A few weeks ago, we decided to stir the pot on the recent controversy over the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education. We took a more netural approach this week and brought in a guest who has been covering higher education policy for a while now to tell us more about what the future of higher education looks lke.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is the No. 1 source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators. This week, we host Eric Kelderman, Senior Reporter, who has been with The Chronicle since 2008. Eric's recent article, What DeVos's Singular Focus on School Choice Could Mean for Higher-Ed Policy, dives deep into all sides of this policy and the limits is imposes along with the doors that it opens.
About Our Guest - Eric Kelderman, Senior Reporter, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Eric Kelderman, a staff reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, covers state policy, the future of public higher education and accreditation, and occasionally legal issues and music. Kelderman joined The Chronicle in 2008 from Stateline.org, a project of the Pew Research Center on the States.
He has also covered education and state politics for The Gazette newspapers in Montgomery County, Md. In 2010, Eric was part of a team of Chronicle reporters that won first prize from the Education Writers Association for their articles.
Eric holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park; a master’s degree in music theory and composition from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; and a bachelor’s degree in music from Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa.
Experience Covering State Policy for The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education is a fairly robust news organization that aims to be informative about the industry of higher education. Eric finds value in the overview of the challenges that colleges and universities face across the nation in addition to the various ways that state policymakers try to address those challenges.
Higher education is receiving less money from tax dollars and more money from student’s tuition. Because of this, lawmakers and campus leaders are struggling to find a way to educate a growing number of students for less cost overall. This is why things like performance-based funding and free community college tuition in certain states are in place.
Is Free State Tuition Possible?
A number of states have found ways to make free tuition possible. Eric has found Tennessee to have a unique and financially viable approach to this. Tennessee has a state lottery and money from this is allocated to a endowment provided for community college tuition.
Eric refers to this as a “last dollar approach,” meaning that kids sign up for the FASFA and the state will cover whatever the FASFA doesn’t. The average cost per student for the state is about $1,000 and the state isn’t using any tax dollars.
What Does School Choice Mean for Higher Education?
It's important to note the distinction between higher education and elementary and secondary schools along with their policy differences. Higher education is already an open market and students aren’t bound to a certain spot. Geography plays a major role when a student is determining where to go to school and most undergrads attend college within a reasonable distance from home.
The number of high school graduates that will be seeking a two year degree or certificate looks to be increasing in order to improve their job prospects or to seek out a career. This doesn’t mean less students will be getting a four year degree. After all, half of current college students are enrolled in a community college.
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