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Documentary Asks: Why is Higher Education So Expensive?

Documentary Explores Why Higher Education Is So Expensive

A new television documentary, "Ivory Tower," looks at U.S. college tuition and growing concerns regarding student debt. 

PBS' Jeffrey Brown talked to filmmaker Andrew Rossi about why higher education is so expensive. 

"I think what we're looking at in 'Ivory Tower' is whether college is worth it, but in a way that is hopefully more nuanced and complex than simply either looking at the wage premium that one finds, which, of course, is a very striking statistic, the fact that people make a million dollars more over the course of their lifetime with a B.A," said Rossi in the interview. 

The increase in the cost of higher education has sparked conversation around the nation, with writers such as retired professor Fred Zimmerman sharing their thoughts. In a StarTribune.com opinion piece, Zimmerman said there are two types of education: substansive and delusional. Substansive education is meaningful, he said, and provides useful knowledge and skills needed in later life. Delusional education provides "illusory credibility" and an easy degree. 

"There are many questions those of us in education could ask," he wrote. "Are we encouraging students to embrace rigorous education? Are we admitting people who are less serious? Do we have faculty members who do not do enough work? Do we put up with them? Do we have too much time off? Have we allowed high-cost sports and other activities to crowd out needed educational programs?"

Read the PBS story on the Ivory Tower documentary. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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