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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:

Looming Crisis in Higher Education
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Bankruptcy of some colleges
  2. Drastic shrinkage of others involving elimination or consolidation of whole departments and firing of full-time faculty
  3. Attacks on tenure and replacement of tenure track faculty by adjuncts or those receiving short term contracts
  4. 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
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All of these things will happen in the next 5-10 years, possibly earlier. Some are happening already.

mark naison

University teaching and instruction, except at a small number of elite universities, will be transformed beyond recognition.

Mark Naison
With A Brooklyn Accent

Sunday, 27 January 2013