For those of you that regularly read my blog, you’re probably aware of my consternation with the cost/value of a college education. You can read previous postings here and here… An interesting article in Washington Monthly provides additional insights into educational costs:
Colleges are perfectly capable of becoming more efficient and productive, in the same way that countless other industries have: through technology… Instead, colleges are pocketing the difference, even as they continue to jack up tuition bills.
…colleges are, at their core, status-seeking institutions… But status in higher education isn’t based on comparable measures of student learning, because such measures aren’t publicly available. Since it’s effectively impossible to judge institutions by their outputs—that is, by how much students learn—the pecking order in higher education tends to be based on measures of inputs, like the SAT scores of incoming freshmen or the cost of a year’s tuition. As a result, price has become a symbol of quality instead of a component of quality. Colleges have many incentives to raise prices and none to lower them.
If colleges competed on value—student learning outcomes divided by price—then they could get ahead by increasing the quality of education or cutting price