by Anna Durrett | Adjunct Advocate:
Over the last thirty years, college tuition has steadily risen. The cost of tuition at many colleges literally prices out many families who want to send their kids to college. If they do not receive grants or scholarships, these students are obligated to take out loans or give up on a higher degree. Either decision can limit a student’s professional or personal options in the future.
But why is higher education so expensive in the first place?
Why this “shift in priorities?” U.C. Berkeley English professor, Christopher Newfield, in his new book Unmaking the Public University posits that conservative elites have worked to de-fund higher education explicitly because of its function in creating a more empowered, democratic, and multiracial middle class. His theory is one that blames explicit cultural concern, not financial woes, for the current decreases in funding. He cites the fact that California public universities were forced to reject 300,000 applicants because of lack of funding. Newfield explains that much of the motive behind conservative advocacy for de-funding of public education is racial, pro-corporate, and anti-protest in nature.