Not quite a “catastrophe”

President John Ebersole penned an article for See Thru Edu explaining higher education challenges and how everyone plays an important role.

Over the past few months commentators have appeared on this website to express concern about the state of American higher education.  Most have seen this sector as being in tough shape, and at least one has used the word “catastrophe” in their assessment.

As a sitting, non-profit college president who has lived with the realities of both public and private higher education for more than two decades, I don’t share the belief that the sky is falling.  Yes, higher education faces a great number of challenges, some new and a few unprecedented.  However, many are neither new nor the result of actions over which the sector has control.

Let’s start with cost.  Most critics, including candidates for President, lament the high cost of a degree, suggesting that it is greater than it should be.  Yes, there are private institutions with sticker prices in excess of $50,000 per year.  These Ivy League or “prestige” schools are the basis for alarm and calls for action which regularly appear in the New York Times.  What isn’t made clear is that these prices are conscious decisions by institutions to position themselves as the crème de la crème of American higher education.  They know that each rise in price will be met with a corresponding increase in applications from those equating price with quality, or who are seeking future advantage by graduating from an exclusive school.  What the cries of concern don’t make clear is that virtually no one pays these prices (thanks to discounts of 30% or more), and that the total of those served, collectively, is less than two percent.

To read the full article, please visit See Thru Edu.

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