Last month, I shared with you the story of the young woman who is suing her Alma Mater for $72,000 because she has failed to land a job. While opposed to the woman’s decision on political and philosophical grounds, I said at the time that it was a harbinger of things to come for colleges and universities because I’m convinced more and more young people will begin to question the wisdom of spending an exorbitant sum for an undergraduate education.
Today, I came across a fascinating article in the Washington Monthly entitled "College for $99 a Month.” It profiles the rise of StraightLine, an online educational company, which is delivering introductory college courses for a flat, monthly fee of $99. Students of Clayton Christensen’s “Disruptive Innovation” model will immediately recognize how dangerous Straightline is to traditional colleges and universities—especially non-elite 4-year institutions.
If those institutions hope to survive and still be around in 10 to 15-years time, I’d suggest they open themselves up to the concept of unlearning and begin thinking about how they might transform their existing educational models to remain relevant in the 21st Century.
In short, students (and their parents) are about to quickly unlearn the idea of paying between $10,000-$40,000 a year for what is often a questionable education. If colleges and universities don't similarly unlearn and begin providing a better education for less money they will soon find themselves irrelevant.