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[Excerpt] During recent decades tuition for undergraduate students has risen at rates substantially higher than the rate of inflation at both public and private colleges and universities in the United States. These high rates of tuition increases led Congress to establish the National Commission on the Costs of Higher Education in 1997 to conduct a comprehensive review of college costs and prices and to make recommendations on how to hold tuition increases down. Parents of college students, taxpayers, and government officials all wanted to know why academic institutions can't behave more like businesses—cut their costs, increase their efficiency, and thus keep their tuition rates under control.

Part of the answer to this question, and the subject of Governing Academia, is how higher education institutions are governed in the United States. In some states, coordinating boards oversee both public and private higher educational institutions and help to rationalize course and degree offerings across institutions. In other states, their focus is solely on how public higher education is organized and administered.


Suggested Citation
Ehrenberg, R. G. (2004). Introduction [Electronic version]. In R. G. Ehrenberg (Ed.), Governing academia (pp. 1-6). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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© Cornell University. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.