Tag Archives: college education

Reform Education (Revised)

Thesis: Education reform will be one of the most important innovations of the next 50 years and will be best accomplished using the teacher as a reference point with most learning done individually.

Most people when asked about education, specifically college education, say it is way too expensive. College education, while valuable, needs to be reformed both from a pricing standpoint but more importantly, from a structural standpoint. Individual learning aided with the help of teachers is in my opinion, the future of education.

My argument, while being able to decrease the cost of college education, is more focused on the learning aspect of education. When I go to a large lecture, it is very difficult to pay attention. Between the thousands of websites and social media applications available to kids today, it is no wonder many people report this exact problem. Even if I do pay close attention, I think I could teach myself most of the material in less time. With the help of textbooks and the internet, along with slides provided by the professor, there is no doubt I could teach myself the material. This is why my solution to the problem of education is to make the teacher a reference point for questions. The teacher would assign weekly readings and add lecture slides at the beginning of the week. The entirety of lecture would be online and be dedicated to answering students questions, similar to office hours. This way, the student would “teach” him or herself all of the material before “class” and any material they do not understand could be answered with the help of the teacher. All students could engage in the forum and ask questions while other people watched and benefited from the experience.

The cost of college education has risen to around $23,000 dollars per year. This number is sure to increase if something does not change. Just ten years ago, the average price was $13,000 dollars. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76. This is a substantial increase and unless structural change takes place, the cost will keep rising. The University of Texas School of Architecture has an interesting breakdown of the cost of college education. According to them, nearly 60% of the cost of tuition is for university professors and staff’s salaries and benefits. http://www.utexas.edu/tuition/breakdown.php. While my proposal will not eliminate these costs, it should substantially decrease them. The teacher would benefit from this design by not having to go to lecture and teach the same thing repeatedly. They could use slides from previous years and benefit themselves from the potentially thought provoking discussions on the forum. This could lead to a decrease in salaries. In addition, teachers could have more time for research and because of this, administrators could lessen their salaries as they push for a research based compensation. In addition, operating expenses make up around 17% of the total cost of college. This could be nearly eliminated as the infrastructure needs at a traditional university are lessened. Classrooms would be nonexistent and the overall cost of maintenance would drop.

Overall, college is a time of great learning and growth. However, the system is flawed and I think change is in order. With my proposed plan, the cost of college education could fall and the overall learning and efficiency would increase dramatically. Unless this change occurs, I fear prices will continue to increase and the US will continue to fall behind other countries from a learning standpoint.

Thesis: Online Education’s Best Days are Behind Them

Everyone has seen advertisements for some online college campus such as University of Phoenix which strive to offer cheap affordable college classes that are convenient for anyone to take, since the classes are all online. This industry has grown tremendously over the previous 10 years as the cost of college has been rising at a much faster rate than inflation (as witnessed by the graph below).

fredgraph

The rising costs of college are one of the reasons that online university courses became such a prominent alternative to traditional colleges. These universities offered not only convenience, but huge savings when compared to other college campuses. This was due to not only saving on room and board, but as mentioned in Spencer Jakab’s article, “During the 2009-2010 academic year, one-quarter of all Pell Grants and subsidized federal loans went to students at for-profit colleges [such as Apollo Education Group], according to the College Board. That was well above their share of, say, graduates.” These subsidies for the students attending colleges like University of Phoenix even further reduced the cost and increased the savings these consumers felt.

However, this story does not end well for these for-profit online schools as enrollment, and revenue, have decreased significantly from their peak a few years ago. One potential reason for this huge decrease in the early 2010’s of these online college degrees was due to as pointed out in Kevin Carey’s article, “Over the course of a few months in early 2012, leading scientists from Harvard, Stanford and M.I.T. started three companies to provide Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. The courses were free. Millions of students signed up. Pundits called it a revolution.” These online courses are taught by some of the most prestigious teachers in the world, and all that is needed is an internet connection. While this reformation of higher education is revolutionary and is only going to keep increasing its prominence as credentials begin to become recognized by employers from taking these courses, the importance of getting an actual college degree remains significant.

A more viable reason for the decrease for-profit online education schools have felt in enrollments and revenues comes straight from the White House. President Obama announced “his new $60 billion community college initiative to provide two years of community college for free in January.” These community colleges are University of Phoenix’s biggest competitor because they both target people who cannot (or choose not too) pay the steadily rising prices to go to a traditional college. This initiative, if and when passed, will be the final crippling blow to these online for-profit schools that have gained prominence these past few years.

Reform Education

Thesis: Education reform will be one of the most important innovations of the next 50 years and will be best accomplished by using the teacher as a reference point with most learning done individually.

Most people when asked about education, specifically college education, will say it is way to expensive. College education, while valuable, needs to be reformed both from a pricing standpoint but more importantly, from a structural standpoint. Individual learning aided with the help of teachers is in my opinion, the future of education. The cost of college education has risen to around 23,000 dollars. This number is sure to increase if something is not done. Just ten years ago, the average price was 13,000 dollars. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76This is a substantial increase and unless structural change takes place, the cost will most likely keep rising.

When I go to a large lecture, it is very difficult to pay attention. Between the thousands of websites and social media applications available to kids today, it is no wonder many people report this exact problem. The teacher will lecture for an hour and a half and I will get very little out of the lecture. Even if I do pay close attention, I think I could teach myself most of the material myself in less time. With the help of textbooks and the internet, along with slides provided by the professor, there is no doubt I could teacher myself the material. Many people will argue that they learn better listening to a lecture. This is why my solution to the problem of education is to make the teacher a reference point for questions. The teacher would assign reading and perhaps lecture slides at the beginning of the week. The teacher would be adding value via the slides which would be supplemented with reading from the book. My change would be how lecture is presented. The entirety of lecture would be dedicated to answering students questions, similar to office hours. This way, the student would “teach” him or herself all of the material and any material they do not understand could be answered with the help of the teacher.

The way of learning offers many advantages over the current way learning occurs. First, the student does not have to sit through a mundane lecture or even attend lecture. They can use their time more valuably without getting penalized. Then when a question comes up, the student can go to “lecture” and ask the questions they have. This would force students to do the work and actually read all of the required reading. In addition, this would also lower the cost of college education as this new system progresses. Instead of going to “lecture” the entire class could be taught online. The teacher could have online “office hours” which would replace lecture. This would substantially decrease the cost of college education.

The governor of Georgia recently proposed an education reform in the state, which mainly deals with helping children falling behind. http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/capitol_vision/2015/03/georgia-house-panel-oks-gov-deals-education-reform.html. While this is a good start, I think college education is in the most need of reform given how expensive it is. Overall, college is a time of great learning and growth. However, the system is flawed and I think change is in order. With my proposed plan, the cost of college education could fall substantially and the overall learning and efficiency would increase dramatically. Unless this change occurs, I fear prices will continue to increase and the US will continue to fall behind other countries from a learning standpoint.

The Impact of Student Loans

Mar 11th 2015

studentloan

(http://nj1015.com/stafford-student-loan-rates-double-starting-today/)

Thesis: Although student loan can undermine future economic activities and purchasing powers for young adults, this type of debt is reasonable because college education is a choice and should be decided by students with their cost and benefit analysis.

Although the tuition is much higher for international students in state colleges, about three times higher than that for (in-state) Americans, “student loan” is still a big issue for many students who attend their own state colleges, having burdens that they should start their lives with some amount of debts. Wall Street Journal points out that the nation’s student-debt has more than doubled since the recession to about $1.3 trillion. Especially, Washington D.C. – which is one of the most educated cities and has a lot high-priced private schools – is the most indebted compared with other states. Its average is $40,885 while the national average debt is $30,443. Although the amount of debts varies, it is obvious that many students suffer from repaying their student loans and more and more students have increased their debts.

borrowing

(http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/08/05/how-student-loans-are-shaping-mortgage-approvals/)

Should people worry about the situation, the increase in student loan? I would say yes, and no. For yes, I understand that student debts can affect negatively on economic activities for young adults. According to an article from Wall Street Journal, people concern that rising student debt may cause freezing millennial out of the housing market. From the data above, there is little difference between the share of student borrowers in Funded debt and Unfunded debt categories. However, the graph shows clear signs of growing student-debt burdens. Why does the growing number matter? “A key metric that mortgage underwriters use to evaluate a borrowers’ ability to repay a loan is their total debt-to-income ratio, and it’s this metric that can make student loans a big negative in the loan approval process” (Wall Street Journal). In other words, if you have more debts, you will have fewer chances to have your own home (assume that you have the same income).

There is one more severe factor in the relationship between student loan and housing market: race. I found a different article about housing market and races, called “Student Debt is Hurting Homeownership for Blacks More than Whites.” Jason Houle of Dartmouth College and Lawrence Berger of the University of Wisconsin-Madison researched the relationship between student-load debt and homeownership for those under age 30, finding a welfare gap between blacks and whites (Wall Street Journal). “Young black adults tend to have higher student loan debt than more affluent, white counterparts. This could be one legacy of a broader wealth gap in the U.S. between blacks and whites, and young adults from disadvantaged households could be “doubly disadvantaged” due to higher student debt.”

It seems like student loans are really bad. But, I doubt about the statement (remember I say that the growth of student loan could be a worry and not), because education is a “choice.” No one forces people to borrow some money from banks. In my case, I chose to go to the college (I pay more expensive tuition than most Korean and American students) because I believe that its benefits definitely exceed my costs. In other words, I am sure that I can earn much more money when I invest to my college education than I find a job after I graduate my high school. I support Robert Farrington’s argument that student loan debt can be the best and the worst debt to have in terms of future earnings.

I totally agree that higher tuitions restrict students who are from lower income houses, worsening the inequality in welfare as well as purchasing powers for young adults. Furthermore, student loans can cause the bigger welfare gap in blacks and whites according to a research. Underwriters in housing market should be more flexible when they evaluate student loans, and the government should be more careful not to deprive people of the right to get the education by increasing tuitions. However, clearly students also are aware of the exact costs and benefits that the college education could provide for them. My suggestion is, when they decide to go to college, they must consider what they want to do and what they get from it.