5 Steps to Affordable Higher Ed

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January 9, 2015 6:07 AM

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Education is the ultimate opportunity for social mobility and personal prosperity. A quality education can empower and enlighten in a way paralleled by none. Unfortunately, we are in a national crisis. A time where the cost of a college education serves as a barrier for a growing many to such great opportunities. We did not get here in a day, but I have faith that the future is still bright for higher education. Here’s 5 steps to seeing that belief through:

1) Technology

It is imperative that universities look at technology not as only a curriculum obligation to allow students to be competitive, but also as a way to revolutionize the structure of higher education. Integrating technology into learning can allow for a reduction in labor costs and an opportunity for all students to engage with the best of educators.

2) Financial Literacy

Knowledge is power and the same is true for the market of student loans and the cost of attending a college or university. Universities must strive to see that all students are financially literate, subsequently eliminating an asymmetry of information and empowering consumers to make responsible decisions.

3) Alternative and Accelerated Credit Opportunities

Universities must look to a collaborative approach for higher education, allowing greater opportunities within secondary schools and other institutions for students to earn credit through channels like the IB, AP and duel-credit programs. Further, testing must be made available for introductory courses to get students out of the classrooms when they are already competent in subjects, allowing for a faster route to earning a degree.

4) Putting Education First

The primary role of a university is to educate and it should be reflected by their budgets. Instead of placing an emphasis on capital projects, administrative opportunities and athletics, university leaders must create a culture where education is put first.

5) Rewarding Innovators

Cost cutting is often best done with a scalpel, not an ax. Universities must reward members of the community for innovation and frugality. After all, carrots are much more effective tools than sticks.

Now is the time for educators, citizens and leaders in our communities to work together on reforming higher education. By making education more affordable and tearing down the barriers which isolate many from the opportunities a quality education lends we can build a better, brighter future.

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