College graduation season is here, and that means students should be celebrating their hard-earned educations. But have you seen the headlines being made by many of our nation’s campuses lately?
On Monday, you could read about a new study of public universities showing that schools with the highest presidential salaries also had the fastest-growing student debt. That same night, Senator Elizabeth Warren was on the Colbert Report to bring attention to the nation’s student loan debt, which now exceeds $1 trillion. And over the weekend, New York University was the subject of a New York Times investigation detailing inhumane working conditions at its far-flung Abu Dhabi campus, the crown jewel in president John Sexton’s octopus-like plan to grow the university throughout New York City’s Greenwich Village and across the globe.
At their core, these stories reflect a fundamental change in higher education: universities act increasingly like big businesses that treat students as customers.