Monday, June 11, 2012

New College Model?

It is hard to believe how far educational debt has rocketed.  Just a few weeks ago, the nation passed the $1 trillion mark for all education-related loans.  We're going to see a change in the general university education system in the next 20 years - a movement short-term college.   

There are several problems with the current post-high school education system.  
  1. The quality of a university is seldom based on the quality of the instructors there.  
  2. The cost of a university education is enormous.  
  3. The majority of graduates work outside their major.  
  4. "Go to college, get a job" doesn't apply as much as it used to.  
  5. Students are able to pursue whatever degree they want, without regard to the future job market.  
Short Term college is the ability to take a 2-year degree, go out into the workforce, and return later for another couple years of schooling - during 6-month leaves or part-time night/weekend classes.  That way, you end up with only two years worth of debt, rather than a full college education.  Additionally, you get to see how useful your studies have been, and, when you return, you can better plan your studies.  Finally, this would let you get started in the workforce earlier, meaning you could sock more money away for retirement.  

Two changes need to happen.  First, the idea that you need a 4-year degree should be modified.  It should be "proven online learning capability."  That is the most valuable when people in generation Y will have 7+ jobs over the course of their life.  That can be proven through a number of different paths - schools, community organization, volunteerism, etc.  The second is that both schools and work would need to be flexible in offering these alternate paths.  If a person follows one, they could be penalized in the early years, if it is not understood.  

Really, what we need is a more nimble education pathing system than we have now.  Do you have any other ideas about what the education system could evolve into?  

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