A couple weeks ago, Houston Mayor and U.S. senatorial candidate Bill White spoke at a University of Houston Faculty Senate meeting alongside former UH Chancellor Bill Hobby. The main topic of discussion at this meeting revolved around university research and Proposition 4.

But the most troubling comments made at the meeting were not about Proposition 4, but rather the so-called failure of the free market in higher education.

During his presentation, White told attendees that “we should not create a market system in higher education.” He seemed to be suggesting that the problems at public universities can’t be solved by more competition and less government regulation, as the Texas Public Policy Foundation and others propose.

The truth is, most problems in the higher education market are because of too much government interference, and unleashing the free market would be the best way to improve those problems.

Below are just a few examples of how government involvement in the higher education market harms students:

* Government-backed student loans inflate tuition costs;* Excessive regulations harm educational quality;* Government policies impede the positive influence that competition creates in any market.

Higher education isn’t any different than the market for automobiles, toothpaste, or diapers. Students are the consumer, and universities are the producer. The free market can create the same options for university students as every individual has when purchasing an automobile, if only the government would just get out of the way.

– Elizabeth Young