Richard Vedder and the Future of Higher Education Reform

Richard Vedder provides compelling reasons for rethinking the traditional, stale logic behind public support of higher education. The system of subsidization through third-party payers has made education less affordable and in many ways less desirable. Costs are rising, quality is stagnating, and the traditional higher education system has attained a position that is too often secure from challenge and contestation.

Vedder’s work suggests that many of the decisions that university faculty and administrators make on a daily basis may harm the students they purport to help. The growth of administrative bureaucracy, third-party payments through subsidies and loans, and discretionary faculty governance all serve to drive up costs for the consumers of higher education and insulate the providers of higher education from the discipline of the market. Further, the system of subsidies that supports higher education—including private and publicly financed loans to students—makes it more difficult for alternative systems for the production of education and scientific knowledge to compete.

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