We support Secretary Duncan's call for increased funding for students and his efforts to hold bad colleges accountable. But more can be done. An important way we can fight the corporatization of our higher education system is for the Department of Education to advocate for policies that are student-focused and classroom-centric, such as a set percentage of tuition dollars that must be spent on instruction.
We believe that focusing on instruction and providing greater support in the classroom will transform our broken higher education system. A great step toward achieving this goal is to have a national standard for how much schools spend on instruction. While some colleges spend 100% of student tuition dollars on instruction, far too many colleges do not spend 50%, 40% even 25% on instruction, and too many for-profit colleges spend more on marketing or shareholder profits than on instruction. The result is students are not getting the quality education they deserve, faculty must hold multiple jobs to make ends meet rather than focusing on working with their students, and taxpayers are funding a system that shortchanges students.
We call on Secretary Duncan to support national standard of a minimum of 50% of tuition dollars spent on instruction. That is the least any college should be allocating toward students--the primary reason they exist. If colleges cannot spend even 50%, then they they should lose Title IV funding.