Issues in Higher Education

October 26, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 38
Should universities focus more on job training?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

Students advocate for free public college (Cover: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Cem Ozdel)
Students advocate for free public college during a November 2015 demonstration at Hunter College in New York City. As tuition and student debt have risen over the past decade, a partisan divide about higher education has widened. Many liberals favor increased access to college, and many conservatives want universities to focus more on job training and demonstrate more openness to conservative ideas on campus. (Cover: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Cem Ozdel)

Cuts in state higher-education funding have led public colleges and universities to sharply raise tuition and fees, which in turn has helped push student debt to more than $1.5 trillion and put college out of reach for millions. As costs have risen, higher education has increasingly become an ideological battleground, with liberals charging that government is not doing enough to help young people attain a degree and conservatives arguing that colleges should do more to provide students with practical job skills. Against that backdrop are bitter disagreements over free-speech rights on campus and disputes over college admission standards. The outcome of some of the controversies hinges on the ballot box, with some liberal politicians calling for “free” taxpayer-funded tuition and conservatives demanding that schools focus more on skills-based training. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is easing rules on for-profit colleges, stirring new concerns that students could be hurt if such schools fail to deliver a quality education.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Colleges and Universities
Oct. 26, 2018  Issues in Higher Education
Nov. 20, 2015  Greek Life on Campus
May 08, 2015  Free Speech on Campus
May 01, 2015  Community Colleges
Jan. 02, 2015  College Rankings
Jan. 18, 2013  Future of Public Universities
Feb. 04, 2011  Crime on Campus
Jan. 07, 2011  Career Colleges
Dec. 12, 2003  Black Colleges
Apr. 21, 2000  Community Colleges
Feb. 16, 1996  Academic Politics
Jan. 05, 1990  What Should College Students Be Taught?
Jul. 27, 1984  Colleges in the 1980s
Jan. 23, 1981  Plight of America's Black Colleges
Apr. 11, 1980  College Admissions
Sep. 06, 1974  College Recruiting
Mar. 01, 1974  Academic Tenure
Sep. 14, 1966  Graduate School Crush
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Affirmative Action
Bankruptcy
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Civil Rights Movement
College Financing and Funding
Conservatism and Liberalism
Consumer Behavior
Cost of Education and School Funding
Data and Statistics
Diversity Issues
Education Policy
General Employment and Labor
Party Politics
Party Politics
Student Movements
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Vocational and Adult Education