Skip to comments.Solving the College Affordability Problem
Posted on 04/04/2011 3:10:45 PM PDT by Kaslin
How much should a college education cost? According to the College Board, the average cost of earning a degree at a private, 4-year university is now more than $100,000. If tuition prices continue to rise as quickly as they did during the past decade, a college degree will cost more than $200,000 by the time todays third-graders are applying. That price tag is enough to cause most parents to break into a sweat.
Is a college degree really worth this cost? Some bright minds think Americans are paying way too much. In fact, Bill Gates--one of the country's most famous college dropouts--thinks it should be closer to zero. He told an audience last summer: Five years from now, on the web, for free youll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.
One could argue that the bright future Gates described is already here. The Massachusetts Institute for Technology has already put all of its instructional materials, including lectures, online and made it available for free. Other schools, including many elite universities, are following suit. For example, using iTunes University, you can already download free lectures from Stanford, Yale, and dozens of other colleges.
The trend of a free and open higher education system will revolutionize higher education, and fundamentally change the way that the world learns. As Gates argues, someday soon, anyoneanywhere in the worldwith internet access will be able to learn from the best professors and teachers.
Of course, access to instruction isn't the only, or even primary, reason why most American students go to college. A big part of what todays students are purchasing for that $100,000 is the degree itselfthe credential that signals to employers and society in general that one is able to learn and can survive four years of classes and exams.
But alternative credentialing systems, like AP tests and CLEP exams, are already in place. And the realization of Bill Gates's vision of free online higher education will surely be followed by new credentialing systems that allow people who learn online to prove their accomplishments and signal their value to employers.
Forward thinking elected officials now have the opportunity to expedite the arrival of the free college era, andin the processsolve a major problem for American families while providing big relief for taxpayers and federal and state budgets.
For too long, efforts to solve the college access and affordability problem have focused on increasing subsidiesgrants, loans, and scholarshipsfor students to attend college. Increased student aid subsidies have contributed to todays high tuition prices. The College Board reports that total federal support for all forms of college student aid programs was $146 billion in 2010an increase of 136 percent over just a decade ago.
Instead of this continuing this failed approachan approach we simply can no longer affordelected officials should focus on dramatically lowering the costs associated with earning a college education. For example, Governor Rick Perry recently called on the Texas higher education system to develop a new program through which students can earn a college degree for only $10,000. Presumably, this initiative will take advantage of the exciting efficiencies that are happening thanks to online learning.
Leaders in Washington and in state capitals around the country should follow Governor Perrys lead. Governors and state legislatures should require state-funded universities to follow schools like MITputting lectures and course content online for free. Like Texas, state higher education systems should create new credentialing systems to allow people who learn online to demonstrate their mastery and work towards a degree.
Congress and the administration have a responsibility to taxpayers to support reforms that will lower the $150 billion annual burden of student aid programs. For example, Congress could require a college that receives a certain level of direct federal subsidies place a percentage of its instructional content online for free. This initiative would follow the tradition of the Library of Congresscreating a national library of college lectures that all citizens can use. President Obama could use his bully pulpit to challenge universities across the country to do their part to solve a critical national problem.
Very few of our countrys many, big problems have simple and inexpensive solutions. We cant afford to pass this one up.
In India, it is 4700 for 4 years including Food, supervision, and Boarding.
Before Americans scoff, these people are being hired left and right by Fortune 500 companies.
India could be the next great education outsource destination.
That is what it should costs, and would cost if the government got out of the business of paying for it and the schools actually had to compete for students.
Even better, we could keep all the Indians in India, and the Chinese in China and out of American Universities and that would lower the cost quite a bit. Supply and demand and all that.
bump for later
Freeeee college! Yeah, you betcha.
Except the only thing they’ll need to know by then will be how to speak Chinese.
The majority of the students from India and China were already hired by US Companies, they are going back to school to get either the same degree they already have or to get a similar degree.
Most of the cost of schools have to do with all the costs associated with advancing the schools gravitas related to research etc....
The cheap loans allowed the universities to overcharge the non-minority kids to provide "scholarships" to the minority students, most of whom never graduate.
As long as the federal government is involved in who gets loans and why, our economy and entire way of life will be forever screwed.
100-200k is just the tuition, books are extra.
How much is it worth to you?
Let me offer a brief anecdotal observation from someone who has been to college five times since 1974.
The first time around, college was difficult. Classes were tough. People “washed out.” The second time around, classes were somewhat difficult, and counseling was offered to those who couldn’t make it. The third time around, classes were easy, and no one really failed, so no one had to drop out unless they had financial problems. The fourth time around, classes were blindingly stupid, the professors were ideologues, and the only way you got less than an A was being a white male student.
In an interesting turn of events, I’m now earning a master’s degree online. The cost is one-fourth of the same courses at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks (number four on the list) and one-third the cost of the University of Oregon (number two on the list). The courses are moderately difficult, and since everything takes place online, there appears to be none of the skin color fetish I’ve witnessed at other colleges. The degree program is worth the $5,000 I’m paying.
Online college is a lot like homeschooling for elementary and secondary students. At the right institution, I’d recommend it.
Just my two cents.
My son saved a lot of money by attending community college, then finishing at an in-state public school for two years. With all the money he saved, he was able to afford a masters at a highly regarded private school.
“India could be the next great education outsource destination.”
India already is a growing source of outsourced medical care: surgeries there (performed by MDs just as qualified as US doctors) are 1/10 the cost.
When I got my BS in Microbiology 1980, an average, non-major, textbook cost $12-$15. At the time we thought that was excessive. All of my Microbiology courses at UNC were actually taught within the UNC School of Medicine, so you paid Medical School texbook costs. Those were exorbitant at $25.
Nowadays, with two daughters just out of college average textbooks go for in excess of $125 and up (and up and up). I haven’t a clue what Med School texbooks go for nowadays. I remember seeing the two volume set Texbook of Surgery going for an exorbitant $75 in 1980. I shudder to think what it goes for now. “sell the car honey, I need to get the Textbook of Surgery for next semester!!!”
Yes, but the lead doctors have all been to US Schools and had practices in the US. As this expertise is transfered to India, look for this to change as well.
The only difference, luxury and the long plane flight.
Undergraduates? Really? When was the last time you were on a selective university's campus.
And I don't care if they are visa holders who already have jobs and going for further education. That just means there's two reasons to send them back.
American Students are doing the math, it makes no sense for them to go for an Engineering Degree based on how much they will make vs the cost.
These people will either do the work here or over there. It isn’t going to be done by Americans because the cost of the schooling is way too high. These people going after Masters and PHds are the cream of the crop sucked over here by companies using H1B visas.
Even if the program is killed and they all go home, the work would follow them back and not stay here. It costs only 30k a year for an engineer over there. In the US, it costs 40k just for an engineer’s benefits without even thinking about their salary.
The only way to get Americans back in these jobs is to radically reduce the costs. Reducing foreign students that pay for citizen students will cause them to increase rather than decrease tuition on everyone.
Don’t be knee-jerk anti-foreigner. They more than pay their way.
The only issue I have, is foreigners crowding out citizens willing to pay. Colleges and Universities claim they don’t do this but because of the foreigners being more successful in school (many are taking the class for the second time), this is the result on a lot of campuses.
If the kid graduates, after having spent $100-200,000, his parents lost their nest egg OR he will be faced with paying back those expensive loans while working at some dinky job. There are very few jobs that actually REQUIRE anything you learned in undergraduate school today, anyway. Yeah, employers want to see your degree, but only for as long as the guy at Subway wants to see your driver’s license.
Undergrad degrees are NOT worth the money. They have become 13th through 16th grades.
I would think that if you went to a company and showed the boss how you completed all the required courses online and took CLEP tests and proved it, the boss should be impressed that you have already proven you could save money, which every company wants to do.
And $100,000 is way too much money to party and have hot sex on roofs. You could get a job anywhere and do all that for free.
Likely, he already did...these doctors moved from practices in the US back to India....many are in the process of moving back because of the BS bureaucracy in the US ... a.k.a. Obamacare.
“and the only way you got less than an A was being a white male student.”
...or an avowed conservative. Students oppose the doctrinaire leftist ideology at their own peril. In universities, diversity is great as long as its not diversity of political views.
If they dropped all the BS courses and BS professors Like Bill Ayres and his wife, Angela Davis, Karenga who invented Kwaanza, who teach stuff like Black History. Socialism, Arab studies,If they dropped al those feel good liberal BS courses , and teach what is needed it could easily cut the costs.
There is a reason why our country is facing a critical Obstetrician crisis. They can no longer afford the malpractice insurance so they are switching to Internal Medicine or Family Practice, where the insurance is still manageable.
I earned my BS in Engineering in 1984. Non major used books were $20 to $30 and I had one new EE book run me over $300. That book was updated regularly and so was only good for a year and the book stores refused to buy them back.
I won't even get into the cost of my books for my Masters.
My econometrics text for this term was $180. The lowest I could find for a used one online was still over $100.
>>>>...or an avowed conservative. Students oppose the doctrinaire leftist ideology at their own peril. In universities, diversity is great as long as its not diversity of political views.<<<
Well, I’m here. That’s enough right there to get a B- in some quarters.
The fascinating thing to observe is that the leftist intellectuals throw the f-bomb around like its confetti at a parade and use the smear like the worst high school sophomore - yet they have advanced degrees. In comparison, all I have to do is read the posts here, many of which are polite, passionate, and focus on the topic at hand. I’ll take my B- if that’s what it means.
As someone who retired from a university after forty years and at sixty-seven years of age, there are many things that could be done to lower costs. When I was an assistant professor in 1973 I taught five courses and usually had couple of independent study students. A full professor taught four courses and could buy reduced time from research funding. By the time I retired in 2008 a full professor only taught one course per semester without buying time off and an assistant professor only taught three courses to give them time for independent scholarly activities.
If faculty carried the same loads today the costs would be drastically reduced.
There's three logical contradictions in this portion of the post. You want me to list them or do you want to re-think it first?
Reducing foreign students that pay for citizen students will cause them to increase rather than decrease tuition on everyone.
I guess in your world there's no supply and demand price curve.
Dont be knee-jerk anti-foreigner.
My knee need not jerk at all to be anti-foreigner. I can do it sitting completely still.
The only issue I have, is foreigners crowding out citizens willing to pay. Colleges and Universities claim they dont do this but because of the foreigners being more successful in school (many are taking the class for the second time), this is the result on a lot of campuses.
I gave a solution to this, but you came up with a muddled way to reject it.
I recently purchased a new copy of the “Atlas of Clinical Microbiology of Infectious Diseases”......$375. Good grief.
My son had well known and articulated conservative views in college and was not bashful in stating them. In spite of this, miraculously he somehow graduated with good grades. I think it was maily because he was likable and worked hard.
Colleges and Universities want to indoctrinate people. Not make it affordable. The education system is a mess.
Without moral and ethical education and standards college is a contagious mortal plague of secularism. It destroys the host.
Bill Gates is right in only a superficial theory of a fantasy that ignores key human natures.
Here’s a clue: College today is about the sports team or the Ivy name branding. Social aspects. Not at all about education.
Will Gates set a Microsoft policy that colleges history is to be forcefully ignored, if not counted negatively, in hiring? Let him back up his delusional fantasies with real action, and learn the outcome of the experiment.
Ive been “attending” Khan Academy http://www.khanacademy.org/ for the past few days, trying to learn the Calculus which I missed 45 years ago - I was too busy “being a college student” to study!
I’ve also “taken” a few of the MIT classes via YouTube. It is great to find this article and the link to the MIT OpenCourseWare!
Next step is to go to the town mayor and a realtor to see if we can get a long-term-vacant strip mall building to use as a free/lowcost “I Am Hungry For Learning” academy using Online Courses and out of work professionals as mentors.
Need to add a bunch of W. Edwards Deming’s quality teaching. We will pull ourselves out of this recession by demonstrating to potentially relocating businesses that we have a workforce eager to learn & produce quality products.
There IS a way to do it!
I hope that's true.
I just ordered the books for one of the MIT courses and will see how it goes.
Buying posh homes
Buying posh cars
Buying posh wardrobes
Buying posh hookers
“Heres a clue: College today is about the sports team or the Ivy name branding. Social aspects. Not at all about education.”
Which is why we’re having problems with jobs and workers. Too many (as I’ve said a million times) are getting degrees just to get a job that will secure them an income, not in fact a degree that will teach them something and that will end up benefiting the company and the country.
You would end up revolutionizing the way things are done.
That's an advanced excuse for waiting for someone else.
I would, however, like to encourage you to do exactly what you said you would do!
My prior statement is just another bridge further down the road. Do what you said you would, and G-d willing, you will be able to build a bridge to the next level up. May not be the one you thought ... you’ll see. Godspeed!
I do not have capital to start a business. Do you? If so, “Come on down!”
What I am saying is that we could market a better product, that is, workforce labor, than our competitors in another city, state or country.
We need to wake up in America and realize that we have to compete with the rest of the world or be left behind. My wife & I made a trip to Vietnam in 2004, my first time back since 1969. The final three days were in Saigon. It appears that there are more capitalists in Saigon than in Charlotte. Charlotte has a lot of employees working in a capitalist system, but not that many entrepreneurs.
Nowadays, the common perception of the way to gain wealth is by working the system, the stock market, commodities futures, etc. rather than producing goods to meet the needs and wants of the customer. What percentage of the “good guys” in movies or TV shows are producers of “stuff”? Most are manipulators of the system, “artists” or sports figures.
About 9 years ago, I was tasked with finding an Indian engineering/data services company for a project for my US employer. I would not have been competitive for a job with the Indian company we selected.
Actually, the company was owned by a naturalized US citizen of Indian birth. They had offices in Crystal City, VA and Hyderabad. An absolutely OUTSTANDING company in reputation and the quality of work they did for us. They exceeded our expectations.
American companies, managers and workers must realize that we are competing with Germans, Swiss, Dutch, Swedes, Japanese, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Singaporeans, Indians & Chinese.
No I do not. Have any capital besides upstairs. But capital doesn’t start businesses. Starting businesses starts businesses.