Praeger coverAneil is editing a new book on higher education that will be published in 2016 by Praeger Press.

Restoring Trust in Higher Education: Making the Investment Worthwhile Again (Aneil Mishra, Editor, Praeger Press: 2016)

Perhaps only after healthcare, higher education involves significant uncertainty and risk in both means and ends, resulting in a high degree of vulnerability for “consumers,” i.e., students and their families. In addition, information is asymmetric as well, with administrators, instructors, and professors knowing more about educational process and outcomes than students and their families. How will students and parents know that the human capital and financial capital investments they make will pay off?

In the midst of this inherently vulnerable context, higher education has been under attack as never before, and for good reason. Costs have risen faster than inflation for decades; the returns to higher education, while still significant, are almost to impossible to compare across institutions; top administrators sometimes command million-dollar salaries while they increasingly rely on lowly-paid temporary instructors; and the linkages between research, teaching performance, and graduates’ employability have frayed.

Moreover, as higher education has increasingly become a business, the quality of its product has become ever more suspect. Scandal after scandal at well-known institutions have failed to generate serious reform, yet there are examples of high-quality institutions which can serve as benchmarks for improvement. In addition, while institutions strive to raise endowment funds and yet end up raising tuition, there is not an equivalent push to ensure a positive outcome (career or graduate school) for all graduates. Some of this is due to the misinformation and misunderstanding by students and their parents, especially first-generation students and veterans.

With the growing portion of students entering college as first-generation students, accountability and results matter more than ever. This volume brings together respected leaders from both private and public institutions to not only provide a 360-degree view of the challenges and opportunities of higher education, but also to create a manifesto for making higher education respected and relevant to our society once again.