Introduction: The American Higher Education Problem

  • Richard Vedder


If Winston Churchill was alive and summarizing American higher education today, he might say “Never have so many spent so much for so long learning so little.” American higher education is increasingly expensive, with the typical student receiving undetermined, but probably not overly large, amounts of learning over long time periods. Yet there is a certain bi-polarity to discussions of the higher education enterprise in America. American university presidents and their trade association leaders are continually proclaiming that “the American system of higher education is the best in the world,” and they cite high rankings of prestigious U.S. schools in worldwide league tables (to use the British term) calculated by college ranking organizations in Shanghai and London. Sure, American colleges are expensive, but quality is always expensive, and the fact that private firms competing in labor markets for workers pay large premiums for college graduates is pretty conclusive evidence that American universities add enormously to our stock of human capital and promote economic growth, or so many university leaders argue.


High Education Price Discrimination American High Education Intercollegiate Athletic Distributional Coalition 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for College Affordability and Ohio UniversityAthensUSA

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