Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admission? ask Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus in a Chronicle of Higher Education commentary. Many colleges “have lost track of their basic mission to challenge the minds of young people,” they write. ” Higher education has become a colossus—a $420-billion industry—immune from scrutiny and in need of reform.”
Among colleges that provide good value to students, they list Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey.
Raritan provides a better introduction to college work than many four-year institutions. It has no megalectures. Its classes don’t exceed 40 students, and many are seminar size. Team teaching is encouraged, with both professors present throughout the term. Like most two-year colleges, Raritan’s classes are taught mainly by adjuncts. Many have been with Raritan for a while, are good in their fields, and can work closely with students because classes are small. The signal fact about Raritan and colleges like it is that you can get a start with the liberal arts at a tenth of the cost of many private tuitions, and a third of what flagship colleges charge. More than that, you can learn with professors who know your name and have an interest in your future.
Hacker, is a professor at Queens College, and Dreifus, an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, are the authors of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—and What We Can Do About It, which comes out next month.