Public Funding for Higher Education

As demand for higher education increases, driven both by individuals seeking a secure foothold in the labor market and national efforts to educate a skilled, competitive workforce, governments face the challenge (described by Martin Trow) of funding a mass higher education system that enrolls ever-greater proportions of those graduating from secondary schools. This challenge is all the more formidable given the labor-intensive nature of higher education, which, as economists Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman have argued, relies on highly educated and highly paid scholars whose productivity remains relatively impervious to technologies that have lowered costs in other industries. Many scholars, including Bruce Johnstone, have pointed out that competing demands made on government resources, including health care, schooling, and infrastructure costs, also limit the ...

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