Saturday, August 24, 2013

Post # 87: The Cost of Higher Education – an Eye Opener

One of my favorite topics is the interaction of technology and society (thus the "byline" for this blog)...  One of the major channels of this interaction is the higher education enterprise.  I've blogged before that I believe the cost of a college degree is, in many cases, outrageously overpriced in both absolute and relative terms.  (I say this from the vantage point of one who is a product of the academic enterprise, who has interacted heavily throughout my professional career with the academic enterprise, and is a parent of young adults who have availed themselves of both traditional 4-yr colleges and the 2-year technical schools.)

I'm convinced many (some might even venture to say most) college degrees aren't worth what they cost - if one measures "worth" in terms of the value society places on the degree.  My basic metric for the value society places on a degree is society's willingness to pay for the exercise of the knowledge and skills supposedly represented by that degree.  (Now of course, the other element of this value proposition is the personal internal fulfillment and satisfaction one gains from the college experience and the knowledge gained therein.  But that's not my topic here...)  Based on my metric, it's abundantly clear a very large percentage of the college degrees being granted in this country today simply aren't worth their cost.

This morning I read one of the most insightful and damning assessments of this situation I've seen. It's an interview with Richard Vedder, of Ohio University and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.  The interview is documented in an opinion piece by Allysia Finley in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal.  I encourage you to read it.   Provocative and thought provoking.  Good stuff.

Some have asked about my absence from the blogosphere during the past month...  The answer is that I've been very busy with clients.  I have also been putting the final touches on new 1-day workshop I'll be offering in the near future.  The workshop, entitled, "Mastering High-Stakes Oral Presentations for Scientific, Technical, and Regulatory Professionals," is a 1-day equipping event, designed to transform individual and organizational oral presentation effectiveness when and where it matters most.  More about this in a future blog...

Just thinking...