Today’s growing student debt reflects growing higher education demand, shortage of supply, price increases, a few unscrupulous players who leverage the 90% of tuition federal student debt rule for investor profits, and cut-backs in state support of traditional campuses. The solution is competition from public providers at in-state pricing that can grow to serve the needs of millions of adult students.
It started with a realization in the 1860s, commonplace now, but at that time a rather groundbreaking notion: education that was only available to the upper classes just didn’t suit a democratic society. Honest Abe agreed, and signed the Morrill Act into law, providing for grants of public land to establish colleges. In 1870 then-Territorial Governor Edward MCook authorized the creation of what today is called Colorado State University.
A few trends that took hold in 2011 are very interesting. First, the emergence of public/private partnerships – like Arizona State University with Pearson/eCollege and Educating Sales and Marketing. In this example, a Carnegie 1 research campus publicly announced a goal of growing to 100,000 distance students and using private money and methods to manage the marketing, recruiting retention, and business challenges.
I was very sad to read that Westwood College had its accreditation suspended. As Colorado State University enters the online and distance market more aggressively, I take time to remind my team that these universities did us a great service by investing billions in the development of the market, teaching capacity, technology, and methodologies.