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Library JournalAdding his voice to a growing chorus of critiques of the state of higher education (William J. Bennett & David Wilezol's Is College Worth It?; Jeffrey J. Selingo's College (Un)Bound), Samuels (president, Univ. Council–American Federation of Teachers; New Media, Cultural Studies, and Critical Theory After Postmodernism), a prolific blogger on the subject of higher education, seeks to convince his readers of the disconnect between the cost of tuition and the quality of instruction and, furthermore, that a high-quality combination of research and instruction could be maintained without the need for tuition at all. He explains how a large portion of tuition dollars go toward administration costs, research, noneducational programs (e.g., athletics, recreational extras, etc., and technology.) Samuels also points out that many universities are making risky investments and borrowing large sums to fund construction of new facilities that do not necessarily enhance learning and to increase compensation to already highly paid faculty and administrators. He argues that if current government funding to higher education were used more effectively, public institutions could be tuition free.
Verdict Samuels presents a thought-provoking case for reform, and his book will appeal to anyone concerned with the current and/or future state of higher education in the United States.—Sara Holder, McGill Univ. Libs., Montreal
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