Prioritizing Innovation in the Higher Education Act

Higher education expenditures have ballooned to nearly half a trillion dollars a year, but despite rising costs, it is unclear that higher education is succeeding at its core mission: graduating students prepared for today’s dynamic world. Many of higher ed’s problems stem from a business model that was never designed to serve students, a regulatory model that reinforces that broken business model and spurns innovation, and a lack of data to hold colleges and universities accountable. But there are bright spots on the horizon. A few innovative schools are demonstrating the potential of online and competency-based education to bend the cost curve of college, create value for students, and align with the needs of a globally competitive workforce. The Higher Education Act, as written, is not supportive of innovation. But Congress can help:

Congress should prioritize innovation in higher ed

Washington D.C. is slowly turning its attention to higher education. In December, on a party-line vote, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released the PROSPER Act, a bill to update the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008.

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To balance innovation with protecting students, focus on incentives

Online education holds tremendous promise: it has the potential to lower costs, enhance learning outcomes, and make college accessible for students who lack the flexibility or means to attend a traditional program.

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Why basing college accreditation on outcomes, not inputs, makes sense

To understand their children’s progress in school, reasonable parents would likely look at their report cards, ask them how things are going, or talk to their teachers.

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How to make data meaningful for today’s students

This year in the United States, over 21 million students will enroll in one of over 6,000 schools. How will they fare? Will they graduate? Wind up employed? Will their investment in college be worth it?

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More resources from The Christensen Institute

College transformed: 5 institutions leading the charge in innovation

Leaders can look to examples of institutions that are successfully innovating in the new environment, some along this new disruptive path, and others by incorporating disruptive technologies to move forward along the traditional trajectory

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Undoing degree inflation: Traditional higher ed’s undoing?

As the job market reconsiders the value of bachelor’s degrees versus other credentials, many traditional four-year colleges and universities have reason to worry.

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What Oberlin reveals about higher ed’s vulnerable business model

Despite what may, at first blush, seem like an elite school with oodles of wealth, Oberlin is in financial straits. Understanding why reveals broader cracks in the business model of higher education, and that elite schools can be among the most vulnerable.

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From real estate firm to university of the future?

WeWork, a provider of coworking spaces valued at more than $20 billion, began its expansion into education last October when it acquired Flatiron School, an immersive coding bootcamp. Is WeWork cobbling together some kind of proto-university? Would that even make sense?

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How universities should manage innovation

Institutions are creating innovation offices and chief innovation officer positions, launching various online and competency-based offerings, and, in some cases, answering to nervous boards of trustees regarding whether their institutions are doing enough to prepare students for an increasingly uncertain future.

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Learn More at: Christensen Institute Christensen Institute Christensen Institute - Interdependence Modularity Christensen Institute - Jobs to be Done Christensen Institute - Disruptive Innovations
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