We can be remarkably twofaced as a nation when it comes to our higher education system. One day it’s the greatest in the world and the next it fails to meet students’ and employers’ needs and is a financial ripoff. It gets exhausting to keep track of whether we’re really good or really bad at all of this. Mark Twain once said we shouldn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. There are a number of things about college that pundits and policymakers know but won’t discuss or even address, be it to protect their political stance
1. Public higher education isn’t really cheaper or better-performing than private higher education There’s how much something costs to make and how much people have to pay for it. Public colleges seem like cheaper alternatives to private nonprofit and forprofit education but that’s only because taxpayers, depending on which state you’re from and which institution you attend, foot between 30 and 70 percent of the cost. Take that subsidy away and students at, say, the University of Georgia or Montana State University would be paying and likely borrowing one and a half to twice as much as they do now.