Saving Higher Education (Opinion)

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, November 12, 2012

While browsing through the Dartmouth College Bookstore in New Hampshire recently I came across a book with a bold title: Saving Higher Education. Anyone who knows higher education knows it is an industry that is experiencing more change today than it has at any time since Harvard was established as the United States' first college in 1636.

New delivery systems— from digital textbooks to MOOCs— are dramatically altering and impacting the traditional classroom model of learning. Information once communicated only by a professor is now on every student's computer. Textbooks are no longer static resources -- digital versions can be instantly updated.

Even with these changes in access to education, today approximately 60 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. do not have college degrees. With studies showing that people with college degrees have higher earning potential and shifts in our economy creating increased demand for workers with advanced training, President Barack Obama has challenged colleges and universities to expand their opportunities for access to education so that by 2020, America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

So, clearly, there is a need for institutions of higher learning now more than ever. In order to accommodate not only more students, but also those of diverse economic and social backgrounds, universities must look closely at the value of their degrees and their models for instruction. Universities are investing additional resources to provide quality education, and many institutions across the country have increased their tuition as a result.

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