Skip to comments.Too Many of America’s Elite Colleges Offer Empty Promises, Study Shows
Posted on 01/28/2014 3:14:22 PM PST by servo1969
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today released a report that finds the countrys most prestigious liberal arts colleges fail to live up to their reputations in several crucial areas of academic quality and campus management. Many have failed to restrain administrative bloat and high spending, few provide a solid foundation of core courses, and most severely restrict free speech on campus. And all the while, Great Recession notwithstanding, the sticker price of tuition has continued to climb sharply upward.
The report, Education or Reputation?: A Look at America's Top-Ranked Liberal Arts Colleges, examined 29 institutionsnationally ranked as the top liberal arts institutions in the nationin areas including educational quality, tuition trends, spending patterns, endowment and speech codes.
Among the findings:
Despite the fact that the average endowment of these schools is almost $1 billion, elite colleges raised tuition and fees 6.2% to 17.1% above inflation over the last few years, a time when many families were cutting back on expenses. Eleven of these institutions paid their presidents base salaries of $400,000 or more to run colleges that typically have fewer than 2,000 students. These presidents are paid as well asor better thanthe leader of the free world, President Barack Obama. Not a single institution except for the military academies requires a foundational, college-level course in American history or government. Only two require an economics course; only five require a literature course. Students who graduate with debt start their lives with an average debt between $12,749 and $26,567. Instead of cutting costs to lower tuition and help students graduate without crippling debt, half of the institutions allowed administrative spending to grow faster than instructional spending. All 29 institutions have speech code policies leaving students with less freedom than they would have in a grocery store or public park.
The sense of entitlement coming from the administrations of the top liberal arts colleges in the country is astounding, said Anne D. Neal, ACTA president. For the price theyre charging, institutions shouldat the very leastprovide a solid foundation and the opportunity for intellectual growth that comes from the free and vigorous exchange of ideas. Instead, our report finds that too many of our elite liberal arts schools are living off their reputation and offering little more than empty promises.
How disheartening that students can graduate from some of Americas most prestigious institutions without taking a course as essential as American history, economics or literature, said Michael Poliakoff, ACTA vice president of policy. Students and their parents are often paying a quarter million dollars for an education that ill prepares them for the challenges of career, community, and citizenship. These well-funded institutions could do so much better for the students who attend them.
The report also offers concrete recommendations, including combating grade inflation, implementing a foundational core curriculum that employers and the American people prefer, and utilizing buildings more effectively to cut costs.
Education or Reputation? is the first of two reports examining the top colleges in the country. A second report on the top public universities will be released this year.
2 MB / 56 pages
Lickable clinks never seem to work on initial post.
A couple of years ago UCLA blew up its English major. Students used to have to know Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton. Now, they can make do with race, ethnicity, sex, “postcolonial” and other non-disciplines. A degree like that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, much less the extortionate tuition universities charge today.
The value of “elite” colleges is not their education but their ability to form social networks and thus form a ruling elite.
So in all of upper academia, our constitutional heritage depends on a single three hour class taught to less than a few thousand young people per year? Good grief.
You are responsible for your own education, not the college. Education is what you make of it.
“How disheartening that students can graduate from some of Americas most prestigious institutions without taking a course as essential as American history, economics or literature,
There was actually a time when a liberal arts education would teach a student weird things like how to express himself in his native language (written or spoken), logic and reasoning, some grounding in philosophy, the great works of Western and other civilizations, and even a few historical examples of why some of things worked or didn’t. Then came the Marxists ...
Yet despite the importance of the free exchange of ideas to a robust liberal arts education, our findings show that free speech is unwelcome on these college campuses. Rather than fostering the free exchange of ideas, these liberal arts colleges shut it down. Many colleges and universities maintain broad policies that punish so-called offensive speech or restrict expression to designated free speech zones. A close review by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has found that even the most vocal supporters of the liberal arts are failing to protect legitimate expression and free speech and are actively discouraging a robust exchange of ideas.
FIRE examines speech codes and assigns a red light, yellow light, or green light rating to indicate whether a given school protects or restricts freedom of expression. Every one of the institutions in this study that has been reviewed by FIRE has restrictive policies in place: as the following chart indicates, 11 earned yellow light warnings for jeopardizing or excessively regulating protected speech, while 14 have imposed clear and substantial restrictions of free speech
Of the colleges and universities in this report, not a single one merited the Foundation for Individual Rights in Educations green light rating, meaning no interference with freedom of speech and expression
Emphasis in the document and not added.
What is this author complaining about? Students can ALWAYS take revisionist history, Marxian economics and lesbian literature! So there!!! /sarcasm;)
Well waddya expect?
The hippies are in charge!
English majors have given way to “Queer Theory,” whatever anarchy that is.
I don’t know, either, but it sounds like something Ward Churchill might have gotten into had it been around in his day.
I would add Liberty University to any list of great institutions of learning!!!
We studied Chaucer and Shakespeare and Milton in public high school. We also read Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner and had to recite portions of it from memory, we read Jack London and many others I can scarcely recall, we studied the poetry of Lord Byron and others. We probably studied more classic literature than would be required for a master’s these days.
I never imagined when I finished high school that I would live to see young people who had finished college with a major in history yet knew less than I did about history. I certainly never imagined that I would live to see supposedly educated people using terms like “fifty thousand times smaller” or “three hundred percent less”, my grade school teachers would have been certain that I had lost my mind if I had been heard using such absurd terms.
My seventh grade teacher used to tell the class that one day a person would need a high school diploma to sweep the floor. Of course she thought that would be because everyone would have much more education so naturally only those with college degrees would be able to get a job worth having. She never would have imagined that the real reason would be that a high school graduate would have less actual education than a fourth grader had in her day.
Well said. Every now and then someone publishes a history test from back in the 30’s or 40’s and they really drive home that high school students back then knew a heck of lot more than most college graduates today.