When we talk about the future of higher education in the United States, let’s please focus our attention on where most higher ed happens, Slate suggests. It’s not in Cambridge or South Bend or Ann Arbor. It’s in Kirksville, Mo.; Emporia, Kan.; Lafayette, La.; and Bridgewater, Mass.
The majority of undergraduates in the United States get their bachelor’s degrees at regional state institutions, not research-intensive doctoral institutions or small liberal arts colleges. Regional public universities serve commuter students who work, part time or full time, who drive or take the bus from their homes in the region, and who will stay in the region after they graduate. They’re not the Division I football schools, and their faculty members don’t do Nobel Prize-winning research. They may not be what you think of when you think of college in the United States, but they are where most Americans get their degrees (usually five or six or more years after they enroll).