Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"What is the actual state of the U? Fairly typical, extremely dire, in need of change, not without hope."

Robert Katz of the U library writes in MinnPost:

On March 1 the president of the University of Minnesota gave a superlative-saturated State of the University Address. The university described in this speech is not the one I am familiar with. My own perception is that the U is a pretty average large public university. I do not see mediocrity in itself as a bad thing. Most of the people I know are quite average. And most of the things that make our society possible are produced by normal people. By its very nature being average is, well, average.

But, given the dysfunctional state of the “higher education industry” as a whole, a typical university ruins the lives of many of its students, and threatens the economic well-being of the entire nation. The cost of higher education has long been increasing much faster than our ability to afford it. Last year saw a new record in the number of defaulted student loans. The current amount of government-backed student loans exceeds $1.3 trillion. Much of this debt will not be repaid, but will add to the looming federal debt crisis. In 2011 the Wall Street Journal printed a story that identified the growth in administrative costs as the major source of this problem. The article identified the U as a prime example of this trend: It added 1,000 administrators in 10 years. The level of administrative costs is one area where the U cannot afford to be average.

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