As college tuition skyrockets and student debt explodes, a powerful new documentary reveals a nationwide fight for control of the heart, soul and finances of America’s public universities.
Starving the Beast tells the story of a potent one-two punch roiling public higher education right now: 35 years of systematic defunding and a well financed market oriented reform effort. It’s the story of a little known and misunderstood ideological fight, the outcome of which will change the future of public higher education.
The film reveals an historic philosophical shift that reframes public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the student as a consumer, rather than an investment in citizens as a ‘public good’. Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education.
The film vividly illustrates these issues in unfolding dramas at six public research universities: University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Louisiana State University, University of Texas, and Texas A&M.
One of those rare films that taps into issues so current that they’re part of the national zeitgeist (inflated tuition, student debt and radical conservative politics) even before release STARVING THE BEAST struck a public nerve. The film’s 2016 SXSW world premiere generated critical acclaim and national coverage (Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post and Inside Higher Ed) and generated more than 400 requests for the film from across the country (including nearly 200 colleges and universities.)