For the past 18 months, I have made numerous posts wherein I have described my reactions to seeing the gradual disintegration of both the public and private models of higher education, in a manner akin to watching a slow-motion train wreck.
Well, the rate of disintegration is increasing. The slow-motion train wreck is speeding up. Consider five categories of evidence from the news media in recent weeks:
(1) The gap between the wealthy privates and everyone else is becoming a chasm.
My claim in my blog post of Oct. 15, 2013, that, in some respects, the wealthy colleges and universities seem more like investment companies that do a little teaching on the side now seems more prophetic than ever. Two recent articles make the case.
Two weeks ago, I presented a list of 10 expectations, predictions and suggestions relating to higher education that have received extensive media coverage in recent months. A week ago, in Part 2 of this topic, I selected three related topics from that list, and offered an opinion about what higher education can do to address them, and what is beyond our capabilities.
This week, I’d like to select another three items from my original list of 10 for more detailed analysis and comment. These include items number 3, 4 and 6. They are, respectively:
Higher education is hidebound;
Higher education is going broke; and
Large numbers of colleges will go out of business – unless…
Well, is higher education hidebound? Are we hopelessly mired in the past, unwilling to examine, let alone adopt, new ways of thinking about teaching and learning?
On the 16th of January, Moody’s Investors Service issued a report entitled “US Higher Education Outlook Negative in 2013.” Inside Higher Ed followed with an article on the findings in the report the next day. The report, and the article, were sobering reading for university administrators, and, in some quarters, more than a little frightening.
Moody’s, one of the three major credit rating agencies worldwide, has downgraded its outlook for the entire U.S. higher education sector from stable to negative. Based on a careful analysis of data over the past several years, Moody’s concludes that there is “mounting pressure on all key university revenue sources, requiring bolder actions by university leaders to reduce costs and increase operating efficiency.”