With costs soaring and debts deepening, many students, universities, and lovers of learning are turning to online and blended programs that reduce or eliminate physical class time. Georgia Tech, for example, recently rolled out an online computer science master’s program incorporating large scale lectures, smaller online discussions, and individual assignments. The program costs less than half of the price of its on-campus master’s degree. Until college fees come down, or even if they do, we will probably see more and more of these hybrid programs. In fact, Rukuku hopes that we can host many of them here.
Beyond the move to online learning environments, greater accountability will help. Writing on behalf of the non-profit think tank Educational Sector, Andrew Gillen recommends that the Department of Education provide information pairing graduation rates and student loan default rates at colleges and universities. In this way, students can make better informed decisions. And for their part, students need to pay more attention to graduation rates and average debt loads for graduates at perspective universities. Some of President Obama’s recent proposals on higher education relate to this accountability issue, and we will discuss those in our next post.
Overall, more universities should realize that the music may soon stop on this higher education game, and less expensive-online competitors are quickly filling the seats behind them. The US is known worldwide for the quality of education provided at its universities. The costs are also well-known and sadly becoming the more prominent feature. With the internet greatly expanding the avenues for education, some universities may find they’ve priced themselves out of the market.