1. Online Education/MOOCs. This trend shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone following the field but did you know that Georgia Tech–in partnership with Udacity–is now offering a master’s degree in computer science for the low, low price of $7,000? Furthermore, two innovative professors at the University of Texas are now offering students the opportunity to earn college credit for psychology 101 for $550. Soon, even more high-quality “101” and masters-level courses will be available. As this recent report on the future of higher education puts it: An Avalanche is Coming.
2. College Exit Tests. A staggering 43% of all grades awarded to college and university student in the U.S. are “A’s”. Unfortunately, too many graduates are leaving their institutions of higher learning without basic skills. To help remedy this problem and to demonstrate that its graduates are ready for the “real world,” 200 universities plan to offer “exit exams“–SAT-like tests which will seek to demonstrate students are leaving college with more than just a paper diploma.
3.Self-Paced Degrees. Who says a college degree should take four years? Capella, Straighter Line, Western Governors University and a handful of other institutions are now offering students the opportunity to obtain degrees at their own pace. Learning is no longer a matter of “seat time.”
4. Bachelor degrees and MBA’s from prestigious universities are no longer the hottest ticket among the super-ambitious. To be sure, many promising graduates are still applying to and attending these institutions but Peter Thiel’s “Uncollege” and General Assembly’s innovative entrepreneurial program are siphoning off many of today’s best and brightest students.
5. Loans, Grants and Financial Aid Won’t Be the Only Way to Fund Higher Education. The state of Oregon is considering a plan to allow students to pay for their education by returning 3% of their post-graduation salary for 24 years. Other innovative payment options include crowd-sourcing options and venture capital-like investments in individual students.
Jack Uldrich is a renowned global futurist. He will be keynoting Pearson Learning Solutions annual conference in New Orleans on September 11 and on September 13, he’ll be in Istanbul to address the European Association of International Educators.
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