September 20, 2016 Comments (0) Uncategorized

Could Flat-Fee Regional Colleges Solve Higher Education's Problems?


It’s easy to argue that public advanced schooling in the United States needs reform. Through the years, earning a college degree in the usa has become increasingly expensive and will be offering declining value for that dollar. In a recent blog post at National Review, Freddie de Boer provides an interesting prescription for what’s ailing the country’s public colleges: rather than each state maintaining their own system, he suggests there should be five federally funded universities covering separate areas of the country.

Each would offer a degree that will cost a maximum of $2,500 per student per year for those in the \”local\” area and $5,000 for those outside of it.

Here\’s my dream: a system of five federal universities. Northeastern American University, Southeastern American University, Central American University, Southwestern American University, and Northwestern American University. They\’d be explicitly oriented towards providing a cheap, quality education within the traditional sense. Let me shoot for a tuition of $0, and I think that is a achievable goal with the right governmental funding, charitable support, and ruthlessness about unnecessary amenities. I\’d settle for $2,500 a year for any student from inside each geographical region and $5,000 for just about any students who want to go to a university from outside of their region.

According to an article written last year by Reihan Salam and Vance Fried for the National Review, similar experiments are already being tried in the higher education sector. Salam and Fried highlighted the growing interest in schools such as the Western Governor’s University which grants college credit according to demonstrated competence instead of course attendance. This approach allows WGU to apply a unique pricing structure; it doesn’t charge students per-credit C since it has limited its per-credit expenses C and instead assesses a flat fee per two semesters allowing students to earn as many credits as they want over that time period, all without having to pay extra.

MITx C the program sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology C provides a similar approach. People who enroll in massive online open courses offered on MITx can, for a small charge, take a test to demonstrate that they have mastered a material and earn the official credential. Those credentials are not official MIT credits, however, but they also don’t cost as much.

It\’s not only online programs that demonstrate promise. Grace College, a little college in northern Indiana, utilizes a much more traditional, residential model. However it has recently trimmed some unnecessary spending and moved summer school totally online. As a result, a Grace degree is now able to earned in three years for total tuition of $37,000, comparable as an Indiana resident pays over 4 years to get a degree from Purdue or Indiana University, Bloomington.

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