Is Michigan Higher Ed Headed For A Shakeout? (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture

Richard Vedder is a higher ed heretic. At a time when virtually everyone is pushing for more kids to go to college, the director of the Center for College Affordability & Productivity argues the traditional college deal is not what it used to be. With college graduates plentiful and jobs scarce, a diploma from a less competitive school doesn’t much impress employers, Vedder argues.

And he predicts several low-ranked Michigan colleges won’t be around 10 years from now -- nor will hundreds of others across the country.

The University of Michigan need not worry. Vedder considers U-M to be one of the two top public universities in the country. (The University of California, Berkeley, is the other.) That ranking is considerably higher than the No. 71 spot gives U-M (by in-state tuition) in its latest ranking of more than 800 colleges and universities by "return on investment."

Nor should the green and white of Michigan State University (No. 200 in the PayScale study) be concerned, Vedder says. But he does think less well-known public schools, with dwindling state aid, little endowments and poor records of return on investment, may close their doors.

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