Higher education accompanied by student debt is losing its appeal for many college-age Americans and their parents. The result could be a move by many colleges and universities to find ways to cut costs and even offer tuition discounts.
The reality is there are millions of students that took on student debt, in some cases reaching $100 thousand, that did little to improve their chances for employment. Many of them are ending up in jobs that do not require a college degree.
With empty dorm rooms and classrooms some educational institutions are looking for alternative ways to attract students and their parents who are becoming more skeptical, frugal and demanding. Some private colleges have seen enrollment drop 10 percent or more.
According to law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds changes are happening such as outsourcing to online education. However he believes that major structural problems such as bloated administrative costs have to be addressed to help reduce tuition. Also coming under scrutiny are such items as travel and athletics. One alternative that is gaining interest is certification programs that are specifically aimed at employment skills.
Reynolds writes that he
already sees some manufacturing companies that are involved with online schools and community to colleges to create “stackable certificates” that vouch for specific competencies. Such programs may bypass higher education entirely, testing and certifying people’s skills regardless of how they obtained them.
In today’s economy students and parents are beginning to measure a college education in relation to future earnings and employability. The student loan bubble is bursting and if changes are not made quickly by the colleges and universities they may be overtaken by online and trade schools.