Colleges and Universities Rethink the Future of Education
For generations in America, college has represented a chance for economic success; a pathway to a career and eventual financial security. But as Erica L. Green writes in the New York Times, the landscape of education is changing rapidly amid rising costs and questionable results, leading to a sea change in policy.
“Too many Americans, particularly working-class Americans, are not sure that the return on investment is as high as it could be anymore,” Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, told the New York Times. “And that’s where we have to do a better job.”
The government is weighing in, with Republicans pushing for reform by way of the Higher Education Act. Their target? Policies that have left more than $1 trillion in student debt, and 6 million unfilled jobs.
But concerns are divided between parties, with Democrats’ main concern being the rising cost of tuition, while 58 percent of Republicans say that college is “too ideological.”
Add to that the massive shift in the new American economy, where AI and other forms of technology threaten traditional jobs. College officials understand if they are to succeed they need to provide training that translates to jobs in this new landscape. A recent poll conducted by Northeastern and Gallup found that only 37 percent of workers said that they would come back to a university or college if they lost their job to a machine. How to convince them otherwise is top of mind for educators.
While there are challenges ahead, it’s perhaps inevitable that our country’s education system grapple with the widespread changes in American society. Hopefully, the roughly 4,000 colleges and universities will rise up, stronger and better equipped to send students out into the workforce of tomorrow.