Greater prosperity requires more jobs, and more jobs require more economic growth. And the best way to do that, this chain of reasoning continues, is to make investments in higher education and high-tech research. How else to cultivate the next generation of highly skilled, motivated workers for today's ever-dynamic information economy?
That view -- promoted by college presidents, governors and experts in the economics of higher education -- is often cited in the quest for more funding for state university systems. But what if it's wrong?
Policies that allow students to try out courses and drop them by a certain deadline are a time-honored way for colleges to encourage students to sign up for classes they're not sure about or get out of ones they don't like. But the policies are sometimes manipulated by students hunting for easy A's or a sure-to-pass course in ways that can cause headaches for faculty and administrators.