Nationally the price of college tuition increased more than 274 percent from 1990 to 2009 -- roughly four times the rate of inflation. That's even more than the brutal rise in health costs that has touched off a near-crisis in that field.
How might higher education problems be addressed? Here are some ideas out of Utah:
Some of the rumblings are already shaking the Utah Legislature this session:
• Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, inveighed against state funding for impractical "degrees to nowhere," and wants more emphasis on math, science and technology tracks.
• Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, introduced HB 485 to ban the granting of tenure to professors at state colleges and universities. Critics have long said that tenure deprives some professors of motivation and responsibility.
• Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Odgen, is backing SJR 9, which would amend the state constitution to give the governor control over both public schools and higher education. That could be seen as expressing general frustration with Utah's academic establishment.
Degrees to nowhere. What could they possibly mean by that? Certainly not Aggrieved Victim Studies degrees. No, definitely not.