The Public Interest

On the higher learning in America: some comments

Thomas Sowell

Spring 1990

THE MOST fundamental misconception of many leading institutions of higher learning is that they are primarily institutions of higher learning. Money talks in academia as elsewhere, and what that money says on most campuses is “do research.” Johns Hopkins University, for example, has about 3,000 undergraduates. They pay about $14,000 a year in tuition. If every undergraduate at Johns Hopkins paid full tuition, accepting no financial aid, that would add up to $42 million— approximately one-tenth of what Johns Hopkins receives in federal research grants alone.

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