Public Agenda

The Iron Triangle

College Presidents Talk about Costs, Access and Quality


“The Iron Triangle” examines the views of more than two dozen college and university presidents who shared their thoughts with us in lengthy, one-on-one interviews. We found that in the view of many college and university presidents, the three main factors in higher education—cost, quality, and access—exist in what we call an iron triangle, and any change in one will inevitably impact the others. This is in opposition to the public, business and government leaders, who don't accept the idea that there is necessarily a reciprocal relationship between cost, quality, and access.

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