A Dramatic Shift In The World Of Higher Education

A dramatic shift is underway in the world of higher education. Can you feel it? In the United States, there are 55 million people – mostly working adults ages 30 to 45 – with an average of 12 college credits, but who never got a college degree. Do they need one? In this economy, these people realize it’s nearly impossible to get a job interview – let alone a job – without a college degree.

At the same time, they understand that the brand of that degree is becoming far less important. As a result of soaring student debt, Americans are less willing to pay the rapidly-increasing cost of college degrees at many colleges and universities. A degree is not worth as much as many institutions charge today. Something’s gotta give?

The average student-loan debt jumped to $27,253 last year – up 58 percent from $17,233 in 2005, according to a recent report by FICO Labs. Side note: It’s sad that the U.S. government is the only predatory lender in America today, making in excess of $30 billion in profits each year from student loans that can never be discharged other than by death, yet none of that cash goes back to help students.

Last year, American student loan debt passed $1 trillion. Why? Ftor decades, the $500 billion-a-year higher education industry has been allowed to increase tuition at rates outpacing inflation and average income levels.

In this new paradigm, regional institutions that can offer a bachelor's degree for under $20,000 in a convenient, online/ground, real-world model will thrive. Yes, under $20,000 TOTAL.

Consequently, we believe we’re on the cusp of a new, exciting model in higher education. With the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), there is a dramatic need for U.S. regionally accredited institutions to innovate with new technologies. Just look at iTunes U making digital textbooks and courses available globally through Apple iOS devices, a super-MOOC that generated 1 billion downloads in 2012.

This disruption by education entrepreneurs – powered by consumer electronics – is shifting the ground under the feet of the leaders of America’s traditional institutions: "A whole lotta 'shake'-in' going on."

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