Careers in Trade
Most families aspire for their children to earn a college degree. Yet higher education affordability remains a top concern, and the associated level of student debt can create years, even decades, worth of financial challenges for young adults. So, what about students who lack the time or finances to commit to a four-year degree program? Does an alternative scenario exist that yields the same results?
Are College Loans Worth It?
Headlines about the growing cost of education and the massive amount of debt burdening students after graduating college are prevalent. Student debt levels have grown to astronomical levels since the early 2000s, with total student debt in the U.S. approaching $1.5 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Not all of the factors behind the increase in student debt are bad. For instance, more people are going to college now than ever before, largely due to the fact that approximately 65% of job openings in the U.S. require some level of education beyond high school, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. On the other side of the equation, the increase in debt is also attributable to the cost of education which has grown at an annualized rate of 5.5% over the last 30 years. As the cost of education surges, more people are focusing on the tradeoff and asking themselves, is the cost of college really worth it?
The Future of Higher Education
The ongoing increase in tuition prices compared to stagnating wages for college graduates poses challenges for the prospective collegiate, particularly one requiring student loans. The added cost of room and board, transportation and other incidentals are an added burden to the gross price of higher education. For students and families on a budget, finding ways to cut costs is an important consideration. The obvious alternative to a four-year degree without paying a premium is online higher education. But is online education really the same?
High-Cost Higher Ed: College in the 21st Century
Parents and students beware: tuition has increased yet again! In what has become a rather predictable pattern since the 1980s, the sticker price for average tuition in the United States has increased faster than the rate of inflation. Weighing in at an average of $19,189 for public, four-year universities and $39,529 for private universities (including fees and board) (1), the annual cost of attending a four-year university has reached new heights – and with it, student loan debt. As a result, many students and families are having to decide between getting a degree and facing decades of debt payments after they graduate.
What Could Another Recession Mean for Public Education? A Look Back at 2008
Following a three-week government shutdown, recent sluggishness in the markets and the longest economic expansion since the Great Depression, one cannot help but wonder whether an official downturn is on the horizon. Many economists are forecasting slower growth in 2019, but the question remains, will it morph into a full-blown recession? When it comes to recessions, we see business activity slow down, profits shrink and layoffs occur. What about the effects on public education, where the entire system is financed through public funds? Let’s take a look at the impact of the most recent Great Recession.
The Four-Day School Week: Shaving Costs with a Shorter Schedule
Did someone say, “three-day weekend?” Recent years have seen an increasing number of U.S. school districts electing to truncate the traditional five-day school week by one day in the wake of tightened budgets and decreased funding. While considered one of the more creative solutions available to alleviate cost constraints within the education system, educators are left wondering how a shorter week may impact student outcomes.
How the Internet of Things (IoT) Will Revolutionize Education
There is no doubt that the internet has revolutionized the way that educational content is delivered. From online courses to virtual reality, the internet gives students and educators the ability to connect with other people and access more content than ever before. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet of Things, the ability to customize and enhance learning content and processes is set to improve even further.
How Core is Core Curriculum in Higher Education?
Once upon a time, every college in the U.S. had a core curriculum that every student was required to complete. Today, most universities still implement a core curriculum for all students irrespective of major, but it tends to include courses offered across a broad set of topics. Comprised of the first 30 to 45 undergraduate hours, subject areas typically include history, humanities, mathematics, physical sciences, creative arts and politics.
Embracing Open Educational Resources ("OER"): The Benefits of an Open Learning Culture
The Current State of Educational Basal Content
It’s no secret that college textbooks are becoming increasingly expensive. While the discount textbook market has seen significant growth over the past decade, the average cost of a traditional college textbook has grown at a whopping three times the rate of inflation since 1978. That means that students are paying upwards of $1,200 for textbooks and supplies each year. Combined with burdensome increases in higher education tuition costs, 65% of students decide against purchasing any course materials at all.
How Does Online Learning Stack Up Against the Traditional Classroom?
Online Learning Programs
The prevalence of distance or online learning programs has grown consistently for more than a decade, driven by more and more people seeking flexible and affordable options to further their education and open the door to new career opportunities. Notably, the 2017 Distance Education Enrollment Report prepared by the Digital Learning Compass organization indicates the number of enrollments for online programs has grown for 14 straight years with more than 6 million students enrolled in online courses in the U.S. during 2015.