Gallup released a survey today probing the various and sundry opinions of some 889 college and university presidents about the state of higher ed, and a few of their results have left me at a complete loss. Specifically, I'm talking the responses charted out below, asking how important employment outcomes, graduation rates, and cost are to the overall quality of an institution.
The good news is that an overwhelming majority think jobs and completion are at least somewhat important. The bad news? Fewer than two thirds think either counts as "very important." To which I can only ask: If those aren't tops on your priority list right now, what the hell is?
Meanwhile, more than a fifth don't seem to think that cost factors much into the quality calculation, which is a view I can sort of imagine a sentient creature defending in 1997, when everybody thought the stock market was a magical fount of retirement money and the Internet was going end unemployment. But at a time when half the country seems convinced that everybody under the age of thirty is about to be burned alive on a giant pyre of student debt, it's a tad tone deaf. According to Gallup, 77 percent of Americans think colleges need to cut tuition. Every single school is going to be judged via a cost-benefit analysis. This is not complicated. It should be understood by now.