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


  In present economic times when the continuation of jobs and positions in higher education is uncertain, some university departments have found novel ways to ensure they will be “needed”.  A prime example is the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB was originally established to ensure that research is performed ethically and to protect the […]

Care About The Poor? Consider Consequences

On the day of the second presidential debate, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at debate-host Hofstra University. The topic was “defusing the student loan debt bomb,” and I was the lone voice calling for an end to inflation-fueling federal student aid. My co-panelists were Tamara Draut of the think tank […]


In the very earliest pure academic settings, say in ancient Athens, the salaries of instructors exactly equaled the tuition payments made by the students. I assume Socrates charged his students tuition, which he then used to cover his living expenses. Fast forwarding two thousand years, Adam Smith famously pointed out in the Wealth of Nations […]


In my last two blog posts, I have argued that college affordability is largely in the hands of higher education consumers. Only when students and families begin to change their behavior on the margin will we begin to see higher education expenditures reigned in. A recent report from educational lender Sallie Mae suggests that this […]

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Challenge to Higher Education

       Time was – boy, do I know; I was there – when  a four-year University of Texas degree – food and housing included — could be had for $5000 (about $37,000 in 2012 terms).  Try wrapping up a single academic year nowadays for less than 30,000 of today’s  bucks.  By the way, median American […]


For higher-education analysts – or just people who’ve cogitated over higher ed – it’s not hard to discern that student aid, especially taken from taxpayers, enables colleges to raise their prices at accelerated rates. Not all observers acknowledge this reality, of course, but the logic is straightforward: If someone gives all customers more money to […]

Education Savings Accounts Could Help Parents Afford College

In the continuing quest to make college more affordable, let us now consider an innovative idea that comes to us from the arena of K-12 reform. A new report from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice makes the case for “a unique delivery system called education savings accounts (ESAs), which have the ability to increase […]

A Federal College Scorecard?

With rapidly rising college tuition and many graduates unable to get employment in their field, there’s a growing demand for better value for money in higher education.  But a challenge for most would-be college students is how to know whether a particular college is or is not a bargain.  Like buying health care or hiring […]

A $10K Degree in the Liberal Arts

In this year’s State of the State address, Governor Perry called for the state’s public universities to begin offering a BA with a total cost (including tuition, fees and textbooks) of $10,000, in contrast to the current rates of between $26,800 and $45,300. If we include the cost to taxpayers, the total bill at UT-Austin […]

Anatomy of a Revolution? The Rise of the $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree

  In 2011, Governor Perry challenged Texas public higher education to develop degrees costing no more than $10,000. This year, a number of schools complied. But critics contend that these new programs attain the desired price point through tactics that do not actually reduce real costs. This criticism may miss the larger point. Until now, the debate […]