Is the Higher Education Value Proposition broke?
With escalating tuition, fees, books, room, board…accelerating competition from disruptive alternative knowledge access/learning technologies…ballooning student debts and record unemployment…plus proliferating alternative economic lifestyles in which entrepreneurial success does not depend on college degree, is higher education a threatened institution?
There is certainly a class of students that are caught in the economy that will suffer longer payback periods. When the economy rebounds, those students will rebound. They will be in a better place to compete for employment. There are other students that attend Higher Education for reasons other than career or employment.
Many artists and musicians study for the love of their art and musicians and simply don’t care about the money – it’s all about the performance, the troupe, the band and demonstrating their gifts. Many scientists, doctors and researchers choose the path of higher education because that is where the edge of knowledge is, and contributing to that is more important to them than the money. Many students go to school on free rides from sports, scholarships or wealthy parents. It’s the segment of the student population that has to finance an education is the one that the system seems to be broken for.
Higher Education is a large vertical market, there are lots of choices from community colleges to state colleges to a wide range of private schools to church-sponsored schools and military acadamies. Picking an expensive school is a family choice, and perhaps not the smartest. Is it broke for the professors, the administrators, the alumni? Doesn’t seem to be. So while some of the parts seem out of balance, and there may be some breakage, I don’t think the system itself is broken – just unstable and attempting to adjust…