Friday, August 26, 2016

Crowdsourcing Austerity - Geoff Shullenberger, Jacobin Magazine

The Affordability Steering Committee’s website announces: “The challenge: let’s make a difference in the trajectory of college costs at NYU.” It lists a number of ways for visitors to contribute their ideas, but offers no explanation of how NYU arrived here in the first place. Instead, the program proceeds from the implicit premise that the ballooning cost of attendance has no clear origin — that it is a “wicked problem” the community must come together to solve. In reality, the factors driving tuition and attendant costs higher may be complex, but they aren’t totally mysterious. The available evidence suggests that skyrocketing tuition, especially at private universities like NYU, has a simple yet circular explanation: colleges charge a lot of money to convince their potential “customers” that the education they provide is worth a lot of money.

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