To sum up: higher education has overbuilt capacity for a student demand which has started to wane. America has overshot its carrying capacity for college and university population, and our institutions are scrambling for strategic responses.
In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education. The cost of an MSU credit hour has multiplied since 1979. So has the federal minimum wage. But today, it takes 60 hours of minimum-wage work to pay off a single credit hour, which was priced at $428.75 for the fall semester.
Educators say that many parents, especially among the poor and immigrants, do not know that talking, as well as reading, singing and playing with their young children, is important. “I’ve had young moms say, ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to talk to my baby until they could say words and talk to me,’ ” said Susan Landry, director of the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas in Houston, which has developed a home visiting program similar to the one here in Providence.
Harvard Business School is taking a different path in online education. Rather than offering free courses to the masses or creating a full online degree, it’s rolling out a $1,500, two-month program targeted at college students and recent graduates. Though its new platform is inspired by social networks and gaming platforms, the core of the curriculum will be the 100-year-old, case study teaching method, which HBS is known for.
If the program—CORe (Credential of Readiness)—works, it could give Harvard access to a huge market beyond traditional MBA candidates. Its three courses: Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting are designed to give those with no business background a basic set of business tools. The CORe begins in June and by the fall, HBS plans to add more courses and instruction in other languages.
» via Quartz
As the College Board overhauls the panic-inducing SAT admissions exam, it’ll be giving Khan Academy access to actual test questions in the hopes of creating a sophisticated learning program aimed at test prep otherwise reserved to wealthier students. “So big picture success is that access to college (and success in life) becomes much less dependent on income and much more dependent on merit,” Khan Academy Founder, Sal Khan, writes to me. “We think we can make the playing field more level by making the best-in-class tool and making it free. We hope that beyond individual students, these tools become adopted by after-school and college readiness programs.”
Too much of the public discourse on the value of higher education is driven by staid understanding of universities as degree mills that are easily replaced by online counterparts. But there is tremendous value in a campus, and universities would be well served to emphasize it and support its underlying activities. Likewise, MOOCs and other online education platforms need to recognize these factors to truly add or complement their vaue. We need to be careful here, or we really will end up with a situation where there are, as famously predicted, only 10 universities left in the world. Or we end up with a bunch of isolated online courses without a shared culture.
the demand isn’t for education, per se, it’s for what we believe education can provide: a secure, stable life
Every once in a while, education policy squeezes its way onto President Obama
Only about 10 percent of the money that’s spent on institutions of higher education actually goes to educating students, according to Robert Samuels, president of the American Federation of Teachers at the University of California.
The rest goes to athletic programs, hospitals, medical schools, industrial and government research and other programs not related to instruction.