GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE NO ROLE IN HIGHER EDUCATION. PERIOD.
South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE) has been sending mixed signals of late as it relates to the attempted purchase of the Charleston School of Law (CSOL) by “diploma mill” provider InfiLaw.
On the one hand the agency’s staff has recommended approving a key state licenses necessary to complete the sale … on the other hand, a panel of commissioners has recommended against granting the license.
The full commission will issue its long-awaited ruling early next month … although that decision is likely to be appealed to the state’s administrative law court, and eventually to the S.C. Supreme Court.
This battle is a long way from being over, in other words … needlessly draining taxpayer resources (and tying up our court system).
Supporters of the deal argue InfiLaw has “developed the knowledge, experience and resources to help CSOL thrive” – and that the school faces an uncertain financial future in the event it isn’t sold. Opponents of the deal say InfiLaw will lower CSOL’s admissions standards and cause further harm to its reputation as a second-rate law school.
Honestly? We’re inclined to believe the latter group … but that still doesn’t mean the state has the right to get involved.
Two months ago, a group of South Carolina lawmakers published a letter urging against government intervention in the deal.
“We do not believe it is appropriate for the Commission to interfere with a private transaction under any circumstances,” they wrote.
We agree …
Of course we would take their objection to a much higher energy level – arguing (as we have repeatedly argued before) that government has no business subsidizing higher education in the first place.
Higher education has turned into a taxpayer-subsidized scam of the first order – and the sooner colleges and universities are forced to compete in a real marketplace (one that isn’t manipulated by government grants or guarantees) the sooner we can free up resources to address core government functions.
Seriously … the next time you run over a pothole, ask yourself whether the Jim Clyburn Transportation Center at S.C. State University has been a worthwhile public investment. Or those Clemson firefly experiments.
Because our guess is it will be a resounding “NO.”
We agree with our legislative friends that the Commission on Higher Education should stay out of the current law school debate … but our reason for holding such a view is that we don’t believe there should be a Commission on Higher Education in the first place.
Nor any government subsidization of “higher education …”
Ever since this website broke the news of this deal it has stoked passionate debate … and that’s a good thing. But the law is supposed to be “reason free from passion,” according to Aristotle (or Elle Woods, if you prefer), and there’s no reasonable rationalization for government to step in and block a private transaction in an industry it has no business participating in or regulating.