What, exactly, could be gained and/or lost by implementing a new system of higher education? Let’s explore this. When higher education first developed in this country, only the wealthy and people from the upper middle class partook of it. They became part of an “intellectual elite.” Eventually others wanted a piece of that knowledge. By the 1960s, higher education had become available to people of pretty much every tax bracket. The discrimination those institutions showed toward people of color was vehemently protested by the student body, and eventually overcome.
Unfortunately higher education has become a business. Even taking inflation into consideration, the cost of college tuition is now 500 times what it was just a generation ago.
Compared to the cost of other life necessities, the cost of a four year degree has risen on an epic scale.
As you can see from the image above, unlike in years past, the average household can no longer afford a four year degree. To top it off, to be able to land a career that will pay off in the end, most people will need more than a basic four year degree. There are no grants or student aid for graduate students and tuition is higher.
The biggest loss by implementing a new system of education is for the people taking money from the unwitting students. The students expecting to better their lives with education, but instead ending up with a horrible debt that they cannot pay because the piece of paper they earned is worthless. They are left with no money, no career and a dismal credit rating. There is nothing to be done because there is absolutely no way to declare bankruptcy or remove a student loan from your credit record without payment. The school has nothing to worry about. Once the student aid loans are taken out, the money is paid to the school and the problem of collecting from the student is left up to the banks and collection agencies.
If we were to implement a new system, the schools would no longer be able to destroy the hopes and futures of hordes of people. The education of new recruits would be left up to the discretion of potential employers. Because the stress of a mountain of debt accruing with every class taken and every book bought is no longer an issue, people can focus on matters of more pressing relevance. These “internships” would be in “real life” situations, rather than the classroom setting of college. Many times in college classrooms I heard the words, “Things will be different once you actually get out there.” Well, if you are already “out there” while you’re learning, there is no need to hear those words.
Basically, students, parents, companies and anyone who needs higher education or needs to hire someone with a higher education degree would benefit from a new approach. The only people who would be affected negatively are the higher education institutes themselves.