Regardless of your opinion of political activist Tom Hayden, he deserves credit for continuing the conversation the rising cost of higher education. Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Hayden offers some thoughts about how the cost of higher education has forced students to rethink activism and administrators to pursue privatization in an effort to keep costs down.
Hayden notes that nearly-free higher education is available at many of the world’s finest institutions, yet costs for American public institutions have risen dramatically as privatization is encouraged. Students today often hold two or three jobs just to cover tuition, leaving little time for activism while on campus. Graduating with thousands of dollars of debt, students often feel limited in their career options. Low-paying social service jobs are just not an option for many new graduates.
The big question, Hayden wonders, is why politicians remain silent on this issue. Is it because universities are easy targets during state budget deliberations and students and faculty are not heavy-hitting political contributors? Or is it because campus stakeholders have not come together to present a unified voice for change?