More Books, Books, Books

Buster graduated from college last month, and overall I am happy with his school experience, but I can’t say I was happy with the yearly 4% increase in tuition. No matter how much the president of the university claimed to be “working hard” to cut costs, we could depend on a 4-5% increase every single year. We might not have been getting pay raises, but someone was.

In his column today, George Will explains a little about that, and he does it via Glenn Harlan Reynolds of Instapundit, and his look at The Higher Education Bubble:

Reynolds writes that this bubble exists for the same reasons the housing bubble did. The government decided that too few people owned homes/went to college, so government money was poured into subsidized and sometimes subprime mortgages/student loans, with the predictable result that housing prices/college tuitions soared and many borrowers went bust. Tuitions and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years as schools happily raised prices — and lowered standards — to siphon up federal money. A recent Wall Street Journal headline: “Student Debt Rises by 8% as College Tuitions Climb.”

Will will have you shaking your head as he discusses the intellectual wasteland some universities have become, more concerned with social engineering and political indoctrination than, um, hard sciences. You’ll want to read it all.

Speaking of books, I really want to find time to read Austen Ivereigh’s How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot-Button Issues. I took a peek at it last night and was impressed with Ivereigh’s balanced tone and the way he begins each chapter by going straight to the “challenging questions” we Catholics are asked, provides background and “answering” information in focused exposition and then recaps the “key messages” that need to be emphasized. Ivereigh is a great writer and as the issue of religious freedom remains so much to the fore here in America (who ever thought I’d be writing that sentence) I think Ivereigh’s book could not be more timely, or useful.

Then again, there is always Father Pontifex.

Dawn Eden’s My Peace I Give You; Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints — useful in a completely different way. Meant for those struggling with the lifelong affects of sexual abuse, Eden takes the unique tack of bringing the saints into the effort, which is downright inspired. The book could be a life-changer for some.

You can read Dawn’s interview with Mary DeTurris Poust of OSV, here

Meanwhile, the reissue of Sigrid Undset’s Stages on the Road is finally released. I wrote about it here, and highly recommend it.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Dan C

    I call “foul!”

    Not that the rising cost of college education needs examination and reigns, but about “the diversity industry” in college.

    What happens is with certain writers is kind of a cognitive relfexive event-Will types “college” and then the hate he spews about diversity springs to mind. So, in a column that could have been spent on interesting analysis of college costs, or student debt (separate problems), he wanders to weave a pretty (but fictional) story suggesting that a “diversity industry” is the source of college cost problems.


    “Diversity”- and again why conservatives need to reflexively attack minorities and their programs is a bit of moral concern to me- is to college costs as “ear marks” are to federal debt. Fascinating distractions each.

    I wonder why Will, a sports fan, did not attack the insanity that is the college sports industry? I claim that is a “good money after bad” phenomenon. Why not attack Intellectual property contracts or media contracts for the academic superstars that are far too generous (as a copyright holder himself, perhaps this is hitting close to home)?

    What about the elaborate luxury level entertainment and housing provided the students who really are adults? If born into another economic situation, they may have been parents already or in boot camp. Why sustain them in a coddled lifestyle at the expense of scholarship money and debt?

    I have much to quibble about student educational costs. I would say that a 4-5% increase is likely related to already contractually obligated COLA on the part of employees. Education is a service industry, as such, it is bound to the employment market for these professionals.

    Much to discuss in terms of the cost of college education, but Will generates conservative propaganda that will do nothing to advance the discussion.


  • David A

    All good, and Undset is extraordinary.

  • Will

    It is easy to find bad things to say about colleges, as Mr. Will does.

    Colleges have issues that need to be dealt with. They are not the evil that Mr. Will or others seek to make them.

  • SKay

    Thank you for the post, Anchoress. My daughter and son-in-law will be dealing with the college tuition situation(and what you will actually be paying for) in a couple of years so the Will column and the Renolds book should be of interest to them.

    I thought George Will made some excellent points. It would be funny if it were not so sad.
    I would agree with you, Dan C. about the big business of college sports–and trust me–it is big business in my state. Of course–on your point about minorities–a lot of minorities do get football, basketball,track,baseball etc. scholarships.

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