MOOConomics and the overhaul of higher education

The rising cost and deteriorating quality of American Education has demanded the media’s spotlight numerous times in the past two decades, The Phoenix reports.

Despite recent optimistic reports of rising degree attainment, the United States is consistently outpaced by its first-world counterparts. Last year, the U.S. fell to an alarming 9th place with respect to the young adults enrolled in college and 16th in degree attainment, no doubt a result of exceedingly high dropout rates. Historically, the public has turned to the government for a solution to this pressing issue, but reform has proven to be both too slow and exceptionally mild.

Indeed, the model for higher education has undergone few significant structural changes since the late 11th century, when the word ‘university’ was coined. Private innovation and growing global access to the internet, however, seem to promise a much-needed and sweeping overhaul of the college experience.

As most college students are well aware, the cost of a standard 4-year college degree is dear and has, with few exceptions, always been so. As The Economist’s Free Exchange column points out, there are two primary causes for this.

The marginal cost of production for a university is high, meaning there are significant costs that come with educating an additional student. Each student requires housing, meals, faculty and other support staff, etc. Secondly, it is hard for universities to improve their productivity.

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eCampus News Staff

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