Colleges Must Alter Their Business Models, Some Presidents Say
Washington — College leaders today urged their colleagues to change how they do business in light of the recession, during a conference here called “Thinking Big in a Crisis,” sponsored by the higher-education policy organizations Jobs for the Future, Education Sector, and the Lumina Foundation for Education.
Panelists warned that unless colleges reformed their business models, higher education could face the same fate as the housing and banking industries. They offered examples of how their institutions have cut costs while opening doors to more students.
Paul J. LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, said his institution now offers online classes and has opened three satellite commuter campuses. To attend those campuses, students pay about 40 percent of what full-time undergraduates pay to attend the main campus.
Mr. LeBlanc also said he believes that, in coming years, colleges will move away from using credit hours as a measure of achievement and instead rely on demonstrations of competency. “I think it’s appalling how little innovation has gone on in higher ed,” he added.
Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College, said that his institution, the largest community college in the country, now offers both two-year and four-year degrees.
“Higher education is not immune to change,” he said. —Austin Wright