Commentary: Creative destruction meets higher education

I was invited to weigh in during the opening general session at the Education Technology Industry Summit in San Francisco this month, hosted by the Software & Information Industry Association, The Washington Post reports. The topic: “What’s Next” in education. As a technology venture capital investor and parent of both a college student and a high school student, “What’s Next” in education is top of mind. In the immortal words of economist Joseph Schumpeter, higher education is headed for “creative destruction,” a profound structural and economic shift in favor of employers, students and parents. The future will be grim if you run one of the 4,100 colleges or universities in the United States and are unwilling to embrace dramatic change. Especially if you run one of the 1,750 private schools that lack a top ranking from U.S. News & World Report. Why so grim? Over the past 35 years, colleges have, in unison, jacked up their prices for tuition, room and board at a rate of about 3.5 times the rate of core inflation. They have been able to do so because of the perception of “free money” in the form of government subsidized student aid. They spent that money on fancy new buildings, expensive tenured faculty and new layers of administrators. But the merry-go-round has stopped.

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