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In their lively and entertaining weekly discussion of issues related to higher education, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore the topics of higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain. Ed and Jennifer practice what they preach, too, by introducing math puzzlers and brain teasers to keep listeners on their toes.

Higher Ed: Does It Really Matter Where You Go To College?

In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Staytondiscuss a provocative question: does it really matter where you go to college? The answer can be complicated, and it partially depends on what you are looking for.

The short answer to that question is "no." Ed says he believes students can get a good education – even a great or superior education – at many accredited institutions of higher learning.

But Ed says when it comes to students finding their way and growing, he believes the right fit with the right institution is more important.

"If you're in an environment where you do not feel that it resonates with you," says  Ed," then I don't think you're going to have that experience of growth ... I think there is a difference between thriving and learning."

Ed says a high profile school might have a name that is easily recognizable. But he says that brand awareness is not a guarantee of a good experience for every student.

"How meaningful is that name? It's about what does that institution do for you." says Ed. "You meet a lot of people that constantly are name-dropping their school.... they're living in the past. I want individuals that are looking ever forward and trying to make things better."

So who then bears the responsiblity of making the higher education experience as effective as it can be - the institution, or the student?

"I think that both parties have to bring something to the table, and I think that maybe there are people that will find that is a little bit controversial," Ed says. "And that there are students that appear on a campus and just now feel entitled to feel great and feel good and to have a nice ride.  And that's not what it's about."

Listen to the episode to hear more of Ed's thoughts on having as expansive a college experience as possible beyond just classroom learning. It is also time to reveal the answers to the last round of riddles and pave the way for the return of the puzzler.

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.

For all of the Higher Ed episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Jennifer Stayton is the local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" on KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @jenstayton.
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