Last week’s announcement that Sweet Briar College would close in August came as a shock to many. Some alumnae have organized a fundraising campaign to keep Sweet Briar alive and others are wondering why a college with an $84 million endowment and 700 students had to close while it still had cash in the bank. The board cited an unsustainable enrollment decline as one of the reasons.
Cost of a Degree
At a recent conference entitled “What is Liberal Education For?,” scholars gathered at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of its Santa Fe campus as well as to continue the debate about the merits of a wide, knowledge-encompassing degree versus something more practical and focused.
An article in Inside Higher Ed discusses the efforts by the Australian government to deregulate tuition and fees by 2016 and the potential consequences for students if that occurs. Naturally, the discussion leads to tuition discounting as it exists in the United States. The writer references a July 2014 survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) that finds that among 401 nonprofit colleges and universities, nearly 90 percent of the freshmen class were receiving grants equivalent to nearly a 50 percent discount on tuition.
Few topics dominate the discussion about higher education more than affordability. This is a global issue that deserves continual examination as to the relationship between the cost and outcomes of earning a degree. Central to this debate are a few publications that are capturing unique views that I’d like to share. First, I keep up with the British perspective by reading Times Higher Education, which covers research and policy articles addressing the cost benefits of college along with many other relevant topics.
Pew Research Center has just published a compelling report, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.” Based on a nationwide study of 2,000+ adults supplemented by recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Pew found that on almost every measure of economic and career attainment, Millenials (adults between the ages of 25 to 32) with a college degree outperform their counterparts with less education.
Last month, the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Renewing America initiative published a progress report and scorecard on federal education policy, providing striking comparisons between the US system and those found in other developed nations. The report sheds light on the grimmest details of federal education policy and the shortcomings that led to the nation’s decline in worldwide educational rankings.
(keynote delivered at the Distance Learning Administration Conference on June 5, 2013)
I began writing this speech nearly three months ago. A week and a half ago, I wrapped it up and thought I had better run through it one last time in case any new educational technology had been released that I needed to discuss today.
On May 16, 2013, The Atlantic published an article written by Chester Finn, titled “Why Private Schools Are Dying Out.” Finn explores private schools in America and why they’re “dying out.” While most of the article discusses the situation as it applies to private schools, the author also writes that non-elite, private colleges are also burdened with similar challenges, namely needing to heavily discount tuition in order to attract students.
This article is part 2 of a 2 part series reviewing the results of Inside Higher Ed’s most recently-released surveys. The first survey took the pulse of higher education from the perspective of college and university presidents. The second survey asked largely similar questions of parents of students in grades 5 through 12. While both offer insightful glimpses into the ways in which each group views the current trends in online education, there are notable differences in how respondents of the two surveys view the higher educational situation in America today.
During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, fewer articles about higher education are published, primarily because colleges and universities are closed and faculty, students, and administrators are not around. On December 28, 2012, however, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Deans List: Hiring Spree Fattens College Bureaucracy- and Tuition.” The article doesn’t appear to have been picked up in too many other places.