Study finds public discontent with colleges

A new study suggests most Americans believe that colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students, reports the New York Times. The proportion of people who hold that view has increased to 60 percent, from 52 percent in 2007. And nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said colleges should use federal stimulus money to hold down tuition, even if it means less money for operations and programs. The study, a joint project of Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, also found that most Americans believe colleges could admit a lot more students without lowering their quality or raising prices, and that colleges could spend less and maintain a high quality of education. “One of the really disturbing things about this, for those of us who work in higher education,” said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, “is the vote of no confidence we’re getting from the public. They think college is important, but they’re really losing trust in the management and leadership.”

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