Disruption in Higher Education

It appears that the ‘disruption’ in higher education almost entirely revolves around money. in the book College Unbound, by Jeffery Selingo, he mentions five ‘disruptions’: colleges spending more than they can handle; tax’s are giving less money to schools; not as many students can afford full tuition; other sources of information are looking more promising (I.E. Khan Academy); the pay off of getting a degree is getting smaller. All five of these are driven by financial means. For the other sources of information, the reason they are looking more promising is because they are less expensive or free, not because they offer a better education. These problems do not seem as though they are going to be permanent, but the consequence is still very large. As long as there are these issues, fewer people are going to be able to get a better education. Beyond impacting the individuals, this will impact society as a whole. Fewer people will be educated, which means, in our democratic system the average voter will be less educated and likely more prone to making a decision without understanding all of its consequences. Unfortunately, all of the ‘disruptions’ are purely negative in terms of education just becoming further out of reach, save the promise of alternative sources of education. While I hope that society does not do away with traditional higher education for say online education, it seems as though it would certainly be a good thing to have. Even if the financial crisis is solved, not everybody can afford higher education, so having a well developed foundation for teaching at reduced prices seem to be a very useful thing. When times are hard, it can help more people that can no longer afford traditional education. When the economy is better, it is still relevant for those who still cannot afford or for other reasons cannot go to a traditional college. So, it appears that even though traditional colleges are getting hit hard, there is still potential for another form of higher education to help educate people.


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