Skip to comments.Why College May Be Totally Free Within 10 Years
Posted on 10/15/2012 6:35:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Higher education is in transition and with a coming proliferation in online courses could be totally free for many within a decade. The status quo won't yield easily. But this is looking like a real answer to runaway student debt.
NANTUCKET, Massachusetts As few as 10 years from now, quality higher education will be largely freeunless, of course, nothing much has changed. It all depends on whom you believe. But one thing is clear: The debate about financing education grows louder by the day.
Experts with a wide range of views on the subject, including the always-interesting Harvard professor and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, weighed in last weekend at the Nantucket Project, a big-think conference in the spirit of TED and Aspen Ideas Festival. The most provocative, though, were hedge fund billionaire Peter Thiel and the author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa.
Thiel has gotten a lot of attention for his view that higher education is broken, and that many kids would be better off saving their money and going straight from high school into a trade or developing a business. His 20 under 20 fellowship grants high school graduates with a sound business idea $100,000 if they agree to skip college and go right to work on their idea.
Wadhwas views are less well known, even though he served as a counter-point interview last May on a 60 Minutes segment featuring Thiel. Wadhwa has unwavering faith in the power of technology to fix much of what is wrong with the world, and he believes that online courses will revolutionize higher education and cut the cost to near zero for most students over the next decade.
(Excerpt) Read more at moneyland.time.com ...
If by “free” they mean “worthless” than, yes, it’s rapidly approaching that point.
Ive always said education should be free, as long as you can maintain a good grade point average and be taking classes that lead to a specific degree.
Free? That means money’s just gonna fall from Heaven to pay for any stupid courses any doped-up kid wants to take? Yippppeeee! What a glorious idea! Free! Free! Free!
Students know it.
What we need are test (think bar exam) to perform the accreditation process.
... just have to spend another minute running the printing press, or sell another bond that our kids pay.
So many people think the only way to learn something is to sit in a classroom.
If standards in education were as high as they were 50 years ago, this wouldn’t be an issue.
People would rather see 80% of adults with meaningless degrees than 40% with sharp intellects and genuine knowledge. The universities are obliging, because who doesn’t like to make money?
Sounds good. The endless Geico ads interrupting the online class will be VERY annoying, however.
There are a lot of young people who are going to college who have no business in college. I’m not saying they are stupid; its just that college isn’t for everyone. Yet our society mindlessly pushes everyone to go to college. Most entry level jobs do not require college. And most people who advance in their positions can learn on the job. I have always been in favor of most young people — probably 2/3rds — going directly to work or being in a program where they work and go to school at the same time. And a lot of people would be better off going to trade school too. Trade school has an unfairly bad reputation. Some are rip offs but many are very good and kids would do a lot better spending two or four years working and going to trade school part time than four years of college.
Never, it's a government program. The closest thing to eternal life. (Reagan)
If public schools merely taught kids critical thinking and how-to-learn, and the go-to points in history and literature, then they would be able to balance the nonsense on the internet and news media and be productive citizens whether they knew algebra or not.
By teaching and testing “facts” kids are given the impression that they have are sufficiently omniscient to have opinions and insight that are important, when they are not. yet.
Yeah, sure. You can take free online courses, but will get NO COLLEGE CREDIT. So that’s great if you’re just seeking knowledge—not so great if you actually want a degree. When Massive Online Courses are offered free for no credit, the drop out rates are horrendous. Even for a good class, people will lose interest if there’s no “Vig” at the end.
As long as colleges offer credits, they will charge. Online courses might be cheaper for colleges to run, but they will pocket the difference. Count on it.
They have been setting the stage for a Student Loan Forgiveness proposal for several years. I expect Obama to pull the trigger on this any day now.
I knew it was coming several years back when an engineer I know told me of a fistfight that erupted at his workplace. Several of his colleagues who were $30-40K in debt for their Masters Degrees ended up having to work with an engineer here on H1B who got his Doctorate 100% paid for by his home government.
When they learned this it was explosive. As it could be at the ballot box.
Messy last sentence above due to publik skool education.
Any argument that starts with the contention that something is free is a losing argument.
Any higher education should start with the lesson, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." If you are incapable of learning that lesson, then anything more is a waste of time. Trying to teach a horse to sing just wastes your time and annoys the horse.
FREE? Are you f##king nuts? Who pays for the physical plant, the teacher's salaries, the course materials, etc.?
This article is about universities going to the accreditation business and learning online. Still, he admits that
Wadhwa allows that there will always be students able and willing to pay for a traditional college experience and for them it will be a worthwhile investment. But for the vast majority, from a financial standpoint that kind of education makes no sense and is fast becoming unnecessary. He believes the higher education revolution is coming soon and will happen fastperhaps fast enough to keep the next generation from finishing school with debts they may never be able to pay.
There are over 900,000 foreign students attending US colleges. Why? Because they pay full tuition costs--some even supplemented by the USG.
How about getting the government completely out of education and educational funding. Then people might actually learn something useful or something at all.
Government schools are a failure. They are calling for more government involvement in higher education as the call for free healthcare for all started.
Slines -- from "baselines". These are low-performing people who lack the ability or skills to be productive members of society. Think "white trash" or "ghetto trash". If someone has potential, then they are not a Sline. If someone is a hopeless drain on society, then they are a Sline.
Thetes -- from "aesthete". These are earthy-crunchy artistic hippies who don't think productive work is worth their while. They want to be artists, writers, or deep thinkers. They might be able to contribute to society, but they choose not to. Instead, they might become community organizers, or writers for Time magazine.
I see a lot of people in college who are either Slines or Thetes. As far as I'm concerned, people with real potential should have a better alternative, where they can really make something of themselves without hanging out with such losers. Education is a good thing -- but we waste a lot of it on people who will never be productive.
“Ive always said education should be free, as long as you can maintain a good grade point average and be taking classes that lead to a specific degree.”
Education IS free. Always has been. Getting a degree is not. And not necessarily better or more valuable.
The government is determined that its chosen classes will eventually read and cypher at the eigth grade level.
Even if they have to go through 4 years of free and watered down college.
It costs 60k a year for private college and 25k a year for public college, but those numbers include room and board.
I can see how tuition can be on line and free. But how do you do room and board for free. Plus there is the semester overseas that is traditional education, spring break, girls spending money to look good to boys, boys doing stuff to attract girls. And it is really hard to do chemistry, physics and biology labs online without hands on experience.
Plus doing a concert on line, a school play on line, etc. is also challenging.
“So many people think the only way to learn something is to sit in a classroom.”
I actually had a 40 year old engineer tell me once, “I wish I had studied compilers in college because I’ve always wanted to understand them.” I said, “SoftPro book store has at least a dozen books on the subject and they’re just a mile away. Go for it.” He replied, “That’s stupid! It’s not the same!”
His parents were “educators” in the People’s Republic of Boulder and he felt if a person didn’t sit in a classroom, get assigned labs, and take tests they couldn’t possibly know the subject matter.
“I expect Obama to pull the trigger on this any day now.”
I do, too. If he wants to pull millions of votes his way all he has to do is let a report come out that says student loan are a major burden on society and that if the rich banks can get bailouts so can all Americans. (The student loan debt is less than the bank bailouts) He would instantly secure at least 10 million votes of those people with high student loan debts and secure the election.
Not every school will follow this type of model, but it only takes a handful of BIG ones to drive the cost down down down.
None of the BIG ones will follow such a model. This is more academic navel gazing. You can get online courses today from many universities. But it will not take the place of college campuses and exclusive private universities.
The author allows "there will always be students able and willing to pay for a traditional college experience." Translation: We will have two kinds of students depending on their ability to pay and two different qualities of education, just as we do now with the community college system.
If Obamacare is implemented, we will have two classes of health care: one for the well to do and one for the masses. This has played out in countries like the UK and Germany. One system for those who can pay and one for those subsidized by the government.
Bottomline: The author is all wet.
MIT has put much of their catalog online - here's a link. I suppose it will require full-fare to receive the sheepskin.
I agree. Rather than force students to sit through 4 years of largely useless courses (eg diversity requirement), there should simply be a test they are required to pass. If somebody is capable of passing the bar exam at age 17 after studying law independently for a few years, why should that person be required to sit through 5-7 years of expensive classes?
Yes. He will couch it as “this move will free up large amounts of disposable income for consumers to get the economy moving again”. Likely a lot of Pubbies will not have the balls to stand in the way either.
I couldn't agree more. I am a college graduate, had a long corporate career...but I am also a journeyman electrician.
Besides enjoying doing electrical work...I probably would have made a whole lot more money over the years if I had gotten my electrical license.
Trade schools are great. And we need more craftsmen...plumbers, carpenters, electricians, masons.
Education is already free. It’s a degree one needs to pay for.
“He will couch it as this move will free up large amounts of disposable income for consumers to get the economy moving again. Likely a lot of Pubbies will not have the balls to stand in the way either.”
Dead on, without question.
And it will be worth every penny.
I suppose the probability of that prospect reflects the degree of insecurity the elite perceive; i.e....as they note traditional propaganda techniques failing ...why not launch full bore into indoctrination? Not a bad gamble at preserving their station and their necks.
Free and worthless might still be better than $100,000 and worthless.
“Free” education means that someone elses economic freedom is being threatened to pay for “free”. THERE.IS.NO.FREE.LUNCH!
Can you name at least one of the existing schools that will spring forth?
I have no problem with having multiple levels of education.
Nor do I. We already have multiple levels of education. Distance learning and online courses are also part of the mix, many of them coming from both public and private universities. My daughter took an online course from Harvard. We have multiple levels and multiple differences in the quality of education.
In a free country, you HAVE multiple levels of health care, as you should. Canada outlaws nearly all private health care in the name of equality. The Brits have two tiers. The U.S. has multiple tiers (Los Angeles free clinic on up to the Mayo Clinic and elite private practices). Same is true of food. Same is true of housing.
One size doesn't fit all. Canada can have its health system because people have the alternative to go to the US. 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border.
The centeral planners and socialists like Obama think they can impose their own models on an entire country, but they don't think it applies to them. I lived in a communist country for two years. The political elites had their own stores (hard currency), housing, etc. The masses are the ones who must endure what the system has to offer.
I see this article as being somewhat condescending and definitely unrealistic. Distance learning and online courses will not replace our university system. The best way to get a handle on costs is to cut down on government subsidies. The government has made it too easy for students to borrow money. Tuition costs are going up faster than inflation. We need to reintroduce reality into the system. The government is the main culprit in driving up tuition costs because of easy loans. The universities are not being forced to respond to the pressures of the marketplace.
I see a diabolic objective in all of this. Obama has taken over the student loan program, which gives the government the ability to use student loans as a lever to influence votes. No doubt Obama could decide to excuse a large portion of student loans with the stroke of a pen. The US taxpayer would be the loser, but it is no different than the food stamp program or any other means-tested welfare program. This is just another manifestation of the welfare state.
First of all, in our fiat system, all money is debt. Secondly, the global monetary system is nothing more than a ponzi scheme; new money (ie debt) must be created to pay the accrued interest on the previous balance.
Ok, so since this describes an exponential equation, the initial part of the curve isn't that steep. But near the end of the series, it goes completely asymptotic. At that point, all asset classes & productive services are thrown into the fire to try and keep balance growing. (If not, we will experience a deflationary implosion.)
So, boys & girls, can you name/list the classes/sectors that have been thrust forward to keep the ponzi alive? It's easy to tell, because their costs have been growing far in excess of the overall economy. Military (without global war, the US would suffer an extreme depression)? Prisons (without the war-on-drugs, the US would suffer an extreme depression)? Education (without indenturing kids with $trillions of debt, the US would experience an extreme depression)? Health (what do you think Ocare is all about)?
If you want to make some money, just follow where the next bubble is being created. Or, bail out entirely knowing this mofu is going to blow, and focus on surviving the aftermath.
In Pittsburgh they have The Pittsburgh Promise.
A very large (five-figure) guaranteed scholarship to any student in the Pittsburgh Public Schools who can maintain a 2.0 and graduate.
The money came mostly from UPMC (in the form of a bribe to keep the city from looking too hard at all the untaxed property they own as a “nonprofit”.
Will be fun to watch the fireworks when Obamacare puts UPMC under and they have to yank the guarantee away from The Children.
I think there are legitimate academic merits to physically participating in person. While there may be some classes that lend themselves to online learning--your example, in which a student is studying law--do you really not think it might be wise for that student to be able to have some social interaction with like-minded students? I'm not sure that reducing every human interaction to a tersely-worded text message, sloppily-composed e-mail, or even a jumpy-looking video conference enhances our way of life.
I've seen people who've taken online classes; I'm just not impressed that their educational experiences are the same as those who participate in person.
You might well ask someone who wants to learn to play the piano the same question. Why sit through all those lessons if you can pass the written test after 20 hours of study about playing the piano?
There is much to be learned about the actual practice of a profession by being there in person. Are you going to be a successful attorney if all you know of law is the book and the computer screen?
Knowing about something and knowing how to do something are entirely different things.
Zero is running lots of ads on radio stations geared to a younger audience here in FL talking about how Romney doesn’t want people to go to school. What those sad saps don’t understand is that he wants to prop up his lib friends in academia with their skyrocketing tuition costs because all he’s interested in doing is giving out loans which will burden these “students” for a large part of their working lives.
Having people unemployed yet in school also helps his unemployment statistics. Convenient!
Which means worthless.
I know several kids, ours included, who paid no tuition and lived at home, so no room and board and used this method to complete their degrees tuition free (catch is you need to live close to major state school and/or private universities.)
The plan: 1. AA from Community College using Dual Credit program which gives them the AA and HS diploma at the same time. 2. Make good grades and earn a merit scholarship to a state institution pays free tuition (I know they have these programs in Florida and Georgia.) 3. Grad school, do well on your GMAT or GRE have a good grad point on your undergrad, and be a TA which provides a stipend and pays your tuition to grad school. The trick is being willing to forgo the "college experience" by not living on campus, and living within commuting distance. Our kid's longest commute was around 35 miles each way...for the state school, and 20 miles for the private U where he did grad work. Now if gas was then, compared to what it is now, maybe it'd be cheaper to live on campus :)
I want a free boat:)
Additionally, I’ve looked at some of the MIT online offerings in computer science and engineering. There is no way your average freshmen will get much out of those. The MIT “freshman” courses are for juniors, seniors, or even graduate students at most other instititions.
I’ve always maintained that anyone can pass the Multistate portion of the Bar Exam with proper study. Law school has nothing to do with the Bar Exam.
However, as I have unfortunately learned during my years of practice, the ability to pass the Bar Exam does not mean you’re a good or even adequate attorney.
Wow! I guess the teacher’s unions have had a real change of heart and have convinced all of their members to voluteer their time instead of being paid.
And all of those buildings, built and maintained by volunteers!
This is a miracle! But I guess it only makes sense, following the path of free healthcare.