Saturday, April 21, 2012

The College Campus Needs to Go Extinct

I don't understand why the college campus, with its monumental costs and inconvenient access, continues to exist. 

Entities should be created to aggregate course credits and award degrees, with students able to take courses anywhere (in-person in individual hotel rooms, apartments, and, where necessary, classrooms and labs) and offered by professional associations, private education companies, and yes, traditional colleges and universities. 

I understand that traditionally, high school graduates view the campus experience as a halfway house between living with their parents and independent adulthood, but the price has become absurd: $250,000 sticker price for four years at brand-name private colleges--and most students take longer than four years. Yet students, ever afraid to not do what their friends do, go--After all, their parents are paying. And parents, nostalgic for their own college years, and not wanting to even be perceived as short-changing their child, suck it up, sacrifice their financial security and more, and pay the inconceivably large amount, or stick their head in the sand by taking on massive amount of student loan, practically the only loan--thanks to the higher education lobbying machine-- that is almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.

It is a travesty that student fees subsidize universities' research, the vast majority of which is apriori known to be a terribly cost-ineffective use of student and taxpayer money. In addition, it's forced charity--much of the sticker price is redistributed to the poor, and to a lesser extent to athletes, "underrepresented" minorities, etc. It's also wrong that students and taxpayers be forced to pay for swimming pools, golf courses, etc. HERE is quite an example.

The college campus has become an expensive dinosaur and deserves to become extinct. 


Maria Lopez said...

I think it probably will for the vast majority of students.
Science need laboratories but these could be free standing if drug laws don't block them. A business like this for elementary and high school home schoolers exists in Berkeley.

Art, music, sports, and martial arts are also commonly taught by institutions other than universities.

Some people, however, need colleges. Wealthy folk will always go to the Ivy League as well certain small colleges. Military officers need both common experience and to learn the military culture and lifestyle. They will probably always have service academies. Similarly, seminaries and yeshivas probably won't go away.

Anonymous said...

It seems that universities can't really become extinct until employers view an online accredited degree the same as an on-campus degree.

Are employers beginning to make the shift and hire based on completing online course training?

Marty Nemko said...

They are beginning to. I believe that will accelerate. Quality of those online courses are ever improving as bandwidth gets greater and we have more experience in how to teach an online course.


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