Higher education faces changes as money shrinksThe head of a national education association told the UW Board of Regents that the future of colleges and universities may look very different from today.
By: By Shamane Mills, Superior Telegram
The head of a national education association told the UW Board of Regents that the future of colleges and universities may look very different from today. Institutions of higher learning are trying to adapt as they get less money from the state, investments and donors.
Universities and colleges face financial challenges that were recently outlined in a report by the credit rating agency Moody's. That report underscores a need for change, says American Council on Education president Molly Corbett Broad.
“What they are asserting is that U.S. higher education is at a critical juncture in the evolution of its business model,” she said. “Even the market leading institutions have diminished prospects for revenue growth, and most universities are going to have to lower their cost structure.”
One way colleges and universities might control costs and provide quality education is through Increased use of online technology. 'Massive Open Online Courses' offered by elite research universities can reach thousands. But students don't get college credit. And Broad says the online courses, known as MOOCs, may be difficult for students who need individual attention.
“Somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of people who sign up for these MOOCs never really do complete them,” Broad said. “And my guess is the students that need the most academic support (are) probably not going to be successful.”
UW La Crosse started a massive open online course last year. The free course is in remedial math; the ideas is to help students enter college and graduate in higher numbers in less time, at lower cost.