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An idea for free college educations for Americans

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posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 02:38 PM
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So the idea is pretty simple, we use the power of the internet to deliver free classes to anyone who wants to sit through them. Many colleges already host all of their lectures online so the knowledge is out there, they just don't let you have any credit from doing so.

What we could do is create a list of majors, say 500 or 1000 that are updated periodically (every other year?) and create all of the coursework for them. Allow students to watch the lectures, complete homework, and complete tests at their own leisure. In order to enforce the integrity of the testing we could require tests be taken at government buildings and make the person show ID to take the test. The lectures and homework could be completed in ones home or at a library if the person has no computer/internet. In the event the class requires certain licensed software particularly for testing it could be made available through virtualization, which is the process of a host machine running the software, and sending the screen output to a client machine. So all that would be required is good network speed, the client computers could be low spec even if running demanding software.

The cost to take these courses would be zero, and they would be developed with input from major universities in order to ensure they meet transfer standards incase someone wishes to goto another college later, if necessary we could mandate by law that all courses transfer which would make the degree have official standing. The books would be pdf's offered on a semester rental at a low price or purchased at a slightly higher price, though the government could step in with the scale of the contract and demand lower than usual book prices due to volume.

In order to fund this we could pay for it by removing federal subsidized loans and other financial aid. This would have two effects. First, it would stop the flow of free money to regular universities which would make them lower their prices and be more competitive allowing more to attend. Second it would give this program ample funding. A rough estimate on my end would be $160,000 for each major every 2 years (based on instructors making around 80k, and them teaching roughly 1/4 of a major, but then only requiring it every other year so 80*4/2). With 1000 different majors that would be just $160 million. Figure in software costs and we could double that to 320 million, and any possible oversight and we're at 480 million. Currently we spend roughly 17 billion per year (as of 2010 numbers atleast) on just Pell Grants.

This change would represent large savings while making college more accessible to everyone.




posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

Awesome!

Indeed, many universities already offer classes for free remotely. If we focus on actual texts instead of 'textbooks', we can begin to learn again.

We must eliminate all federal subsidies. If your state wants to give handouts to institutionalized educational facilities so be it, we can move out of that state.

The actual process of education will eventually reassert itself and we can shed the destructive burden of curricular intellectual degradation and systematically biased philosophical obfuscation.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 02:55 PM
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What a great idea. My question would be: How would the universities themselves then make money for anything else. I'm not sure about the United states, but here in Canada, universities are mostly nonprofit. That being said, they still need money for things beyond paying professors. Would this be subsidized too, or would your plan still have students attending universities physically as well? Would enrolment in the courses require any prior education? Would universities be required to accept all student regardless of prior education? I know a lot of top universities would be loathe to provide degrees to some students, hence the intense vetting processes, elitism, etc.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: greencmp
Awesome!

Indeed, many universities already offer classes for free remotely. If we focus on actual texts instead of 'textbooks', we can begin to learn again.


Exactly, they've proven the infrastructure for it is already in place. I believe DeVry has a business model built around it even. The thing is though, public universities don't offer college credit for taking those classes. You can sit through the lectures, and sometimes you can even take a test. But you cannot get any sort of recognition for having taken the class, and that means it doesn't help your resume and taking enough of those classes means you put the time in, but it doesn't mean you've obtained the degree.

This idea takes the same principal but turns them into degree bearing programs. In many majors (especially tech fields, the so called hot spot for jobs) such a thing is entirely possible to do.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:03 PM
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Look up coursera, you can take a number of classes from around the country for free, but to get "credit" or certified depending on the course you have to pay.

Worst case you can get a leg up before shelling out the dough.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:03 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

Will never happen!

The "Education Complex" will never allow their institutions not to make billions in over priced (mostly useless) so called education classes for their "accreditation".


Same applies with "why do I have to take all these useless classes for credits?"

How about a business degree with just the business classes instead of the over priced useless classes that are a waste of time? You know the answer. Fill their bank and force you to take useless classes to meet the credits.

Most "Bachelors" Degrees would take a year to two if you didn't have to waste time and money on useless credit hours for their piece of paper.




edit on 14-3-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)

edit on 14-3-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:04 PM
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originally posted by: Atsbhct
What a great idea. My question would be: How would the universities themselves then make money for anything else. I'm not sure about the United states, but here in Canada, universities are mostly nonprofit. That being said, they still need money for things beyond paying professors. Would this be subsidized too, or would your plan still have students attending universities physically as well? Would enrolment in the courses require any prior education? Would universities be required to accept all student regardless of prior education? I know a lot of top universities would be loathe to provide degrees to some students, hence the intense vetting processes, elitism, etc.


Bad universities should go out of business.

Good universities, if they can justify their existence to students enough to get them to pay, just might stay in business.

My basic point is that universities are not necessary and tend to actually handicap their clientele.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:25 PM
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a reply to: greencmp


Well I get the a not necessary when it come to libral arts bs.


But don't write university off as a whole.
They are needed for doctors, vets, dentists, pharmacists, scientists and..... This leaves a bitter taste... Lawyers.....those are not jobs you can just learn as you go on the job.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:42 PM
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originally posted by: crazyewok
a reply to: greencmp


Well I get the a not necessary when it come to libral arts bs.


But don't write university off as a whole.
They are needed for doctors, vets, dentists, pharmacists, scientists and..... This leaves a bitter taste... Lawyers.....those are not jobs you can just learn as you go on the job.


I didn't mean to scare you, I do have some sympathy for universities but, the idea that any university is automatically good is totally ridiculous.

Our president even has plans to forgive the debt for students who pursue government jobs. I am not kidding, he said that out loud to great applause.

I would also point out that most professions develop quickly enough to cancel out whatever benefit standardization may have once offered.

What we need is good educations, not institutions.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

I do agree that university is no longer what it used to be.

The influx of basicly useless degree has diluted univercity for the bad.

It's irritates me the hard work I had to do on my biology degree but someone else can sail through drunk on a bs BA Micky mouse degree and think they hold the same level of education.
edit on 14-3-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 03:55 PM
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California had free education before Regan. Libya had free education before we blew crap up. Great idea but no one would allow it.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 04:10 PM
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Education should be free to anyone who wants to better themselves. I consider education a human right. This is a great idea to keep costs low while providing a product that is already available online. Kudos!



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 09:17 AM
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The problem with "free" education is that you do get what you pay for so to speak. Look at our public school system. Right now there is a difference between people who allowed the state to educate them and those who paid for their early education.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 09:19 AM
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originally posted by: Metallicus
Education should be free to anyone who wants to better themselves. I consider education a human right. This is a great idea to keep costs low while providing a product that is already available online. Kudos!


I have a bit of a disagreement. You do not have a right to anything that someone else has to provide to you. If you do, then you basically have a right to enslave those people to your whims to provide that service to you. Education does indeed fall into that category.

However, I do think you have every right to seek an education. No one should seek to prevent you from bettering yourself. There is a huge difference. In those two statements.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 09:19 AM
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a reply to: Aazadan

Question. If universities offered free majors online, how would they pay for research in those fields of study to improve upon the coursework year to year?



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 02:07 PM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Aazadan

Question. If universities offered free majors online, how would they pay for research in those fields of study to improve upon the coursework year to year?



As long as this is all private money, I think it could work. It probably won't initially have any negative effect on enrollment since the actual matriculation is such a huge component.

They would milk the grad students for all they are worth, write all the rubbish code to make a half assed but, kinda functional database and off you go, cheap-ass degrees that are just as good (if not better) than the real thing.
edit on 15-3-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 02:17 PM
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originally posted by: Aazadan
So the idea is pretty simple, we use the power of the internet to deliver free classes to anyone who wants to sit through them. Many colleges already host all of their lectures online so the knowledge is out there, they just don't let you have any credit from doing so.

What we could do is create a list of majors, say 500 or 1000 that are updated periodically (every other year?) and create all of the coursework for them. Allow students to watch the lectures, complete homework, and complete tests at their own leisure. In order to enforce the integrity of the testing we could require tests be taken at government buildings and make the person show ID to take the test. The lectures and homework could be completed in ones home or at a library if the person has no computer/internet. In the event the class requires certain licensed software particularly for testing it could be made available through virtualization, which is the process of a host machine running the software, and sending the screen output to a client machine. So all that would be required is good network speed, the client computers could be low spec even if running demanding software.

The cost to take these courses would be zero, and they would be developed with input from major universities in order to ensure they meet transfer standards incase someone wishes to goto another college later, if necessary we could mandate by law that all courses transfer which would make the degree have official standing. The books would be pdf's offered on a semester rental at a low price or purchased at a slightly higher price, though the government could step in with the scale of the contract and demand lower than usual book prices due to volume.

In order to fund this we could pay for it by removing federal subsidized loans and other financial aid. This would have two effects. First, it would stop the flow of free money to regular universities which would make them lower their prices and be more competitive allowing more to attend. Second it would give this program ample funding. A rough estimate on my end would be $160,000 for each major every 2 years (based on instructors making around 80k, and them teaching roughly 1/4 of a major, but then only requiring it every other year so 80*4/2). With 1000 different majors that would be just $160 million. Figure in software costs and we could double that to 320 million, and any possible oversight and we're at 480 million. Currently we spend roughly 17 billion per year (as of 2010 numbers atleast) on just Pell Grants.

This change would represent large savings while making college more accessible to everyone.


If its free in US of A, then it will be what you paid for. Since it already is.

How many foreign professors will be willing to teach for free? So far US of A has been benefiting paying above rates to majority of foreign professors to read lectures.

Thank you, but let keep paying while you can.


Cheers.



D.O.
edit on 15-3-2015 by darkorange because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 03:41 PM
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Wow, lots of comments on this one.


originally posted by: Atsbhct
What a great idea. My question would be: How would the universities themselves then make money for anything else.

I'm not sure about the United states, but here in Canada, universities are mostly nonprofit. That being said, they still need money for things beyond paying professors.


By offering a better education with more individualized teaching. My idea doesn't create a superior product to a regular university because lessons can't be tailored to a class and there is no student/teacher 1 on 1. What you do get however is the ability to be recognized with a degree. I look at my field for example, which involves a good deal of computer programming. All of the information is online for free, literally every single bit of it. However self study and learning the information only teaches me how to do something, it doesn't give me the degree which leaves me locked out of many jobs.

Many fields have this open access to information but without the degree your knowledge isn't actually worth anything. Psychology, finance, political science, mathematics, law, most of the medical field, and many others can all be addressed with this approach.

Universities would still hold plenty of appeal, but without the financial aid that's currently feeding them far too much money they would have to become more efficient because there would be a low-no cost alternative.

I covered the other funding necessary such as overhead and software/books.


originally posted by: infolurker
Same applies with "why do I have to take all these useless classes for credits?"

How about a business degree with just the business classes instead of the over priced useless classes that are a waste of time? You know the answer. Fill their bank and force you to take useless classes to meet the credits.


I've spent a lot of time in school and have never seen these so called useless classes, if anything I find they don't require deep enough knowledge on various subjects. However, going with your premise the universities would have to become more efficient and cost conscious of their tuition in order to compete. That would lead to them cutting extraneous classes from the various majors.


originally posted by: greencmp
Our president even has plans to forgive the debt for students who pursue government jobs. I am not kidding, he said that out loud to great applause.

I would also point out that most professions develop quickly enough to cancel out whatever benefit standardization may have once offered.


He should. Student loan debt is a major issue, I would prefer if student loans didn't enslave you to government service for x years but it's a step in the right direction. Student loan forgiveness would be the tiniest of breaks to my generation who is on the hook for 2008, and the upcoming crash... and unlike the older people we won't get social security either.

As far as professions changing goes, you just need to update the coursework every year or two. That's what universities already do anyways. If you updated every other year, that means you pay once for a semester of lectures opposed to a regular university that pays 4 times (twice per class per year). That's already 1/4 the cost.


originally posted by: crazyewok
The influx of basicly useless degree has diluted univercity for the bad.

It's irritates me the hard work I had to do on my biology degree but someone else can sail through drunk on a bs BA Micky mouse degree and think they hold the same level of education.


Useless degrees are an issue but I find it to be overblown. I think universities push them, and students take certain majors because they're easy. These are problems we can fix with entrance requirements to programs and even wait lists. The world would be a worse place without some number of those degrees though. Even a few liberal arts degrees hold value to society.


originally posted by: ketsuko
The problem with "free" education is that you do get what you pay for so to speak. Look at our public school system. Right now there is a difference between people who allowed the state to educate them and those who paid for their early education.


You already have that with university. Look at community college, then look at state schools vs real colleges, and then look at the ivy leagues. My question I would counter with though is how would we get a lower quality system by cutting funding to the universities and funding a free alternative? The universities would then have to improve in order to make a more competitive product. Just like private schools currently do in order to attract people from public school.


originally posted by: Krazysh0t
Question. If universities offered free majors online, how would they pay for research in those fields of study to improve upon the coursework year to year?


It wouldn't be the universities that offer free majors, it's just stealing their model. You need one centralized institution that offers all the classes due to economy of scale. Universities would act more traditionally and charge tuition, some of which would go towards research the same as now.


originally posted by: darkorange
How many foreign professors will be willing to teach for free? So far US of A has been benefiting paying above rates to majority of foreign professors to read lectures.


Reread it. Why would anyone teach for free? I specifically mentioned paying instructors and I even mentioned where the money to do so would come from.



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

So then what's the point of going to a traditional university over a free one online?



posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 06:22 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

What's the point in going to a cheaper university rather than an Ivy League currently? In theory you get the same education anywhere, and lower cost universities are typically more difficult so you get the added benefit of the challenge, in fact while Ivy League graduates typically earn more early in their careers other schools earn more (on average) later on. More prestigious schools are all about the networking opportunities rather than the capability they bestow.

It would be the same here.



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