'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.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.