Each passing year sees the steady rise of tuition costs for American higher education. Issues of student loans, direct lending to institutions, and federally subsidized grants are a staple of news reporting. As colleges and universities across America grapple with ever-tightening budgetary restrictions, they develop new strategies to provide quality services to an increasing student body with decreasing income from endowments, donations, and government programs. For their part, students must grapple with a more competitive job market, and the prospect of unemployment after graduation. As we near the end of the century, many educators, academics, and even potential students are asking an important question: Are our colleges and universities worth what they cost?
In this classic study of higher education, Howard K. Bowen discusses the value of higher education to the individual and society, arguing that the nonmonetary benefits so far outweigh the monetary benefits that "individual and social decisions about the future of higher education should be made primarily on the basis of nonmonetary considerations."Responding to demands for efficiency and accountability, Investment in Learning is still as applicable today as it was twenty years ago.