Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hazy Concept

Asked by the Sacramento Bee about what could be done to make college more affordable, UC prez Napolitano responded:

I would focus on colleges partnering with public and private sectors to address the total cost of attendance, not just tuition. Universities can continue to explore innovative ways to increase student success and shorten time to degree-attainment; the State can keep expanding its recent increased investments in higher education; and changes in federal law could reduce interest rates on student loans. Furthermore, we should encourage public-private partnerships to explore shared aims: Businesses and organizations could enhance – with resources and established career pathways – support for the colleges that supply them with needed talent. Ensuring college affordability requires multiple solutions, and we therefore need to tackle this issue on various fronts.


This response is a bit hazy. Does public-private partnership mean just more fundraising from businesses? Some employers do have various higher ed benefits. But there is a classic principle in economics that employers will be reluctant to pay for general training, i.e., skill development that could be applied to other employers (including competitors). Unless there is some guarantee that the newly-trained employee stays with the employer, there is little gain in offering such training.

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