You get what you pay for

Higher education should be a public good, not a private commodity

Lynn Pasquerella is president of the Association of American College and Universities, a philosopher and host of Northeast Public Radio’s “The Academic Minute.”

The ideal of higher education as a public good — once inextricably linked to the American Dream — has been all but abandoned in favor of the college degree as a private commodity. The narrow focus on earning power, coinciding with demographic shifts in the number and diversity of college students, has fueled the understanding of college as a purely private benefit rather than a good for all.

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