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Universities pricing themselves out of business?
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Posted on 23 Jan 13, Richard Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes Magazine said this: "I predict that 50% of colleges will fail during the next decade. The high ROI that a diploma once guaranteed is no longer certain. That’s because the “I” has grown way out of control, a result of decades of 7% annual price increases. Employers now have other and cheaper ways to test for intelligence and drive." and went on to say, "Online education got serious in 2012. Two open-enrollment online colleges–Coursera and Udacity–each raised more than $10 million in venture capital. Both have excellent parentage, started by professors from Stanford. Coursera plans to make money by selling certificates for around $100, verifying course completion. If you can earn a certificate for completing an artificial intelligence class taught by a Stanford professor, gee, where does that leave the math professor at the underfunded liberal arts college?"

This has interesting ramifications for industry.  For decades, industry has moved to evermore specific education requirements while it seems as though higher education has moved in the other direction.  An anecdotal example from just four or five years ago.  Senior management at a paper company became all enthused about a certain pulp and paper degree program.  Set up a scholarship, attended annual foundation meetings.  In a year or two they hired a graduate.  The graduate did not want to get their hands dirty working in a mill--wanted to be in a lab.  Company became dissatisfied.  Company stopped supporting pulp and paper education.

We must be careful, on both the university and the employer side to communicate.  Gone are the days when the industry blindly shoveled money at universities with little accountability expected in return.  Being focused and supplying the customers' (that would be the companies') needs is paramount.


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