The Times Higher Education announced its annual World University Rankings last week, and the United States has 72 schools in the top 200, with Harvard coming in first overall. The THE’s rankings editor attributed this success to the amount of money that the U.S. spends on higher education every year: more than any other advanced nation, and nearly twice as much as the average. But is this kind of investment in higher education sustainable?
Christopher Newfield, who has written extensively on the economics and politics of higher education in the humanities in his books Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980, and Unmaking the University (Harvard, 2008), in numerous articles, and on his blog, addresses this question in the newest issue of American Literature. In a free article called “The End of the American Funding Model: What Comes Next?”, Newfield argues that the current funding model creates inequalities in research funding that have done particular damage to the humanities. He calls for new (largely public) funding structures with egalitarian procedures and goals.