Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Time to start thinking seriously about saving Delaware's universities

Sound strange?  Both UD and DSU have high enrollments, are rolling out new programs, and are enjoying strong acclaim in their respective categories.

And both, like at least 50% of the colleges and universities around the nation, are in a very danger of not being here in 20 years.

Impossible, you think?

Then you have not really looked at the depths of danger for the economy and higher education in the student loan bubble.  Here's Liz Peek and The Fiscal Times:
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of students enrolling in degree-conferring institutions increased 34 percent. The portion receiving federal aid skyrocketed from 31.6 percent to 47.8 percent, and the average award nearly doubled. In addition, the percentage taking out student loans climbed from 40.1 percent to 50.1 percent, and the average borrowing rose 76 percent
The ramp-up in loans to students has not only driven up costs but has undermined the value of a college degree. Some 30 percent of people ages 25 to 29 are college graduates today, up from 12 percent in the 1970s.  That is a notable achievement, unless the degrees awarded do not satisfy the needs of the job market. Richard Vedder, economics professor at Ohio University, has written that we have one million retail sales clerks and 115,000 janitors with college diplomas. At the same time, one fifth of the country’s managers say they can’t find skilled workers to fill job openings. Something is not right.  
Rising student debt is a menace--not just to the families involved but also to the economic recovery. As with housing, the government’s well-intentioned effort to make advanced education available to all has led to crippling borrowing by millions of Americans. As with housing policy, it is time for a clear-headed review of how we can promote sensible spending on advanced education. That might start with challenging why Congress – or the president – should be responsible for fixing student loan rates in the first place.
It will not be online education, per se, that destroys traditional American higher education.  That wrecking job will be done through the simple mechanism of exploding student-loan debt and the crippling expenditures that our universities have made as a result of this artificially created inflow of money.

Organizations like Coursera and Tyler Cowen's MR University will merely be around to pick up the pieces.

If you actually value higher education as we have known it, you need to start thinking now about the changes necessary for it to survive.


Duffy said...

Something that can't go on forever, won't. Education is no different. Innovate or die.

Delaware Watch said...

College and post graduate education and after high school vocational training should all be paid for by the government. Whatever justification applies to government subsidizing public school education easily extends to subsidizing college, post grad, and vocational training.

Victor said...

This is cool!