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Philadelphia — Patrick T. Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, urged federal and state governments — and American society — to recommit to public postsecondary education. He addressed a virtual audience at a symposium on the financial viability of colleges and universities hosted by the Philadelphia Fed. Calling post-high school education an “indispensable tool for economic and social mobility and to educating our citizenry,” Harker suggested investments in training programs as well as in community and four-year colleges.

Harker, a former university president, clarified that he was not calling for “blank checks” to the higher education industry and suggested a number of reforms, including changes to faculty-hiring practices and the intelligent use of technology. Colleges and universities “must urgently bend the cost curve. For society to recommit to them, it is incumbent on them to change,” he said.