The deflating higher education bubble: What next?

Credit: Council on Foreign Relations

Credit: Council on Foreign Relations

The folks at the Atlanta Fed are much impressed by Instapundit Glenn Reynold’s argument that the higher education “bubble” can’t go on forever. Two compelling facts, the intersection of which forms the basis of Glenn’s argument:

1. The median wage for a worker with a bachelor’s degree was about 30 percent higher than that of a worker with only a high school diploma in the late 1970s and grew to more than 60 percent higher by the early 2000s. However, the data also show that over the last decade the value of a college degree measured by wages has stagnated.

2. The cost of attending college has continued to grow, and grow rapidly. Between the 2000–01 and 2010–11 academic school years, the cost of undergraduate tuition, room, and board rose 42 percent at public institutions and 31 percent at private not-for-profit institutions, after adjusting for inflation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.



The endgame: “According to Reynolds, colleges have two different strategic choices: increase the value of the education for the current cost, or lower the cost of providing the current level of value. And he expects the most common response will be the latter, likely involving technology such as MOOCs (massive open online courses) and other innovations in teaching methods.”

One thought on “The deflating higher education bubble: What next?

  1. all things equal (and they never are) – would a 4 year degree from a virtual (online only) school be worth any more or less than a 4 year degree from a traditional bricks and mortar place?

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