Higher Education and Economic Growth: A Conference Report (Special Issue)
Last Updated: 12/27/05
On This PageJanuary 2006, No. 222b
The future of higher education and its relationship to economic growth were the focus of a one-day conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on November 2, 2005. Cosponsored by the Bank, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the event brought together over 100 academic, business and government leaders. This extended edition of the Chicago Fed Letter, offers a more in-depth view of the conference and serves as a companion piece to No. 222a.
In opening remarks, Chicago Fed President and CEO Michael Moskow noted that while the relationship between education, productivity and economic growth has never been clearer, financial support for higher education has waned while costs have continued to rise. While private universities have been able to raise tuition and draw on endowments to maintain fiscal health, public universities have faced difficult times as states have reduced financial support and often limited their ability to offset cuts with large tuition increases. Moskow noted that state governments are facing competing demands for funding from K–12 education and Medicaid, among other priorities. Also, the perception of higher education as an important public good has eroded. Increasingly, Moskow said, higher education is seen as a private good with the benefits accruing to the student in the form of higher future wages and quality of life.
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