Are we prepared for the looming crisis in higher education? Like the crises that preceded it, it'll be broad and far reaching. Here are some of the key components:
- Huge numbers of college graduates are leaving college with huge debt and no realistic prospects of paying off the debt in a stagnant job market with the majority of jobs providing low wages.
- Many universities at risk because they've mortgaged their future by going into debt to finance the construction of new buildings, at a time when the pool of those able to pay high tuition is shrinking.
- On line colleges are cropping up which promise university educations at a fraction of the cost that most universities currently charge for a 4 year degree.
The likely results:
- Bankruptcy of some colleges
- Drastic shrinkage of others involving elimination or consolidation of whole departments and firing of full-time faculty
- Attacks on tenure and replacement of tenure track faculty by adjuncts or those receiving short term contracts
- Massive protests against student debt which will require lenders to renegotiate student loans at a fraction of their value, leading to another round of bank and lender bailouts by the federal government
All of these things will happen in the next 5-10 years, possibly earlier. Some are happening already.
University teaching and instruction, except at a small number of elite universities, will be transformed beyond recognition.
With A Brooklyn Accent
Sunday, 27 January 2013