Costs of Higher Education Conference

February 9 and 10, 2018; March 4 and 5, 2016

In spring 2016, the Center hosted an invited conference in which participants were asked to think about the following questions:

  • What constitutes a quality public college education?
  • How, in a world of finite resources, should a quality public college education be distributed?
  • How it should be financed?
  • How should public institutions change in the light of the answers to those questions?

Participants were asked to read a set of materials prior to the conference, and the days were designed around a series of discussion prompts. In addition, we heard presentations from Laura Hamilton, author of Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College Women’s SuccessMichael McPherson co-author of, Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Educationand Nancy Kendall and Matt Wolfgram, who discussed their on-going study, “Constructing Affordability: How Institutional and Relational Contexts Affect Retention of Undergraduates from Low-Income Families.”

In winter 2018, the Center brought many of the same scholars back together, as well as some new participants, to consider some of the main, though often unseen obstacles and barriers to getting a college degree, who they affect, and what might be done (or is being done) to overcome or eliminate them. Participants were asked to think about what might be done in terms of state financing, private sector activity, and school and university policy and practice to achieve this.

Several participants developed papers-in-progress in advance of the 2018 conference, and we used our time together discussing and developing them.

If you are interested in learning more about these events, we have made the 2016 and 2018 conference framing statements, the reading list, as well as information about the papers-in-progress available.

2016 Framing Statement (PDF)
2016 Reading and Discussion Questions (PDF)
2018 Framing Statement (PDF)
2018 Papers-in-Progress

Bascom Hill