tuition model is currently set up, part of my tuition goes to financial aid for other students. This means that a chunk of the money I am borrowing, and paying interest on, is not going to my tuition but to the tuition of other students. As someone who makes $12,500 a year, and is taking on nearly $15,000 dollars in debt a year I find it fairly disturbing that I am taking on a loan, and paying interest on someone else’s tuition. Is this something you could provide me with more information about?

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