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February 26, 2019 at 7:39 am

Vedder Argues That Higher Ed in U.S. Was Growing Before Morrill Act

Dr. Richard Vedder, portrait

Dr. Richard Vedder

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University, was quoted in an Accuracy in Academia article headlined “Was Government Intervention in Universities a Big Mistake?

On February 12, the Cato Institute held an event that focused on the history of higher education, what problems currently plague our institutions of higher learning, and how we might be able to improve these institutions. During the first panel of the day, the history of higher education was discussed. Professors Richard Vedder from Ohio University, Joshua Hall from West Virginia University, and John Thelin from University of Kentucky argued that increased governmental involvement in our universities has largely been ineffective and even counterproductive in some ways. Professor Stephen Gavazzi from Ohio State University said that he supported the concept of land-grant universities but has a problem with them no longer serving the communities that are close to them.

Professor Richard Vedder argued that the Morrill Act was largely ineffective, because “First, American higher education was rapidly growing before the Morrill Act was passed, faster indeed than the growth during the first two generations after passage of that legislation. The research university that evolved after the Civil War grew out of the German model and had nothing to do with the Morrill Act.” Finally, “…it is a fact that the American GDP passed Britain’s to become the largest in at least the Western world before more than a handful of students had even graduated from one of the new land-grant institutions.”

Read more at Accuracy in Academia.

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