Even so, American higher education remains the envy of the world. But that respect really only extends to a few hundred universities at the most. At too many colleges attended by the vast majority of American students, costs are spiraling out of control and quality is declining. And the very worst of the institutions suffer from low graduation rates, high debt loads for students, and poor placement rates into jobs.
Last week, on a panel I moderated about the future of higher education at a conference in Nashville, Tom Angelo, an expert in teaching and learning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called these bottom-feeder institutions a “cancer on American higher education.” In most markets, such bad players would simply go away, driven out by more-efficient and less-expensive options.