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What is Higher Education for?
For the last five weeks we have discussed and debated the nature and purpose of higher education, all along asking ourselves the question: “is higher education a private investment or a public good?” For this first essay assignment I want you to write a short, 3-4 page editorial that addresses this fundamental question.
However, I want you to do more than merely take a side on this particular question. Instead I want you to use your answer as a springboard for an original argument in which you explain what you think higher education is for and what changes, if any, should be made to improve it.
Like all good editorials, yours must have a clear and focused argument that can be defended with logical reasoning and facts, it must provide support and evidence for that argument, and it must consider the objections of your readers as much as possible. Although you do not need to do any additional research for this particular assignment, you may cite or quote from any of the texts that we have read this unit if you think it will help your argument.
To give you a sense of what I mean I have provided a brief outline of what the essay should ideally look like below. Your essay may have more but should not have fewer than five paragraphs.
Paragraph One: Statement of the Problem and Thesis
Your opening paragraph should introduce the topic of your essay, explain the problem you will be addressing, what others have said or think about this problem (what THEY SAY), and your answer or solution in the form of a thesis statement. This thesis statement will be the guiding idea for the rest of your editorial and all further comment should be in service of supporting or defending that thesis.
Paragraphs Two, Three, and Four: Argument and Support
Explain your topic and your argument in greater detail by drawing upon facts, logical reasoning, or the ideas of others; provide evidence and support for your argument; and engage with your critics or those who may disagree with you.
Note: be sure that your ideas follow one another logically, and that each paragraph makes no more than one main point articulated in the form of a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.
Paragraph Five (or final paragraph): Conclusion
As always your final paragraph should reiterate in some interesting way your overall argument and remind the reader why that argument matters.

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