The Backchannel
The Backchannel
May 23, 2019
Extremely Offline: Charlie Eaton and Daniel Friedman on the Higher Education Racket
Play • 1 hr 1 min

With more and more Americans going to college every year, there are increasing demands that the federal government step in and make higher education more affordable and tackle burgeoning student debt.

But some on the conservative side argue that increasing federal aid will only make the problem worse by contributing to runaway inflation of tuition and other costs related to going to college. 

Daniel Friedman, a novelist based in New York City, takes that point of view. He has argued in his Quillette columns that making college free would risk subsidizing a system that is already failing many of its students.

That's something Charlie Eaton, a higher education researcher at the University of California-Merced, is very familiar with. His work focuses on the financialization of higher education, and he agrees that there is a systemic cost problem that goes far beyond the amount of aid the government offers to students. But he believes that some sort of free college plan is wise.

On this episode we'll talk about higher education: who should go, whether it's worth it, how we should finance it, and what its future should be in the United States. 

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