The higher-ed book quoted around the state


Looks like DFLers and higher-ed executives are reading from the same book in this week’s higher-ed budget debates.

Just yesterday Macalester President Brian Rosenberg,  Rep. Terry Morrow (DLF-St. Peter) and Rep. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) all quoted concepts espoused by Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, the authors of


the recently published book Why Does College Cost So Much?

Morrow told fellow representatives that they should put college cost increases into perspective — that they were simply examples of the unavoidable “cost disease” phenomenon that affects professional service industries such as dentistry, medicine and law.

Rosenberg brought up essentially the same argument in this essay in The Huffington Post on why college costs so much:

… Higher education and the provision of dental services share at least three important characteristics that impact cost: both rely heavily on highly educated workers; both rely heavily on close interaction between “providers” and “customers”; and both have been made better, but not cheaper, by technology. Not surprisingly, college prices and the cost of dental care have risen at a virtually identical rate, and have followed a virtually identical pattern, over the past half-century. Basically, the costs of both have been driven upward by the rapidly rising cost of hiring educated workers and by the tendency of technology to improve quality but not reduce costs. Root canals hurt a heck of a lot less than they did thirty years ago, but they are a whole lot more expensive.


And Pappas also told the Senate they could essentially have two out of three things in higher education — lower state spending, lower tuition or high-quality education — but not all three, a principle Archibald mentioned in a New York Times interview.

These are all things I’ve posted about, so check out the links to gain some insights.