See Thru Edu is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D., Editor in Chief and Director, Center for Higher Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Reform the Core, Part 1: Cutting the Gordian Knot

Many universities across the country are looking hard at ways to speed more students through bachelor’s programs. For example, the University of Texas at Austin recently adopted the goal of a 70% rate for graduation in four years (up from just over 50% now) by 2016. These are worthy efforts, since they can help students […]

Our Purposeless Universities

The old maxim, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” is difficult to dispute. Why should anyone expend time and energy to undertake a pursuit deemed to be worthwhile if the goal was not to do well? In Greek, the word telos means a goal or an end. When applied to the idea in the […]

Taming Behemoth State University, Part 2

How can we cure the gigantism that besets our higher education system? The key is to realize that there is no necessary connection between the size of our total student population and the size of each institution. Instead of a single University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University at College Station, we could […]

Taming Behemoth State University, Part I

In his 1986 introduction to Irving Babbitt’s classic, Literature and the American College, Russell Kirk identifies the four “ills” that beset modern American higher education. All four are more relevant today than ever. Ill #3 is ‘gigantism,’ the formation of what Kirk called “Behemoth State University”. Kirk had first-hand experience of this phenomenon, having spent […]

Another view of that fight over Bill Powers and UT regents

(From the Dallas Morning News): By Mike Hashimoto A few months ago, the kind of fight that usually simmers out of public view burst into the open during Texas’ legislative session in Austin. Here’s how your local editorial board framed it in a March 27 editorial: The incessant firefight over the University of Texas at Austin’s leadership […]

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

(From Rolling Stone Magazine): Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education – saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy by Matt Taibbi On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight […]

God and Man at Yale: A Prophecy

Shortly after graduating from Yale University, William F. Buckley penned God and Man at Yale, which has since become a classic critique of the Ivy League and its poignant disregard for several areas of study and philosophies that helped lay the foundation for Yale’s renowned reputation. In God and Man, Buckley points out that Yale: 1.) had […]

The University of Texas Wages Wasteful War against Human Dignity

  (“Audax” is the pen name of a Texas-based professor): The Supreme Court sent the Fisher v. University of Texas admissions case back to the circuit court, ruling that the lower courts failed to apply the appropriate level of ‘strict scrutiny’ to U.T.’s blatant use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions. UT cannot now win […]


(From the Wall Street Journal): It’s Possible to Graduate Debt-Free. Here’s How by Rebekah Bell In 2009, when I was applying to my dream college, my parents had one stipulation: graduate without debt. I burst out laughing. There was no feasible way that a middle-class 19-year-old with average grades could attend a college with a […]

Student Debt in the U.S. (Part 1)

(From Student Debt in the U.S. (Part 1) This is our first article in a three-part series about the nation’s ever-rising student debt levels. The second and third entries will look at student debt from a historical perspective and explore some of the potential consequences of the debt crisis, respectively. As college costs spiral […]