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How will the meltdown change higher education?

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posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 01:10 AM
Will we see bankrupt states start shuttering universities they way they are already closing parks and libraries?

Will kids still want to take on ever-more debt when job prospects for grads seem bleaker than ever? (yeah, yeah "the point of a good education is to make yourself a wiser person, not to get a job..." Tell that to all the unemployed grads with a quarter-of-a-million in debt around their necks.) Will colleges start teaching useful skills that actually lead to real gainful employment?

Can people continue to finance their education in a "post-debt" economy? As the economy melts down, it is becoming increasingly obvious that eventually, painfully or more painfully (depending on how willing we are to face the music), we won't be able to "borrow our way to prosperity" anymore. Will this apply to education as well as to espresso machines and Escalades?

The Ivys and a few others are still stuffed with multibillion-dollar endowments, even after losing up to 1/3 of their portfolio...I imagine they will trundle on for quite some time, but how about less storied institutions? Many are actually on the brink of ruin now, their endowments gutted. And if hyperinflation kicks in, maybe someday even Harvard's 20-plus billion won't be enough to buy it a bowl of Pho noodles in Harvard Square.

Will schools remain the decadent "party zones" they seem to have become over the last 30 years, or will people buckle down and actually, you know, study when they realize how grim things really are?

Just a few of the questions on my mind...

One thing is certain: Somehow, some way, the idea of "higher education" will have to change radically. But how? When? And along what lines?

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 03:31 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

Enrollment at the school I'm goin to has had a 35%+ increase. I was wait listed for all classes, and only got into half. I would say that people will gladly shoulder the debt.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 03:37 AM
Education will be free and over the internet.

Higher education is a scam as it is now.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 09:13 AM
reply to post by Wertdagf

The problem is that in 70% of the cases, maybe more, what you are buying with a college/university degree isn't information per se. It's friendships, a shared sense of community, the various coming-of-age rituals, dangerous and stupid though they may seem in retrospect...those long two-AM "what does it all mean" conversations with that beautiful girl you never got with after all but ended up not regretting it because of the fantastic conversation. And so on. The little tribes and clusters that form on "the quad" or wherever the ineveitable communal lawn is on glorious spring days...that sort of thing. That's what you are going into hock for becuse it is so very often the fertile loam from which later spring connections and collaborations. ("you know, my uncle said a place is opening at firm XYZ...My cousin can get you a summer internship at corp ABC...": That's how it all begins).

Yes, just party and gladhand your way through a good school or three, and who knows where you'll end uo...our former president mangaged to wend his boozy way through both Yale and Harvard, proving that any fool can do so and utterly laying waste to several centureies of mystique surrounding those hoary institutions in the process. It works more effectively the better the name of the school of course.

But of course, that's the old way, and who knoiws, with all this belt-tightening going on people might actually start learning something more than "quarters" and beerpong.

[edit on 9/30/09 by silent thunder]

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 04:40 PM
I'm not going to University. I come from a poor family, and I cannot afford to finance it at all. I see absolutely no point in taking on almost 100k in debt to obtain a degree that will do nothing towards getting me a job, and if it did it would be a job that would take me the rest of my life to get out of debt.

University is a borderline scam in the modern day, as I pointed out in another thread. I'll stick with the job I've netted and teach myself. I've no need to pay for the privilege of sitting in a lecture hall with 4000 chattering zombies while a professor drones out the same thing he has for the past 20 years without a second thought, or some recent graduate drones on about something that is completely and utterly incorrect.

No, no higher education in this economy.

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