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  • Our higher education system is not on the verge of collapse as we think
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 05-Feb-2013
  • There is a massive scepticism among doomsayers that for-profit companies, online courses and shadowy entrepreneurs are going to make higher education so cheap that our universities and colleges may soon be completely out of business.

    Of course, there is no reasoning in these arguments that make couple of false assumptions. For one, personalized higher education products are not produced by students who are just consumers and homogenous goals are often set by higher education participants.

    There is large-scale assumption by sceptics that everyone interested in higher education are seeking to fulfil the same goals. This means that if accepted by the employers, students will prefer choosing the cheapest available version of higher education. When students on the other hand are considered to be consumers, the higher education becomes a marketplace and it is not different from any other marketplace.

    Just like you can get a car to drive around even for $40,000 or $400,000, it is possible to get higher education at a very affordable price and at a sinfully expensive price. While some want cheap education that will get them a job, some others want the works that include institutional reputation, world famous professors, diverse student activities and state-of-art dormitories and sports facilities and they are willing to pay the price.

    Most students wanting to study in the best colleges find it easy to get financial aid and therefore tend to reach out for what they normally cannot afford. They plan out their college course, career, extracurricular activities, project work and social network with great care.

    For two students studying in the same institution, what they expect their total educational experience to be varies a lot. The same level of education from a top-rated German university will cost only a fraction of what it costs in our country. Academically, students will get the same in both places but the German institution will not have sponsored athletic teams, student clubs, sororities, fraternities, facilities, meal plans or dormitories.

    In Germany, those who wish to enjoy all the above activities have to shell our money and organize on their own. Students are basically on their own without support from their universities like in our country.

    One area where we can reduce greatly on the cost of education is to get professors to teach some or most of the curriculum online. Students however will lose out on the face-to-face interactions and networking that are so intrinsic to college experience.

    The question here is what are we willing to sacrifice in order to reduce costs? As our federal, state and local governments continue to struggle with costs; this question is playing itself out in our country on a large scale.

    Out of panic our decision makers may overreact which in turn may lead them to take decisions that can destroy rather than enhance value. For instance, institutions may be forced to cut costs by discontinuing valuable student activities in anticipation of the calamity. Universities and colleges may start offering online courses mainly to cut costs and not because they believe it is one of the best possible solutions.


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