A New Deal for Higher Education

By Jim Bakken

Following decades of defunding of higher education and the accompanying corporatization of colleges and universities, the AAUP, in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, is calling for large-scale reform of our public system of higher education. The New Deal for Higher Education campaign, which seeks to reclaim higher education as a public good, formally kicked off in February 2021. This campaign seeks to return to a viable funding model for public colleges and universities. In addition to addressing tuition costs, institutional funding, and student debt relief, the New Deal for Higher Education platform supports reforms related to racial injustice and inequities, labor practices, academic freedom and shared governance, federal research funding, technical and vocational education, and a host of other challenges that have diminished our national capacity to educate our communities. The campaign builds on demands from around the academy for meaningful structural changes that are more necessary than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign coalition is growing quickly. Two coalition member groups, Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education and the Roosevelt Institute, recently published an issue brief highlighting the need for significant federal action and pointing to important first steps.

Visit the campaign website at https://newdealforhighered.org/ for more information and to become involved.