Advice to Parents: Explore Non-College Options


Looking ahead at the next bubble to burst: higher education. Costs keep going up at traditional four-year colleges, in part because—with the notable exception of some Christian colleges and a few others that are student-oriented—professors do not make teaching their prime activity.

Examples are numerous. Here's one: This past year the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) released a study showing that 80 percent of the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin receive full-time pay for teaching an average of 63 students per year, the equivalent of three classes per year of 21 students each.

The joke used to be that tenured professors with too much time on their hands sold real estate on the side, but this past year a New Jersey physics professor went to extremes. Police arrested him, along with a distinguished former president of the University of New Mexico, for allegedly running an online prostitution ring.

Most professors, of course, spend time in other pursuits. The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in North Carolina recently asked whether an English professor who teaches Shakespeare will advance his career more by (1) Closely rereading the major plays of Shakespeare and their most important critiques, reading about Elizabethan history, preparing for lectures, and correcting written grammar when grading papers, or (2) Writing the one-millionth academic article on Shakespeare, "with an emphasis on cross-dressing, food, or some other obscure topic."

Read More: