This project is a training of your critical thinking skills and guides you through the process of thinking critically about an issue or topic. Watch…

This project is a training of your critical thinking skills and guides you through the process of thinking critically about an issue or topic.

Watch the following two videos:

1. Economist Richard Vedder on Why College Costs So Much

2. Why Does College Cost So Much? – Education Summit

Answer the following questions on a separate Word document and submit it . answers to all the questions should be 2 to 3 pages in total,

1. Richard Vedder in the first video argued that increasing public spending is one major reason that leads to higher cost of college, but Barmak Nassirian said that decreasing public spending is the cause of higher cost of college. First use the demand and supply framework to show how each of them could be right. Second, how can we resolve the contradiction between their arguments? What further evidence do we need to collect?

(Note: Normally, when you are analyzing an issue, it’s very often the case that you find contradictory information or arguments. Please be intellectually lenient first and do NOT take side. Take your role as the judge and assume all people are innocent, that is, all the information or arguments are correct. Then you try to find a way to resolve the contradiction. This means most of the time you need to look for additional evidence that are on the topic but not mentioned from the contradicting pieces. In other words, you need to go beyond the question itself to solve the question. Only after you searched enough evidence butstill cannot resolve the contradiction do you start to question the validity of the evidence and decide which argument is more creditable. In this question, pay attention to additional evidence that is not in the video but shown on the webpage, and see if they provide any clue to the contradiction.)

2. Richard Vedder mentioned that higher education institutions are “medieval organizations not disciplined by market forces”, what does he mean? (i.e. what are market disciplines and why these institutions are not disciplined by the market?) Steven Knapp also mentioned that universities are “not cost effective”, why is this the case? Why universities are not like firms in the competitive market? 

(Note: The first thing you should notice is that all the questions above are in fact the same question – why universities are cost ineffective. They are just phrased differently. You should train yourself in terms of detecting the essential meaning behind all kinds of information or statements and grasp the fundamental question. Secondly, to answer this question, both Richard Vedder and Steven Knapp introduced some additional concepts or mechanism, and this is a common strategy used to address big or difficult questions. Your goal here is to understand the arguments made by both of them.)

3. Based on the information provided in the videos and your experience so far, do you think attending college worth the cost? Please give enough support to your position.

(Note: here your task is to consolidate all the information and try to derive their implication for action. Consolidation means seeing the connections among all pieces of information and placing them in the right place so that the whole picture of the issue is revealed. Based on this full understanding, you insert your values or goals and reach a conclusion about individual or collective actions.)

Additional Interesting Resources

1. Re-imagining college – what is four years good for? Ben Sasse at TEDxOmaha

2. Why college costs are so high and rising?

3. US Education Spending History from 1900


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