Colleges Begin To Confront Higher Costs And Students’ Debt

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In a wood-paneled office lined with books, sports memorabilia and framed posters (including John Belushi in “Animal House” ), E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State University, keeps a framed quotation that reads, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

Gee, who is often identified with a big salary and spendthrift ways, says he has taken the quotation to heart, and he is now trying to persuade Ohio State’s vast bureaucracy, and the broader world of academia, to do the same.

At a time of diminished state funding for higher education and uncertain federal dollars, Gee says that public colleges and universities need to devise a new business model to pay for the costs of education, beyond sticking students with higher tuition and greater debt.

“The notion that universities can do business the very same way has to stop,” said Gee, who is also the chairman of a commission studying college attainment, including the impact of student debt.

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