Tom Ross: Failure to invest in higher education will cost us our competitive edge (Audio)

Former University of North Carolina President Tom Ross is reflecting on his tenure as head of the 17-campus system and the future of higher education in America.

In an interview last week with NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon, Ross voiced his concerns about the disinvestment in higher ed:

“We spend just slightly more money today in real dollars that we did 25 years ago, and yet enrollment has increased 60 percent during that period. So we’re actually spending more than 30 percent less, per student than we did 25 years ago,” explained Ross.

Ross says policymakers and the public must understand the connection between college, critical-thinking and America’s competitive edge.

Recent analysis finds that states have cut per-student spending for higher education by an average of 21 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2014.

To hear an excerpt of Ross’ radio interview click below. A podcast of their full discussion (in which he shares his future plans) is available on the main Policy Watch website.

Ross will be succeeded in March by former Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Junius Gonzales is serving as the interim president of the UNC system.

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