Berkeley and the public Ivies: Five lingering questions

An article in Monday’s Washington Post about the plight of the University of California at Berkeley and other “public Ivies” drew more than 1,400 reader comments, writes columnist Daniel de Vise. Here is my attempt to answer five of the most interesting questions. If my answers spark more questions, please post them in the comments section below.

1. Has Berkeley become a rich-kid school? Several commenters mentioned that the tuition squeeze at places such as Berkeley has effectively gentrified the schools, filling them with wealthy students. Here are some statistics provided by Berkeley that represent incoming freshmen…

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Opinion: Can the public Ivies be saved?

Higher education leaders have dreamed up two big, radical ideas that could potentially rescue the nation’s top public universities from the brink of fiscal oblivion, says Daniel de Vise, columnist for the Washington Post reports. Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, thinks they probably won’t work. First, a bit of context: I spoke to her Tuesday about her open letter to President Obama, in which she thanks the president for calling an unusual White House meeting this month to discuss affordability in higher education—and she asks him to take the lead in the battle to keep her own university, and others, affordable.

“The onus is now on all of us—elected officials, university presidents, business leaders, philanthropists and parents—to collaborate on effective answers,” she wrote. It seemed a polite way of saying that the onus is on him. Coleman wants the president to take a leadership role “in elevating the issue and stimulating the conversation” about keeping college affordable—especially public colleges, and particularly for the students who can least afford to attend…

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