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In furtherance of my earlier post, I think it'd be really interesting to examine what kinds of long-term changes we think might be in store for various sectors of the economy. It seems likely that no matter what, some version of social distancing and reductions in large gatherings will be in place for at least the next 3-12 months. Folks have already posted some great threads on the restaurant industry, the likely increase in work from home and decrease in the commercial real estate sector, and on the resumption of youth sports/activities.

So here's my question to add to these inquiries: how will (and should) this change higher education, a sector of the economy we're all familiar with from our time at Stanford, if nothing else?

Foreign Enrollment
For one thing, there will be a significant decline in foreign enrollments at all levels. At the undergraduate level, that's mostly going to hurt universities in terms of revenue - more and more American universities are dependent on wealthy foreigners who will pay full pop. Will they do so in an era where they can't even be sure whether a travel ban may be put in place back to their home country? Something makes me doubt this. Surely that will result in reduced revenue (see below).

But it could also hurt our ability to attract foreign graduate students, especially in STEM fields. Even back when I was in undergrad my sense was that foreigners made up a disproportionate share of the grad student TAs in Math and Econ, Engineering, etc. Will this hurt our long-term competitiveness in these areas? To some degree, there was already a reduction in foreigners seeking graduate education in the U.S., but this will almost surely be accelerated.

*For those of you who hire or work with foreign-trained STEM grads, how do you think a potential narrowing of the pipeline may affect the U.S. 1-5 years down the road?

Domestic Enrollment
Some of you have already talked about questioning the value of paying sticker for expensive private schools when your kids are sitting the next room over absorbing lectures by Zoom. My guess is we'll see increased enrollment at community college (in part for folks retraining who were laid off), as well as commuter state schools where a lot of students lived at home anyway. I doubt many 18-year-olds would put off college for a year altogether, but I have to imagine that, at the margins, if I live in SoCal, Pomona suddenly looks a lot more attractive than Williams. If I'm choosing between Georgetown and Berkeley and I live in Maryland, Georgetown seems obvious. My suspicion is that we'll see a return to more regional patterns in college attendance that had diminished over the past several decades. 

*For those of you with kids deciding on college, or with friends and family who have kids deciding, what are they thinking? I'd be curious to hear how this decision calculus is being made.

Sports and Events
Let's assume residential college education can resume in the fall, which may be a stretch. Even if it does, it seems probable that at least large public gatherings will be off the cards for the remainder of 2020. Does that mean college football and basketball (the revenue sports) play without fans? Or do they push the season back? Some have proposed ideas about moving these sports to truncated spring seasons. To me, that seems preferable to no-fan fall seasons, and certainly from a revenue perspective, doing anything possible to salvage a normal college football season might be essential - it turns out for most schools, college football generates roughly 75-80% of the AD's income.

*What are your thoughts on how college sports should return? No fans? Pushed back to spring? Something else?

Rethinking Funding Higher Ed
Finally, this is probably the most significant of all: with a looming potential great depression, the way we've funded higher education seems untenable going forward. What 18-year-old (or their co-signing parent) takes out $200k in debt for a bachelor's degree that may or may not land them a $35,000 salary if they're lucky? Who takes out a similar quantity of debt for an MBA whose recruiting value may be minimal in 12 months? I have long thought that the price of college and professional education has far outstripped its value and has been sustained only through a combination of fear-mongering ("without a college degree, you'll be doomed!"), federal subsidies (pell grants, federally guaranteed student loans, etc.), and alumni/donor giving. The fear-mongering threats are callow when everyone is unemployed, the federal subsidies may well be diminished once the trillions of CORONA-AID need to start being paid back, and the alumni/donor giving is obviously going to be greatly diminished now that stock portfolios have declined and everyone's belt tightening.

So: what needs to be cut? Where, in your view, is the fat? One trend I've noticed with dismay is the tendency for schools to compete on perks, with an increasing number of sushi bars, climbing walls, and fancy buildings. Another trend has been the vast increase in the number of career administrators who, IMHO, seem to add marginal value. How do we combat these trends, because they add tremendously to the cost of college, but they neither contribute to a well-rounded education nor enhance the capacity to get a well-paid job.

It seems to me now is a good time to ask what the core competencies of a four-year college degree are, and who needs it? Should we be rethinking the operating assumption that everyone should go to college? One dismaying trend I've watched over the past 20-30 years has been the demolition of trade-skills-oriented high school programs. Once upon a time, many high schools prepared students for positions like mechanics, plumbers, and food services where at most a two-year AA degree would be necessary upon graduation. Should we be reconsidering that model?

Offloading Student Debt
Finally, it seems pretty clear to me that my age cohort and the cohort beneath me is going to be completely wrecked by the one-two punch of the Great Recession and now the Great Corona Re/Depression. Our economy depends on people in their 20s and 30s developing the wherewithal to buy homes, have kids, send them to college, etc., as they age into their 30s/40s/50s. How do "young" (40-somethings) do that when they are still serving six-figure debt burdens? I'm sympathetic to the personal responsibility arguments along the lines of "I paid mine off, you should pay yours," but I think we need to face facts that a lot of people got degrees that weren't worth it and they won't be able to pay off. If we don't do something to reduce their payment burdens, I fear a very large chunk of our society will be unable to assume the financial responsibilities of adulthood without family support. 

*What if anything, should we do about this? Does this strike you as inequitable and untenable?

I'd be eager for the Cardboard collective brain trust's views on these various issues. :)
Foreign enrollment was hurting even before the Covid pandemic, which is a shame, because elite education was one of this country's top "exports".  To be fair, I do think we were a bit naive about the use of research espionage, though to a degree this was an overblown concern.  Most academicians strive to publish their research, so a lot of the basic research is publicly disclosed.

The Covid-19 definitely will exacerbate this trend, which I think will be a net negative.

BC
Foreign enrollment will be hurt in the short term.   Most people will prefer to risk getting COVID19 in their home country.   It is not trivial that it can be costly to get treated in the USA.   The way the USA seems to struggle with how to combat the virus also impacts the USA's image as an education, science and medicine leader.   Long term the USA may still be OK because it is much harder for foreigners to thrive economically in a lot of other countries. 

Domestic enrollment will have several forces.   Students will almost certainly opt for schools closer to home in case schools close or they get COVID19.   Given high probability of more "Zoom University" sessions, people probably will opt for lower discounted tuition options.   One enrollment downside will be created by parent unemployment.   A number of 18 year-olds will need to stay home to help earn money for the family to pay the mortgage or rent.  It may be harder for a 50 year-old parent-flight attendant to get a new career than the 18 year-old.   There is an enrollment upside in play too, the current 4th year seniors from affluent families.   I can only guess a lot of seniors are discovering they lost their job offers in the last few weeks.   It might be better to hide in a school getting a minor, a second major or a masters degree than be unemployed for a year.  

Sports - Here student-athletes will be different than profession athletes.   An athlete on a pro contract generally is required to honor that contract.   Student-athletes don't really have the same obligations and schools can't sign 10 day contracts to fill gaps.   Worse the student-athletes live on campus, so any event brings the chance for community spread.  Would you be worried as a student if the cross country athlete down the hall had a bit of a cough after a multi-school meet at Ann Arbor, MI?  Imagine for a moment that one athlete at one of the dozen or so teams at the event tested positive for COVID19 the week after the meet.   Tracing would quickly spread to thousands of students at dozens of schools across the USA.   Yikes

The college players can't be isolated for the season like Dr. Fauci has proposed for pro-sports because they are students.  Most schools don't care about soccer, cross country, field hockey, volleyball or water polo.   So look for those sports to just get cancelled for 2020 just like the winter and fall sports.   Maybe schools will try to use the Spring training period as an excuse to have a Spring schedule of games in 2021.

I would guess the alternative would be for schools to issue bonds to pay for various expenses if they lack revenue because of COVID19.   Presumably most schools could issue the bonds at very favorable rates.  A bit like war bonds, I am sure your average Alabama resident would quickly fork over $1000 for a bond if it was meant to save Bama football.

Student loans - My guess is eventually some chunk of money will be given to those that got college loans for higher education in 2020.   The justification for forgiving those loans will be all over the place, but I think there will be enough pressure to forgive those loans.    There will be loads of defaults doing it the other way.  The government still would need to provide money to the lenders but the difference would be a group of young adults with ruined credit that would likely kill their income earning potential for a decade a more. 

All things I am guessing schools are working on already.

FWIW - I feel so sorry for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2024.
The Class of 2020 will enter the worst job market, potentially in the more than a century.  Ugh.
The Class of 2024 might start their time at colleges without ever stepping foot on that colleges' campus.   Virtual Freshmen Orientation sounds like an awful experience.  If I had a child set to be a member of the Class of 2024, I would definitely encourage my child to explore Gap Year opportunities.
(04-16-2020, 05:36 PM)Farm93 Wrote: [ -> ]One enrollment downside will be created by parent unemployment. 
Wonder how this (not just unemployment, but paycuts too) will affect Stanford's cutoff for free tuition.
A handful of the professors I had at Stanford were really exemplary. Most were okay. Many were awful. And I graduated with a BSME in a department that was rated the highest in the country at the time. The benefit of a Stanford education lies with the students, not the professors. Distance learning will kill that.
(04-16-2020, 07:22 PM)cardcrimson Wrote: [ -> ]A handful of the professors I had at Stanford were really exemplary. Most were okay. Many were awful. And I graduated with a BSME in a department that was rated the highest in the country at the time. The benefit of a Stanford education lies with the students, not the professors. Distance learning will kill that.

I had some really good professors at Stanford. Maybe 2 or 3 that were awful. One was a visiting professor from Kansas. Many of my profs were world leaders in research in their fields and they were able to make their areas of interest exciting to learn. Sorry your Stanford experience wasn't similar. 

On the other hand, I totally agree with the benefit of going to school with really great minds in the student body. I told my daughter that the reason we were willing to pay the money for a top school was the exposure she would have to future leaders in every area of life. 

My son's university is unfortunately not providing that. He is benefiting from being on his own. He is benefiting from seeing more of the real world at a large public university. There aren't many Stanford level minds there though. That is why he is trying to transfer.

I don't think Stanford and the Ivies are going to be hurt too much by a loss of foreign students or from students trying to stay closer to home. The allure is too great. Mid-level schools are going to have some issues and low tier schools are going to have survival problems. If the school does not provide a great college experience than parents will figure internet classes are good enough. That will be offered for cheap elsewhere.
The best prof I had was visiting from Reed. Then again he wrote like 1/3 of the standard undergraduate physics textbooks, so he might just have a talent for pedagogy.



On topic, I have no damn idea what will happen. My best guess is that 5+ years from now things will look pretty similar, at least at Stanford and other elite colleges. I wouldn't be surprised if the bottom fell out for the smaller, non-elite institutions, a lot of them were struggling prior to this anyway. Online colleges were already getting some traction (my SiL is getting a degree from one of them, ASU I believe), that will probably be accerlated. I'm curious about the big state schools, that's the one where it seems hardest to predict.

For the next few years? I give it a big fat ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
(04-16-2020, 07:38 PM)akiddoc Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-16-2020, 07:22 PM)cardcrimson Wrote: [ -> ]A handful of the professors I had at Stanford were really exemplary. Most were okay. Many were awful. And I graduated with a BSME in a department that was rated the highest in the country at the time. The benefit of a Stanford education lies with the students, not the professors. Distance learning will kill that.

I had some really good professors at Stanford. Maybe 2 or 3 that were awful. One was a visiting professor from Kansas. Many of my profs were world leaders in research in their fields and they were able to make their areas of interest exciting to learn. Sorry your Stanford experience wasn't similar. 

On the other hand, I totally agree with the benefit of going to school with really great minds in the student body. I told my daughter that the reason we were willing to pay the money for a top school was the exposure she would have to future leaders in every area of life. 

My son's university is unfortunately not providing that. He is benefiting from being on his own. He is benefiting from seeing more of the real world at a large public university. There aren't many Stanford level minds there though. That is why he is trying to transfer.

I don't think Stanford and the Ivies are going to be hurt too much by a loss of foreign students or from students trying to stay closer to home. The allure is too great. Mid-level schools are going to have some issues and low tier schools are going to have survival problems. If the school does not provide a great college experience than parents will figure internet classes are good enough. That will be offered for cheap elsewhere.

My memories of Stanford and the profs:

The memorable ones on the plus side were Mary Sunseri, who taught calc (made it fun). Zimbardo (no explanation necessary). Gurley, a socialist who taught Econ 101 (or whatever it was called). 

I can't remember the names of several in the ME/Engineering department, but three who stood out, a guy in materials whose in class demo's were crazy (one sent him to the hospital), a renowned ME prof who had to be the nicest guy alive, and a recent PHD who was also a KA--the median test scores in his class were typically were in the teens (an absolutely brilliant guy, an incredible partier, and a prof who hadn't quite yet figured out that even the masses at Stanford didn't share his brilliance). 

The crappy: the seventies leftover grad assistant who taught frosh english, my two advanced math profs (the biggest shock of my years at Stanford, was when one of them actually showed up not wearing his vintage, mustard colored blazer), and a civil engineering prof with a monotone voice that Ben Stein would be jealous of and who always ended up with chalk all over his face. John Anderson, the failed Presidential independent candidate, was a of immense proportions disappointment as well. . . .

Some of the best times were our "study group" breaking into the ME department just off the quad on Sunday nites, often with beer, and working collectively to figure out the problem set due in the morning. Of course we'd use the campus phone system to call all the other study groups to share info to resolve the more complex issues.

Importantly, the labs and the lab work were fascinating, even for MEs. Some access to some great, great facilities.

Going to be really tough to duplicate any of those experiences virtually, while still commanding the stiff tuition. . . .
(04-16-2020, 09:02 PM)cardcrimson Wrote: [ -> ]My memories of Stanford and the profs:

The memorable ones on the plus side were Mary Sunseri,

+1000. She was a great teacher who I think affected lots of people's careers in a very positive way. Undoubtedly never got enough credit.

Another great professor in EE was David Tuttle. I suspect that you can graduate in EE from Stanford today with no idea how an analog filter is designed. Tuttle problem sets are legendary. You can't get that from the "overflow room" which is the early version of distance learning.
Stanford's always been looking for ways to expand the undergraduate population, but physical limitations of dorm space, etc. always got in the way.  I wonder if Stanford will consider boosting enrollment now while exploring near-term construction options while students are away...

Also there was a study sometime ago looking at the cost increases of higher ed over recent years. It seems that there have been more and more program/mid-tier administrators added to higher ed payrolls, many with substantial salaries. If you're looking for fat to trim, you might start there.
NY Times had a piece on colleges and universities

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/us/co...sions.html

Quote:Ms. McCarville, the student in Phoenix, said the coronavirus had made her more sensitive to price over marquee names, and to the value of being close to her family. Although her dream schools, Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, offered her scholarships, tuition at Arizona State was cheaper, and the overall package was better.
In the past, that might not have mattered to her. But after the coronavirus, it does.
“I would rather go to the least expensive school possible,” Ms. McCarville said, “just so I minimize my debt when I enter the work force, and I’m not in over my head in a very uncertain situation.”


I don't know how typical the anecdote is, and it is understandable.  That being said, students who went into college during the financial crisis, came out in 2012 or 2013 when the job market was improving significantly, and the economy was creating ~150,000 jobs a month.  As horrible as this recession/depression is, things will look very different in 2024 when these students graduate.  I just hope it is for the better.

BC
(04-16-2020, 07:22 PM)cardcrimson Wrote: [ -> ]A handful of the professors I had at Stanford were really exemplary. Most were okay. Many were awful. And I graduated with a BSME in a department that was rated the highest in the country at the time. The benefit of a Stanford education lies with the students, not the professors. Distance learning will kill that.
I think this is a common perspective for students at many colleges and universities.   That's why I feel sorry for Class of 2024 types.   I just can't imagine starting my Stanford experience with 3 months of classes from my family home.
(04-16-2020, 09:02 PM)cardcrimson Wrote: [ -> ]My memories of Stanford and the profs:

The memorable ones on the plus side were Mary Sunseri, who taught calc (made it fun). Zimbardo (no explanation necessary). Gurley, a socialist who taught Econ 101 (or whatever it was called). 

Wish I had someone like Sunseri. My calc prof was beyond awful. Years later, I ran into him, we compared notes. He only taught at the University level for two years and he told me he hated the experience. Just my luck. Honorable mention to my English 102 prof, an early SJW who taught me the value of style over substance.

You want to try a fun exercise with a small group of people, here's one: have everyone list the class from undergrad they currently use the most in their work lives. My two choices would be Child Psychology and Acting for Non-Majors (my very last class, very useful for sales). Marketing 181 with Moshe Handelsman, hands down my most "real world" class. And any class with a Jesuit prof was at least entertaining. Bonus points if you liked to argue.
Sorry for starting another thread, but the topic of higher education models in the C-19 environment raises some interesting questions on higher education models.

I have long thought that the basic higher education model - matriculate to a four year college, dwell with others, obtain a degree, etc. - is on the verge of collapse, basically because the cost-benefit ratio has gone to hell, and also the skewed intellectual environment. I was superbly educated at Pomona between 1964 and 1968. But it didn't cost a fortune then, $3,000 a year room,board and tuition, and the faculty, though old-style liberal in believing in open dialog, ran the full cultural gamut, from Left to Right. They were great years. But I wonder these days whether the full package is worth it. Covid-19 is going to put this in sharp relief.

So consider this. Before the lockdown, a substantial number of Stanford courses were on-line. Now I believe they all are. (I believe MIT's full catalogue is also on line, but I don't know.) If not, they easily could be. There is no reason why they can't be available to anyone who is prepared to pay an appropriate fee, and they probably are or will be. That's money for jam for Stanford, as the fixed cost is not increased and marginal costs are non existent. It is also possible to test and give credit to anyone who completes the work.

Think about a motivated kid, not necessarily in the US, maybe in Mumbai, or Damascus, or Beijing, who is determined to obtain the benefits of a Stanford education. He or she completes all the relevant coursework, passes the exams, and it is even possible to fold term papers into the equation, with a modest investment in readers and graders. He or she thus stands with exactly the same academic credentials as any matriculate who has resided on the Palo Alto campus. A few years ago, there was a first person account on the Atlantic Monthly of a Harvard grad who did exactly that -  everything online. He met his classmates for the first time at graduation. He'd never set foot on the Cambridge campus.

Which raises a simple, but extremely perplexing question - what the h-ll was the point of the admission process? If courses and coursework are completely available to anyone smart enough and motivated enough to complete them? To anoint a particular group of applicants as the Elect? The Chosen? That doesn't sit too well, does it? I think we begin to grope towards the resentment of elitism and class warfare that fuels so much of the divisiveness in this society.

I enjoyed my four years at Pomona. Bud did I need them? Maybe I would have done better in the Army, or with some part-time employment, while I did the coursework - if I really were that motivated. It's a whole new world, and of course was not available then. It WAS a sort of privilege, though the 'white male' label annoys the hell out of me - sexist and racist. (These days the majority of undergraduates, and the majority of matriculates in the medical and law schools are women, so where the 'male' is I don't know. And the portals are wide open to anybody, if you have the money.)  But definitely a slightly upper middle class privilege. 

In any case, I'm not the only person who's going to register the difference. If a Stanford matriculate is sitting at home doing online coursework, why can't some motivated person in Beijing? What's the difference, other than a suspect label? The Covid-19 shutdown, which scatters the students off campus, brings the issue into sharp focus.

Do I believe in Medicare for All? Not just yet - administratively impossible. But elite education for all? With no branding by an Admissions committee?  Oh, yeah. Why not?
More than 700 GSB students signed a petition asking their tuition for the online spring quarter be reduced by 80%, to bring it in line with the online programs the GSB offers.
(04-17-2020, 12:43 PM)chrisk Wrote: [ -> ]More than 700 GSB students signed a petition asking their tuition for the online spring quarter be reduced by 80%, to bring it in line with the online programs the GSB offers.
They are entirely right. And that's just for openers.
(04-16-2020, 03:24 PM)2006alum Wrote: [ -> ]Domestic Enrollment
Some of you have already talked about questioning the value of paying sticker for expensive private schools when your kids are sitting the next room over absorbing lectures by Zoom. My guess is we'll see increased enrollment at community college (in part for folks retraining who were laid off), as well as commuter state schools where a lot of students lived at home anyway. I doubt many 18-year-olds would put off college for a year altogether, but I have to imagine that, at the margins, if I live in SoCal, Pomona suddenly looks a lot more attractive than Williams. If I'm choosing between Georgetown and Berkeley and I live in Maryland, Georgetown seems obvious. My suspicion is that we'll see a return to more regional patterns in college attendance that had diminished over the past several decades. 

*For those of you with kids deciding on college, or with friends and family who have kids deciding, what are they thinking? I'd be curious to hear how this decision calculus is being made.

(04-16-2020, 05:36 PM)Farm93 Wrote: [ -> ]
FWIW - I feel so sorry for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2024.
The Class of 2020 will enter the worst job market, potentially in the more than a century.  Ugh.
The Class of 2024 might start their time at colleges without ever stepping foot on that colleges' campus.   Virtual Freshmen Orientation sounds like an awful experience.  If I had a child set to be a member of the Class of 2024, I would definitely encourage my child to explore Gap Year opportunities.


Ummm, that would be me. Older son graduating from Northwestern, admitted to Master's program at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. Younger son graduating from high school, admitted to Brown. Still committed to attending but seriously considering taking a gap year if distance learning is the default. They're thinking about continuing their Mandarin language studies at a university in China or Taiwan, which would be kind of a fun adventure for them to study abroad together. Maybe things will then be back to "normal" by Fall of 2021 or at least distance learning will be better by then (whether $70k better remains to be seen). Younger son is a bit torn as he'd like to start college with his cohort. We've got a couple of months before deferral deadlines force a decision. 

P.S. +1000 on Mary Sunseri. She made Calc at 8 am bearable!
(04-17-2020, 02:11 PM)UltimateCard Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-16-2020, 03:24 PM)2006alum Wrote: [ -> ]Domestic Enrollment
Some of you have already talked about questioning the value of paying sticker for expensive private schools when your kids are sitting the next room over absorbing lectures by Zoom. My guess is we'll see increased enrollment at community college (in part for folks retraining who were laid off), as well as commuter state schools where a lot of students lived at home anyway. I doubt many 18-year-olds would put off college for a year altogether, but I have to imagine that, at the margins, if I live in SoCal, Pomona suddenly looks a lot more attractive than Williams. If I'm choosing between Georgetown and Berkeley and I live in Maryland, Georgetown seems obvious. My suspicion is that we'll see a return to more regional patterns in college attendance that had diminished over the past several decades. 

*For those of you with kids deciding on college, or with friends and family who have kids deciding, what are they thinking? I'd be curious to hear how this decision calculus is being made.

(04-16-2020, 05:36 PM)Farm93 Wrote: [ -> ]
FWIW - I feel so sorry for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2024.
The Class of 2020 will enter the worst job market, potentially in the more than a century.  Ugh.
The Class of 2024 might start their time at colleges without ever stepping foot on that colleges' campus.   Virtual Freshmen Orientation sounds like an awful experience.  If I had a child set to be a member of the Class of 2024, I would definitely encourage my child to explore Gap Year opportunities.


Ummm, that would be me. Older son graduating from Northwestern, admitted to Master's program at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. Younger son graduating from high school, admitted to Brown. Still committed to attending but seriously considering taking a gap year if distance learning is the default. They're thinking about continuing their Mandarin language studies at a university in China or Taiwan, which would be kind of a fun adventure for them to study abroad together. Maybe things will then be back to "normal" by Fall of 2021 or at least distance learning will be better by then (whether $70k better remains to be seen). Younger son is a bit torn as he'd like to start college with his cohort. We've got a couple of months before deferral deadlines force a decision. 

P.S. +1000 on Mary Sunseri. She made Calc at 8 am bearable!
I think the entire structure of higher education is going to be redone. See the Higher Education Models thread.

The new interactive course structure calls into question the need for formal admissions.
(04-17-2020, 02:26 PM)Genuine Realist Wrote: [ -> ]I think the entire structure of higher education is going to be redone. See the Higher Education Models thread.

The new interactive course structure calls into question the need for formal admissions.

GR, I don't have time for a long post right now, but I largely agree with you that they SHOULD be redone, whether or not they will. (And eventually, as you say, they will HAVE to.) I merged your thread into this one because I think this is an important discussion that I'd hate to have get lost among the various threads. More later. :)
(04-17-2020, 12:30 PM)Genuine Realist Wrote: [ -> ]But elite education for all? With no branding by an Admissions committee?  Oh, yeah. Why not?

Eight years ago, I took a two week marketing management mini-class taught by a dynamic marketing prof at Northwestern -- an Indian professor, and I can't recall his name. Wish I could.  The subject turned to higher education going completely online, and when it will happen.  

His take was that it could happen relatively easily, but that it wouldn't happen to a Top 10 school with the exception of MIT.  His theory was that they the other nine were far too invested in exclusivity and brand to water down their graduates with second tier candidates.  He made MIT the exception because (paraphrased his words) they were more of a meritocratic trade school than the other nine (at this writing, source USNWR Top Ten are: Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Penn, Northwestern and Duke).

He further theorized that a "second ten" university was more likely to emerge, but most would refrain from offering degrees online because they were madly trying to ramp up their brand to Top Ten levels.  Those colleges were: John Hopkins, Cal Tech, Dartmouth, Brown, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Rice, Washington U. in St. Louis and -- again, at this writing -- UCLA.d

There'd be some hurdles, and you'd need a team of TAs...but for a discount that large?  Sure, why not?
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