US President Biden has proposed a $109 billion, 10-year American Families Plan that seeks to build an economy that does more for working people and less for people who live on the returns from their investments. One part of the plan would fund free 2-year community college tuition for all students. In response, a recent article in The New York Times sets out to answer the question, “Does Free College Work?”
It’s a very American question, by the way, because our friends in Europe and other regions have been receiving largely free higher education for decades. Setting that aside, the article is worth reading for two reasons.Read more
Owing to a quirk of history, many of the nation’s liberal arts colleges are located in small towns and rural areas. Many of these schools were founded in the nineteenth century as denominational colleges, when a college education was as much about teaching religious devotion, morality and good character. The belief among their founders was that this education could not happen if the college were located in proximity to the vices and temptations of the city.
By the 1920s, the United States was a majority urban-dwelling nation. At the same time, early twentieth century philanthropies, as a condition for their support, insisted that institutions be ecumenical and open to science, rather than denominational in outlook. The Rockefeller and Carnegie organizations, especially, worked to secularize American higher education. Thus by the early twentieth century, many of these denominational schools were losing enrollment, as well as their reason-for-being. To survive, these small rural colleges were forced to reinvent themselves.Read more