Higher education is completely different from what it was a few decades ago. What future for students in the age of the Internet and technological innovation?
People have questioned the need for a college degree for a years. Many high school students continue to debate the issue with their parents as the perception of higher education has changed in the internet age. What was once a vital stepping stone to a sustainable career is now seen as little more than a piece of paper. When you factor in the rising costs of tuition, books, and housing on campus, it’s no wonder that many young people prefer to chart their own educational path.
Recent events have placed the value of higher education at the center of some important national conversations. When it emerged that actress Lori Laughlin had paid for her daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California in 2018, many saw it as evidence of a more widespread systemic problem. For years, wealthy people have used their vast resources to secure positions for their children and grandchildren in elite schools. With this latest revelation, many people began to wonder if a college degree still meant anything.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn attention to the issue of inflated costs in the higher education system. Most schools have switched to online courses to help stem the spread of the virus. This means that overall expenses to facilitate in-person learning have been significantly reduced. Nonetheless, tuition fees remain historically high. This begs the question: where is all this money going? In the past, high tuition fees could be justified by the cost of maintaining a large campus, as well as faculty and staff to help students. But if students are now taking lessons from home, why do they still have to pay the same exorbitant prices?
Of course, one could argue that university is not a requirement. Plus, students don’t have to go to an Ivy League school just to get a degree. There are more affordable options. However, our culture has become increasingly obsessed with name recognition. If a potential employer sees Harvard on your resume, that’s a huge plus for you; if they see a community college that no one has ever heard of, it could actually hurt your chances of getting the job.
It is true that community colleges and trade schools are more affordable and can still provide high quality education, but their lack of awareness puts students at a serious disadvantage. According to ValuePenguin, the average cost of community college tuition fees for students in the state is $ 4,864 per year, while students can expect to pay around $ 9,970 in annual tuition at a school. four-year public. Both of those numbers are pale compared to a four-year private institution like Harvard, which charges $ 51,904 per year for tuition, not to mention books, transportation, food, or housing costs.
When you have a system where the rich can pay to get into schools that offer more ‘valuable’ degrees and the cost of all forms of higher education goes up, it shows that higher education is inherently rigged in favor. of the rich. Sure, great students can qualify for scholarships or get part-time jobs to help cover the costs, but most will end their college experience with debilitating student loan debt. This means that many qualified students are forced to attend schools with virtually no name recognition (while paying thousands a year) or forfeiting the college experience altogether.
I have written about my disappointing college experience in the past. Although I was lucky enough to go to a great school and meet some great people, I just didn’t see the value of what I was doing there. I felt like college was failing me for the value I was paying, so I could only imagine students having to take out student loans. Fortunately, we are working to create an alternative path for young people outside of university with Dormzi, but it will of course be some time before we become a real competitor of a university path. At the end of the day, it looked like little more than an expensive piece of paper and something to tick off my bucket list.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this either. Many people I have spoken with have chosen to quit or forgo the higher education experience because the end result simply does not justify the time, money and energy to make it happen. . However, the recent move towards online learning could help change this situation for future generations.
In years past, getting an online degree was generally seen as a waste of time. Institutions like the University of Pheonix have been widely ridiculed by employers and even educators, as graduates have found that their degrees have virtually no weight in the job market. If a community college degree didn’t help you in an interview, an online degree could hurt you.
However, with the advent of COVID-19 and the education movement towards the virtual realm, people are starting to take online degrees much more seriously. Even Ivy League schools like Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale (to name a few) offer partial or full online degree programs. Now you can get a high quality education – which really weighs in on the job market – from the comfort of your own home. That said, costs will have to come down further before most students can take advantage of these new opportunities.
Fortunately, as more and more people take online education seriously, the online degree market will become more competitive. Tuition fees will go down, allowing even more people to see the benefits. Additionally, improved communication technologies and increased internet speeds around the world ensure that the online classroom experience will not differ significantly from the classroom in person. In light of declining enrollment figures, online degrees could prove to be the boost our education system desperately needs.
While higher education institutions may jump on the online bandwagon for the first time, it’s important to note that people have been learning online for years. In fact, students have been studying subjects like computer coding and languages online for over two decades. Some even say it’s the best time in history to learn a new language. This shows that online learning doesn’t have to be tied to a degree to be of value. Either way, whether you want to earn a legitimate online degree or just take classes in your spare time, the internet opens up new opportunities for students in the future.