Papers explore new ways to fund higher education


The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) has begun a drive to involve our nation’s college and university faculty in the search for solutions to the seemingly unending cycle of funding cuts, privatization, soaring tuition and academic shut-downs.

On Tuesday, CFHE introduced three working papers with ideas on ways to fund higher education in America.

The CFHE working papers address the common assumption that funding higher education through public means rather than through skyrocketing tuition is simply impossible. View the working papers and submit your comments at:

The briefing took place on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln signed the 1862 Morrill Act that initiated America’s public higher education system, starting with Land Grant Colleges. Today that system spans the nation but is on the road to elimination.

“What we are missing today is the commitment and the courage that Lincoln and Morrill had,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, in the opening of the news conference.

She continued, “With that in mind, CFHE decided to call on the faculty of this country to devote ourselves to tackling some of the really tough challenges confronting the future of higher education.” View the full text of her remarks.

The three papers examined Tuesday explore new ways to provide public support for colleges and universities:

  • One of the papers explores the notion of free higher education and examines what the actual cost to provide such an ideal would be. Bob Samuels, a University of California Los Angeles faculty member, argues we could make big strides towards free public higher education by reallocating current governmental expenditures for higher education and by eliminating regressive tax breaks.
  • The second paper, using the state of California as a test case, looks at the real magnitude of returning to recent, more adequate levels of state funding for higher education. Stanton Glantz, a professor at UC San Francisco, describes that “resetting” higher education funding to more adequate past levels would require only very small adjustments in the median income tax return.
  • The third paper explores a currently unused tax revenue source that could be tapped if there were the political will to provide adequate public funding for higher education. Rudy Fichtenbaum, an economics professor at Wright State University in Ohio and national president of the American Association of University Professors, explains how to achieve vastly improved funding for higher education through a miniscule tax on selected financial transactions.

See and post your comments on a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Join a national discussion among faculty members on the CFHE web site and on the CFHE Facebook page.