On Campus

Increasing PSE costs and public opinion

The California-based National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education recently carried out a survey to gauge public attitudes toward the costs of post-secondary education in the U.S. The report highlights public skepticism of the post-secondary sector in light of increased costs and the perceived decrease in accessibility. The authors note the following about the potential implications of rising costs for institutional autonomy:

The findings reveal a chipping away of public support for higher education and a growing suspicion about how well colleges and universities use the money they have. This coincides with another development: more state and national policymakers are demanding “greater accountability” and some have called for increased regulation. The first question higher education leadership might well ask is whether public anxiety and skepticism will trigger greater support for more aggressive regulation. A second question might be whether higher education would be well-advised to address public concerns before government becomes even more involved in shaping its future.