Brookings Institution Presents “Much Ado About Nothing”

The Brookings Institution released a report today titled Higher Education in Pennsylvania: A Competitive Asset for Communities. In this report, they offer findings such as: Pennsylvania has many institutions of higher education, higher education has an important role in economic development, and institutions of higher education are major employers and stakeholders in their local community.

From these they draw recommendations that the state needs to:

  • Create a new advisory board for higher education,
  • Hold an annual forum,
  • Invest near colleges and universities, and
  • Give more money to colleges and to municipalities (in lieu of taxes “lost” because of the nonprofit status of colleges) to support community partnerships.

In short, they argue that the state government needs to spend more taxpayer money to encourage both public and private universities to invest in the local economy. The facts that colleges and universities already promote the local economy and that higher taxes and spending do not lead to economic growth are conspicuously absent from the report.