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Poll
Question: What will be the biggest change in higher ed in the next 10 years???  (Voting closed: April 15, 2012, 6:35:12 PM)
The continued proliferation and growth of the for-profits, taking additional market share from the non-profits - 9 (50%)
End, or near end, of tenure - 7 (38.9%)
Elimination of athletic subsidies - 1 (5.6%)
Students loans will be tied to career earning potential of the degree - 1 (5.6%)
Degree attainment will increase because of higher education's focus on the student as the customer - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 18

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Author Topic: Next decade in higher ed poll -!-!-!-  (Read 31944 times)
foresight
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« on: April 08, 2012, 6:35:12 PM »

Higher education may be at a delicate point. What will be the most significant change in the next decade?
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pigou
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 7:10:09 PM »

Decreased (average) earning potential resulting from a BA combined with higher student loans. While there will continue to be a high premium for skilled labor, the BA will no longer be a meaningful distinction. To some degree, that has already happened. The focus on getting more and more people into college (and passing them along) - what you might call the focus on the student as a consumer - merely increases the supply of people with the degree, but does nothing to the distribution of ability within the population. The mindset to pass people along seems to follow from the mistaken assumption that it is the paper that increases earning potential, rather than the university's function of imparting knowledge and (at least as importantly) weeding out students unable to absorb and process a large quantity of information.

The value of for-profit degrees will continue to be near zero. That's not something that can be changed by the quality of education, but is simply an indication that there is no screening to get in. If you take the worst students, it is assumed that the students who choose the for-profit simply didn't get in anywhere else. Why would one seek out the worst of BA holders when there are so many unemployed degree holders from far more selective universities?

A for-profit BA seems to me the equivalent of a GED. There's no economic benefit to the latter - i.e. people with a GED earn exactly the same as people who dropped out of HS and did not get a GED.
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foresight
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 8:23:16 PM »

Decreased (average) earning potential resulting from a BA combined with higher student loans. While there will continue to be a high premium for skilled labor, the BA will no longer be a meaningful distinction. To some degree, that has already happened. The focus on getting more and more people into college (and passing them along) - what you might call the focus on the student as a consumer - merely increases the supply of people with the degree, but does nothing to the distribution of ability within the population. The mindset to pass people along seems to follow from the mistaken assumption that it is the paper that increases earning potential, rather than the university's function of imparting knowledge and (at least as importantly) weeding out students unable to absorb and process a large quantity of information.

The value of for-profit degrees will continue to be near zero. That's not something that can be changed by the quality of education, but is simply an indication that there is no screening to get in. If you take the worst students, it is assumed that the students who choose the for-profit simply didn't get in anywhere else. Why would one seek out the worst of BA holders when there are so many unemployed degree holders from far more selective universities?

A for-profit BA seems to me the equivalent of a GED. There's no economic benefit to the latter - i.e. people with a GED earn exactly the same as people who dropped out of HS and did not get a GED.

Well stated. Thank you for the comment.
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aandsdean
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 8:45:40 PM »

Your poll forestalls what are far likelier to be the biggest changes:

1.  Continued defunding of "public" higher education with the consequent radical increases in "public" tuition, leading to:
2.  More pointless "accountability" measures foisted on higher education in the name of "consumer protection," which in turn will:
3.  Contribute to the rising costs of higher education, public and private, as compliance costs continue to go up, which:
4.  Will have minimal effect on for-profit higher education, which doesn't spend much on education, per se, and can thus more readily afford compliance costs.

That's ONE.

TWO is that higher education at the baccalaureate level is going to go further back towards what it was prior to WWII, an privilege of the elite rather than an opportunity for all.  This change is going to have outcomes I can't foresee, but they're not going to be good.

THREE is the healthy outcome of TWO (though on balance it's not going to be worth it), which is that we may well also see a return of the "respectability" of vocational and technical training at the associate's level for those jobs for which such education is, in fact, the appropriate preparation.

FOUR, related to all of the above in a variety of ways, is that there will be a fairly large number of small private colleges going out of business, and some public universities will close and/or merge, as is already scheduled to happen in Georgia.

These are the real problems and the real likely changes.
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foresight
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 9:15:30 PM »

Your poll forestalls what are far likelier to be the biggest changes:

1.  Continued defunding of "public" higher education with the consequent radical increases in "public" tuition, leading to:
2.  More pointless "accountability" measures foisted on higher education in the name of "consumer protection," which in turn will:
3.  Contribute to the rising costs of higher education, public and private, as compliance costs continue to go up, which:
4.  Will have minimal effect on for-profit higher education, which doesn't spend much on education, per se, and can thus more readily afford compliance costs.

That's ONE.

TWO is that higher education at the baccalaureate level is going to go further back towards what it was prior to WWII, an privilege of the elite rather than an opportunity for all.  This change is going to have outcomes I can't foresee, but they're not going to be good.

THREE is the healthy outcome of TWO (though on balance it's not going to be worth it), which is that we may well also see a return of the "respectability" of vocational and technical training at the associate's level for those jobs for which such education is, in fact, the appropriate preparation.

FOUR, related to all of the above in a variety of ways, is that there will be a fairly large number of small private colleges going out of business, and some public universities will close and/or merge, as is already scheduled to happen in Georgia.

These are the real problems and the real likely changes.

Excellent comment(s). Thank you for taking the time to elaborate on the issues facing higher ed in the future.
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usukprof
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 10:10:13 PM »

Foresight, I've told you what I do; how about you tell us what you do.  Are you a student?  Since you've been asking provocative questions but not contributing, I'm beginning to wonder if you are getting us to help you write your term paper.
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larryc
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WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 11:13:00 AM »

Cheese.
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larryc
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 11:26:54 AM »

Unalaska Police blotter, 5 February to 12 February 2012


5 February, Sunday - 11:54, Burn permit. 17:02, Caller
reported several youths playing on the thawing ice of the
lake. 17:30, EMS personnel provided care and transport for
two patients on a fishing vessel. 17:30, Officer assisted EMS
personnel. 18:08, Medevac. 18:58, Woman reported
receiving an odd call on her business line from a mumbling
man who identified himself as Frankenstein and made about
as much sense as same. 19:21, An officer investigating the
strange abandonment of a Ford Bronco in the middle of the
roadway was approached by a man whom he believed was
the owner of the vehicle, but who was in fact another person
who was also missing his Ford Bronco. After the second
Bronco-less man helped the officer find the first one, the
abandoned Ford was reunited with its rightful owner. The
second Ford remains at large.
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Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
yellowtractor
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 11:28:59 AM »

Can we somehow arrange for a special CHE interview with the Unalaska police dispatcher? I am guessing that s/he has some higher education, and indeed would be in a unique position to share it with us.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 11:30:09 AM by yellowtractor » Logged

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usukprof
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 11:30:54 AM »

Isn't the Unalaska police dispatcher a member of the CHE Forums?
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Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.  --Dean Vernon Wormer
genius_at_large
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 12:47:47 PM »

BRB. I have to go pee.
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torshi
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 12:55:27 PM »

A for-profit BA seems to me the equivalent of a GED. There's no economic benefit to the latter - i.e. people with a GED earn exactly the same as people who dropped out of HS and did not get a GED.

Could you give a source for this?  Thank you.  It's a topic I discuss briefly in one of my classes, so I'd like to be right.  It's different from what I've read about HS vs. GED. 

When the analysis controls for variables such as gender, race/ethnicity, age, then weekly wages are comparable:  "The results suggest that GED credential recipients are likely to make $115 more weekly than the adults without a high school education, keeping other variables constant. There is no difference in terms of weekly wages earned between an individual holding a traditional high school diploma and one with a GED credential...[A]mong adults who have postsecondary education...holding a GED credential instead of a traditional high school diploma does not have a statistically significant impact on adultsí weekly wages. "  (American Council on Education  2008, Economic and Noneconomic Outcomes for GED Credential Recipients)  There are differences in personal income (including investments) and non-economic outcomes.

Is that inaccurate?

----------------

When teaching, it is hard for me to make definitive statements about profit vs. non-profit degree value because some students in every classroom have a sibling or parent enrolled in a for-profit school, earning some form of healthcare-related degree, a basic BA or BS, or a master's degree that is going to give them a good return on their time and money.  In these cases, the student either knows there is a market for the degree and is going full-time (usually healthcare), or their employer has told them they need the degree to be promoted or for better job security in their current job.  All of these degrees aren't garbage, from employers' point of view.  In my location, in some cases, for-profit is the working person's only realistic option.  My university is the dominant higher-ed institution in the region, but we apparently want nothing to do with evenings, weekends, and accelerated programs.  I don't want to be part of the for-profit educational world.  But it meets unmet needs, and all of those unmet needs aren't because of a lack of academic ability on the part  of students.
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zharkov
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 1:53:15 PM »

All of these degrees aren't garbage, from employers' point of view.  In my location, in some cases, for-profit is the working person's only realistic option.  My university is the dominant higher-ed institution in the region, but we apparently want nothing to do with evenings, weekends, and accelerated programs. 

You'd be interested to learn that John Sperling -- founder of UOP -- got his start in running evening courses in areas in California where the existing schools were not interested.  Still, another problem is that the for-profits do much better marketing compared to the non-profits and publics.  Case in point:  I have a new student who took one online course at a distant for-profit (not UOP), had a horrible experience, then found my school, which is one town away from where the student works.  Not only is it convenient (with classes available nights and online), but cheaper than our for-profit competitors.   
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Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
pigou
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 4:59:33 PM »

A for-profit BA seems to me the equivalent of a GED. There's no economic benefit to the latter - i.e. people with a GED earn exactly the same as people who dropped out of HS and did not get a GED.

Could you give a source for this?  Thank you.  It's a topic I discuss briefly in one of my classes, so I'd like to be right.  It's different from what I've read about HS vs. GED. 

When the analysis controls for variables such as gender, race/ethnicity, age, then weekly wages are comparable:  "The results suggest that GED credential recipients are likely to make $115 more weekly than the adults without a high school education, keeping other variables constant. There is no difference in terms of weekly wages earned between an individual holding a traditional high school diploma and one with a GED credential...[A]mong adults who have postsecondary education...holding a GED credential instead of a traditional high school diploma does not have a statistically significant impact on adultsí weekly wages. "  (American Council on Education  2008, Economic and Noneconomic Outcomes for GED Credential Recipients)  There are differences in personal income (including investments) and non-economic outcomes.

Is that inaccurate?
I'd have to read through the paper to see why it reaches a different conclusion, but my first guess would be that they just throw the GED into a regression and find that people with the degree earn more than people without. That's problematic, because people who get a GED are not a random sample of those who dropped out of HS - rather, they are the most motivated of them. So we'd actually expect them to earn more even if the degree added no value.

For a good analysis of some of the more recent work, see: http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Education/resources/what_do_we_know.pdf

It seems that there are gains only for low-skilled HS dropouts - i.e. people who barely pass the GED. There are no gains for high-skilled dropouts and GEDs obtained in prisons. Among low-skilled dropouts, the gains may be as high as $1,200 per year, which still seems to be significantly below the $115 weekly increase in earnings from the other report.

I may have missed it in the article I linked, but I don't think it explores the "cost" of the GED - namely that students might drop out of HS given the option of the GED. Once they drop out, they may then be less likely to complete further schooling. This is not to say there should not be a GED, but that I'd be cautious about it.

Quote
In my location, in some cases, for-profit is the working person's only realistic option.  My university is the dominant higher-ed institution in the region, but we apparently want nothing to do with evenings, weekends, and accelerated programs.  I don't want to be part of the for-profit educational world.  But it meets unmet needs, and all of those unmet needs aren't because of a lack of academic ability on the part  of students.
A little bit of competition from for-profits is a good thing, I think. However, I think it's too early to tell whether degrees even in healthcare (where current growth is not at all sustainable) is really going to pay off. I hope it will, because I'm a big fan of vocational training. Hopefully, more community colleges will adapt and also provide more evening courses and accelerated programs. But overall, I don't think the outcome evaluations for for-profits are all that promising.

In their defense, they work with a very different student population than the traditional colleges - so comparing them 1:1 is not going to tell us much.
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foresight
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 5:12:30 PM »

Thank you all for the pertinent and provoking comments.

From the statistics I see, the for-profits are approaching 10% of the higher ed market, coming from a position of less than 1% 40 years ago.

I will throw this statement out for comment: The "traditional" institutions of higher education opened the door for the for-profits to gain market share, mostly because of accessibility (?), combined with easier curriculum (FPs) and the federal government's providing and guaranteeing student loans. Traditional institutions are not broken, but a correction in operating strategies and deliveries are necessary. But online classes, and open courseware do not seem to be the answer. Pure online has the challenge of accountability, and the open source is great in theory, but practically, how many of our to be educated have the discipline and skills to utilize those sources successfully? Less than 5%? 1%? Perhaps some hybrid, or blended form is the model of the future.

I look forward to input on the issue of education vs. training. Specifically - I have some numbers indicating that in 1970 approx 30% of high school graduates started post-secondary education. In 2009 that number was 70.2%. There are students sitting in college classrooms that finished in the lower quartile of their high school class. (And high school drop out rates approach 25 to 30% currently in the US). So to ask what may be a politically incorrect question, but here goes anyway - can everyone that attends college be educated? Is part of the problem with degree attainment rates due to classrooms having students with significantly different intellectual abilities in the class? Are our institutions doing students with average and below average skill sets a disservice in promoting a college degree in which they will not be successful, all the while encouraging the students to incur additional debt? Should 4 year institutions consider alternative degrees such as a skills degree (application) as compared to theoretical? Or should skills be left directly to the graces of the community colleges?

I have more thoughts, concerns, and question on the direction of higher ed in the next decade, but for now, I would appreciate any thoughts and comments on the above. Thanks.


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