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What's Happening to Public Higher Education?

, 408 pages

60 line drawings

December 2007



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What's Happening to Public Higher Education?

The Shifting Financial Burden

Winner, H. S. Warwick Award for Outstanding Public Scholarship, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

American public higher education appears to be in a state of crisis. Declining funding for public colleges and universities has led to declining faculty salaries relative to those of private institutions and to increasing tuition, threatening access and compromising quality. Ronald G. Ehrenberg and a team of experts examine the current state of public higher education, the public policies that shape it, and what the future may hold for institutions and their students, faculty, and administrators.

Sounding a warning about the declining condition of public higher education, Ehrenberg and his contributors make a compelling case for increasing support for these institutions. An overview of national trends and the forces that drive them is followed by studies of the financial complexities found in representative states (California, Georgia, and Texas, among others), an analysis of the implications of these developments, and prescriptions for improving public higher education at the state and national levels.

In concluding chapters, contributors provide valuable assessments of the critical issues and their practical implications—from state policy initiatives to the privatization of public universities.

Ronald G. Ehrenberg is the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

"This book provides good discussions of important trends and issues with respect to the financing of public higher education in the United States."

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