IVORY TOWER questions the purpose of higher education in an era when the price of college has increased more than for any other service in the U.S. economy since 1978. While many college graduates struggle to find menial employment waiting tables and cleaning toilets, new student loans over the next 10 years will total $184 billion. Even the once-heroic, tuition-free holdout Cooper Union in New York City now charges students, thanks in large part to hedge fund loans and flashy facilities costing more than $170 million. Filmmaker Andrew Rossi reveals the moment in history when the United States, long regarded as the epicenter of higher education, embraced a business model promoting property expansion over quality learning. Through interviews with Andrew Delbanco, Anya Kamenetz, and Internet education pioneer Daphne Koller, cofounder of the revolutionary online platform Coursera, Ivory Tower exposes the instability of traditional college education as it searches the country for alternative forms of cost-effective learning, ranging from concepts of self-governance taught at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California, to the unofficial hacker houses of northern California.