Are American Universities Sustainable?
At what point do the competitive business practices of higher education cut against the public good it is intended to serve? The nation's system of student loans needs reform.
What's the Latest Development?
With interest rates on federally subsidized student loans set to double, at what point do the business practices of higher education harm the social good it is meant to serve? Competition among America's universities has become fierce, as evidenced by the exposure of many endowments to risky investments at the time of the financial crisis. The search for capital also includes "a high level of expenditures on student amenities (to attract rich kids), on intercollegiate sports (to stimulate alumni donations), and on faculty 'stars' who can attract research grants and impress parents and alumni."
What's the Big Idea?
Jurist Richard Posner and Nobel economist Gary Becker, two free-marketeers at the University of Chicago, support a more market-based approach to student loans. "If loans, not being subsidized, were more costly, tuition would be lower; and promising students would still receive scholarships and low-cost loans, financed by the universities themselves, because universities want to have good students," said Posner. It is also important to allow students to discharge student loan debt through personal bankruptcy, said Becker, "the way other debt can be dischargeable through bankruptcy."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.