Six Ways to Reduce The Costs of Higher Education

Six Ways to Reduce The Costs of Higher Education

As a mature and prosperous nation (Trump being a hiccup along the way), higher education has moved from a luxury and the domain of the well-to-do to a career requirement for a larger and larger number of people and jobs. Colleges and Universities have responded to this change and opened their doors enthusiastically to increasing numbers of students in search of necessary and required credentials.

I wish to emphasize here the phrase “opened their doors enthusiastically” because that is what they have done, year after year. And, why not? They are a huge monopoly controlling access to an essential requirement for ever larger numbers of job seekers. What set of institutions would not want ever greater numbers of customers?

With everyone seeking to get in, America’s colleges and universities haven’t needed to change all that much. Flush with ever increasing tuition income as a result of greater and greater demand for entry, the institutions have carried on business as usual without significantly adjusting curricula and operations. Their courses and programs are much as they have always been and the education and even politics of their teachers are largely unchanged as well. Indeed, their entire modus operandi in almost all respects is much the same as decades past.

And, even more important, they have not adjusted their costs to accommodate larger and larger numbers of people begging for entry but without the wherewithal to pay for what had heretofore been a luxury item for the few. The result has been the emergence of ever larger public and private student loan programs requiring huge numbers of students to assume and carry significant debt for years beyond their time in college.

Indeed, higher education institutions have pushed tuition and related charges up with abandon year after years. Costs are now exorbitant and going higher and higher. In only a few more years, cost of higher education at many good private colleges or universities will top $100,000 per year!

These costs are ridiculous and the institutions should be forced to bring them down. Times have changed, clientele have changed, needs have changed. The institutions must change too.

It doesn’t take a genius to see lots of places and ways the institutions can meet their new challenges and provide an important service at the same time as they not only hold the line on increasing expenditures, but bring costs down significantly.

Below is a list of just six ways costs can be markedly and quickly reduced. There are many other equally effective ways as well.

1. Drop such silly, politically correct programs as ethnic studies, interdisciplinary studies, naval gazing studies, and the like.

2. Cease building luxury, expensive dorms and other facilities to create unnecessary atmospherics.

3. Operate on a twelve-month calendar instead of the present eight to nine.

4. Get rid of bloated administrations, filled with vice presidents, deans and vice deans without legitimate portfolios.

5. Drop requirement that all faculty need to or should do research, and by so doing increase teaching responsibilities and greatly reduce the amount of silly and irrelevant output by, at best, mediocre thinkers.

6. Employ technology and high tech approaches to teaching general education courses, and reduce the number of student options in the first years .

Were colleges and universities forced to do many or all of these, costs of higher education could be greatly reduced, loan programs minimized or eliminated, and student debt a thing of the past.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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