'The Ivory Tower' examines the rising cost of college in America

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Ivory' is dryly informative, laying out most of the issues surrounding the huge increase in college tuition.

Samuel Goldwyn Films
Debt protest as seen in 'The Ivory Tower.'

Andrew Rossi’s dryly informative documentary “Ivory Tower” lays out most, though certainly not all, of the major issues surrounding the sky-high increase in college tuition that is plaguing the cause of higher education in America. The litany of frightening statistics includes this: In absolute terms, the cost of college has gone up more than 1,000 percent since 1978 and the amount of student debt has topped $1 trillion. Even the state school system, in which tuitions used to be traditionally low or nonexistent, is not immune: Sixty-eight percent of students at public universities don’t graduate within four years.

Rossi investigates the increasing use of massive open online courses and other flexible programs and talks to such education experts as Columbia professor Andrew Delbanco, who veers off topic at one point to offer up the film’s hoariest reflection: “You get a year older and your students are always the same age.” Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for some suggestive and partying images.)

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