Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate ?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from High School kids asking whether or not they should go to college. The answer is yes.

College is where you find out about yourself. It’s where you learn how to learn. It’s where you get exposure to new ideas. For those of us who are into business you learn the languages of business, accounting, finance, marketing and sales in college.

The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that your college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate.

Still in business ? Yep. When I look at the university and college systems around the country I see the newspaper industry.

The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world.

When revenue fell the debt was still there, as were all the big buildings they had purchased, all those presses they had bought and the acquisitions they had made declined in value, but the debt accumulated to pay for them never went away.

They were stuck with no easy way out.

The exact same thing is happening to our 4 year schools. You can’t go to a big state university and not see construction. Why ?

Why in the world are schools building new buildings ? What is required in a business school classroom that is any different from the classroom for psychology or sociology or english or any other number of classes ? A new library, seriously ? What is worse is that schools are taking on debt to pay for this new construction.

Think about this from a business perspective. Schools are seeing state and federal funding decline, as it should. Why should taxpayers be paying for another building ?

They are seeing their primary revenue source, tuition, once a number that was never really questioned, becoming a value decision by prospective students. As they should.

Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.

The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enables you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.

Then, with your freshman and sophomore classes out-of-the-way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to , or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and miracle of miracles, no debt.

For the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of 1 TRILLION DOLLARS as I write this ) are gone. Going to a 4 year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.

Which in turn means that 4 year schools that refuse to LOWER their tuition are going to see their enrollment numbers decline. It just doesn’t make sense to pay top dollar for Introduction to Accounting , psychology 101, etc.

Of course the big schools are going to argue this all day long. They want and need your money. They want to tell you how beautiful their campus is. The social aspects of going away to college. The amazing professors they have. The opportunities they create. The access to alumni and sports. All were great arguments in 2001 when tuitions were still somewhat reasonable. They no longer hold water.

So back to the economics of 4 year schools. Before you go to college, or send your child to a 4 year school you better check their balance sheet. How much debt does the school have ? How many administrators making more than 200k do they have ? How much are they spending on building new buildings. None of which add value to your child’s education, but enrollment declines will force schools to increase their tuition and nail you with other costs. They just create a debtor university that risks going out of business.

There will be colleges and universities that fail , declare bankruptcy or have to re-capitalize much like the newspaper industry has and long before the class of 2018 graduates.

The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it. Your future depends on your ability to assemble an educational plan that gets you on your path of knowledge and discovery without putting you at risk of attending a school that is doomed to fail , and/or saddling you with a debt heavy balance sheet that prevents you from taking the chances, searching for the opportunities or just being a fuck up for a while. We each take our own path, but nothing shortcuts the dreams of a 22-year-old more than owing a shitload of money.

Now is the time to figure it out and avoid the mess schools are creating for themselves and for those who take the old school way to college graduation.

95 thoughts on “Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate ?

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  5. Mark, thank you for the insight. I have felt for quite some time that the market is ultimately a sham for the common people. I realize there are numerous ways to make money on the market, but it seems that at this point, the only sure fire way to make “big cash” is to hold shares in a company before it has its IPO, or, as you stated, the dilution of stock by upper management through stock offerings that normal investors are unaware of, and did not approve. I could be wrong (it does occasionally happen:) but it seems that in these times, companies no longer have IPO’s as a way to gain capital for expansion, but as a way for the owners and upper management to make a lot of money. Thoughts?

    Comment by jaegs47 -

  6. Mark…You are spot on. Looks like an opportunity if you ask me. Small focused urban universities and entrepreneurial schools like Golden Gate University in San Francisco and Draper(@timdraper) University For Heroes in San Mateo, CA respectively are going to thrive in the coming years. Not to mention Education Plan consultants. There’s gold in them there hills!!

    Comment by Philip Vogel -

  7. Pingback: Higher Ed Costs Are Out Of Control - Here's How To Fix It

  8. Pingback: ‘The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it.’ | Cost of College

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  11. Great advice but a lot of things are going to go out of business by the time these kids graduate.

    What our youngsters really need today is to aquire a new kind of education about how to live in this challenging era, and how we can arrage relations between everyone in society to reach a state of peace and prosperity all over the world. This is all the next generation is really interested in because they see that following in our footsteps does not lead down a sustainable path.

    These bright kids who are far more advanced than we were at that age need to figure out how they can best contribute to the new global network being formed as quickly as possible. For some that may mean college, for others training, but regardless the entire world is about to take its seat on the school bench and learn about what is really happening in our world.

    Comment by Good Vibe Agency (@goodvibeagency) -

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  15. Clay Shirky wrote a great piece related to this. He uses the recording industry as his analogy to higher education, the inner belief they are too big to fail and their blindness to the fact that the business model that has worked for generations needs to change. http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/11/napster-udacity-and-the-academy

    Comment by eeknay (@eeknay) -

  16. College is where you LIVE, people, just for a little while. Don’t miss out on it, you’ll regret it later in your life.

    Comment by deanysus -

    • Deanysus, you bring up an excellent point, however in at least some colleges, drinking, partying and scoring is so high on the list that one wonders if that is actually a way to prepare for the real world. Maybe it is, I don’t know for sure.

      Comment by alexlogic -

  17. Interesting thoughts. The untold story, however, is the way that we as a society no longer value education. Much of the unaffordability of college over the past 10 years is due to cuts made by federal and especially state government. Public 4 year colleges have seen a 4.4% average annual increase in the last 10 years, while private colleges have held that number under 3%.

    The internet is a useful tool, but to imagine than an online education provides anything like the education one gets when challenged to defend one’s ideas in public is deluding ourselves.

    Comment by socamr -

  18. i do not think that going college is a waste of time and money. though we do not make us of the knowledge gained then, it does help to train our thinking skills. of course, thinking skills can also be picked up through self reading.

    http://trilinq.officialnewlaunch.com/

    Comment by Official New Launch (@ONLaunch) -

  19. Hey Mark – I enjoy reading your blog. Here is an interesting link to an article on Coursera, which is now offering 5 courses that have ACE credit equivalency.

    Best Regards,
    JK

    Curbing The Cost Of College: Coursera Wins Approval To Offer Online Courses For Credit For Under $200

    http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/07/curbing-the-cost-of-college-coursera-wins-approval-to-offer-online-courses-for-credit-for-under-200/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29

    Comment by jkintz (@jkintzjr) -

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  21. Mark,

    Much admiration for what you have accomplished, and how.

    FWIW, I think your article is mostly right, but perhaps a bit overstated. There is a demographic shift to fewer students that makes the building a bit silly, really. Costs have gotten way out of hand too (thus some of the crazy tuition).

    Yet this game will likely run longer than folks expect. In many cases the taxpayer is paying and will continue to pay. Private schools sit on large endowments too.

    Then there is the way people will pay far too much for ‘prestige’. So a load of parents will ‘pay up’ for a name far beyond reason.

    I think those things will ‘soften the onset'; but not change the outcome from your conclusions.

    I got a 4 year degree from UC. It cost me $209 / quarter so about $627 / year plus room and board. My son just graduated UC. He got a full ride scholarship or I’d not have been able to do it. IIRC it was about $30,000 / year. It just isn’t possible for folks today to do what I did. It will get worse ‘going forward’. So something has to give. (As you pointed out).

    The “debt funding” of college will burn out with this generation. Too many of them will be too much in debt too long, and they will remember it as a negative. So with costs out of alignment with ability to pay, and debt off the table; well, it will be as you said. But I would quibble about “how fast”. You imply ‘years’, while it looks to me like Decades or more… perhaps generational.

    The real ringer, IMHO, will be the acceptance of Computer Based Training and online education. Once “name” schools are offering degrees that way (and not watermarked to allow later disparagement as ‘different’…) then the lower costs of online will drive many more folks to that route. Some very bright folks, in particular, who were bored in school and found the pace too slow. Once you have “high performance people” getting “name degrees” and at low cost on-line… that’s the point where what you describe become clear reality. And those new buildings become a mill stone..

    My guess is that will take 20 years to come to fruition, not 5… but I could be wrong…

    Comment by E.M.Smith -

  22. Yale college now suing former student loan defaulters.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-05/yale-suing-former-students-shows-crisis-in-loans-to-poor.html

    What probably won’t be stated is that most students can’t pay back their loans because of the interest rate charge. Remove the interest rate charge, and it is more likely they can pay down their loans over time.

    Saying the money was supposed to help other poor students is a crock. If that was the case, don’t charge interest on the loan.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  23. My company that I was working for went out of business after I went to College, Great points Mark as usual but education is what you take from it.

    http://www.thirdcirclebook.com/

    Comment by Anthony Ilardi (@ant4tw) -

  24. Great points but the problem is possibly more nuanced. The fallout will probably be similar to sub-prime mortgage bubble. An education in the Manhattan’s of the world (e.g. Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc.) will hold or increase in value due to exclusivity, connections and instant credibility. The rest are potentially headed in the direction you stated. It’s all about marketing (sort of)!

    Comment by Patrick (@patrickmb) -

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  26. Hello, Mark, would you clarify your intention behind the question, “How many administrators making more than 200k do they have?” Are you suggesting that administrators should _not_ be making more than $200k? Or did you mean something else altogether?

    Comment by Marty Y. Chang (@martyychang) -

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    Comment by Sarah James -

  28. Your pathetic bashing of public colleges & universities is unfounded, illogical and just pure ignorance!

    FOR-PROFIT colleges cost taxpayers a shitload more money than public colleges and universities AND they don’t provide any cultural or economic impact to the community either!

    if you haven’t read Senator Harkin’s HELP investigation report on for-profit schools:

    “Between 2000 and 2009 both the number of students enrolling in “for-profit” colleges and the amount of federal student aid loans and grants flowing to the schools escalated dramatically.”

    “Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor’s degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferable.”
    Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don’t have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
    Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans.”

    NOW FOR THE KICKER!!!
    “For-profit colleges spend these taxpayer dollars primarily on non-education related expenses: In fiscal year 2009, the companies examined by the committee spent:
    $4.2 billion or 22.7 percent of all revenue on marketing, advertising, recruiting, and admissions staffing.
    $3.6 billion or 19.4 percent of all revenue on pre-tax profit.
    $3.2 billion or 17.2 percent of all revenue on instruction.
    In 2009 the CEOs of the publicly traded, for-profit education companies took home, on average, $7.3 million. In contrast, the five highest paid leaders of large public universities averaged compensation of $1 million, while the five highest paid leaders at non-profit colleges and universities averaged $3 million.”

    – source: http://www.harkin.senate.gov/help/forprofitcolleges.cfm

    If high school kids or anyone that hasn’t figured out what their passion is and they need some guidance. then they should take some personality tests that will help steer them in the right direction. I suggest Benziger Brain Test, Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator or any other credible type you find…

    Comment by Texistence (@Xistnt) -

  29. Forgot to add too, AP and IP credits as well as dual enrollment can be major cash savers too. You can wipe out a lot of that general ed stuff for free while still in high school! Even if you are given a full ride, most places it will be for four years/eight semesters, while many programs now often take longer than that (and many students will switch majors, in any case), so helps to take advantage of anything like that offered that you can.

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  30. As someone who works in higher ed, specifically scholarships, can back up what Mark is saying here 100%. If anything, if I wanted to be brutally honest (and I’d rather not stick my neck out TOO much here), I would have perhaps worded things more harshly– new buildings? That is the tip of the iceburg. Try resort-style pools and other such things that look like they belong in a Four Seasons rather than on a campus. I admit I worry for my future, and have been expressing my worries for some time now that the bubble will burst soon.

    For those parents and students who may be reading, a few other tips from someone who has seen the same mistakes made year after year and the common pitfalls-

    – If you don’t have, as said, plenty of funding or a full ride (or at least a majority covered), and especially if you aren’t sure of what you want to do, look at going to a community college for a couple years to get the gen ed stuff out of the way, then transfering. Can’t stress this point enough.

    – On the subject of getting that funding, try to seek out as many external scholarships as possible. Lot of legit sites out there for finding them, like fastweb.com, but also a lot of scams. Rule of thumb: If they are asking for money up front, and especially if they are promising returns on it, big red flag.

    – Take advantage of any test prep courses offered in high school. While some schools are getting away from putting as much weight on the SAT/ACT, many aren’t, and I don’t think parents and students realize what a crucial factor that can be in getting awards, regardless of how well-qualified a student is in other ways.

    – The transition to college seems to often take a toll on even the highest achievers. Many dig themselves into a hole first semester that they can’t climb out of, lose their awards, and have to leave because of that. If you find yourself getting depressed or otherwise in a bad spot, get help ASAP, don’t assume you will just snap out of it. Most large campuses have lots of help and resources available, sometimes free.

    – Look into off-campus housing, if allowed. Some students do better on-campus, but it can really be done more affordably off-campus many times (especially given the cost of food on campuses) and in generally nicer arrangements with more privacy.

    – Don’t look just at the tuition, but at the estimated cost of attendance. Though it is an estimate, and can vary quite a bit in actuality, it is a good # to go by. Most college sites will have a financial aid calculator to help crunch #s at what you will actually be looking at, though you will often have to dig around to find it.

    – Should be obvious, but avoid student debt if at all possible. I know your heart may be set on going to a certain school in another state, but if they are offering you $2k a year towards a $42k CoA, while a school in your state is giving you a full ride (a scenario such as I hear very frequently from parents), follow the money. If you have to go into that kind of debt to go somewhere special, at least don’t do it for your undergrad work. In the end, it really won’t make much of a difference for that.

    – Co-oping is becoming more and more popular that I see, with good reason- http://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2012/02/27/why-college-co-op-programs-totally-rock/ Get some experience on your resume before you graduate, and sometimes earn some decent money too.

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  31. Mark,
    See the Op-Ed in today’s NY Times by Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute. He got his BA in 1994 through correspondence classes. Got his Ma. the same way. First set foot on a campus to get his PhD. To him the main driver for the coming tipping point is baby bust demographics. Add a good measure of debt and this cauldron will boil.

    Bob

    Comment by Bob Mullen -

  32. The reason college is so necessary is because it can sharpen the skills of high school students and prepare them beyond what they have imagined. I can say this because I am a current college student, and yes I owe TONS in loans and what not. That is a downfall yes, but I know the education I am receiving will pay off, because come May I will finally get paid for learning. I will be able to apply all knowledge and skills I have acquired over the past 4 years to real life situations. Every 18 year old kid needs college for a multitude of reasons. To me, the biggest of all being GETTING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. In high school you are constantly around people you have known your entire life. College you are put in an environment with different ethnicities, backgrounds, cultures, and views. This will mold your mind to think with different views and knowledge. That is why college is so important. The cost might be steep, but the reward (IF you apply everything correctly) is far greater than any all-nighter spent pulling your hair out studying for a test.

    Comment by Anthony Tommelleo (@Amello20) -

  33. So that’s why my university charged a gazillion dollars for parking…

    Comment by Stephen Fiser -

    • thanks Stephen, this thread was getting starting to boarder on the theatre of thee absurd and you crumble the cookie as Stephen Marvin, the rapper or mixtape music video youtube star would say …

      Comment by tcoulon -

  34. The idea of not going to college just seems like the latest fad and everyone is jumping on the band wagon. I agree that it makes no sense to go to a $50k/yr school and major in Art history and the like. It does makes sense to go to the best school that you can afford and major in a STEM area.
    On-line and life experience isn’t for everyone, or most people even. Those methods require much more discipline than college. And young people do need the structure and guidance to get through college. Not all 18-year olds are as wise and disciplined as some of your commentors must have been when they were kids.
    I agree that billions are wasted on new buildings while tuition goes up. I also feel that these financial aid programs enrich colleges at the expense of students and need to be reformed.

    Comment by imarunner2012 -

  35. I spend almost everyday thinking about these issues working for an education network and performing research through data analysis and surveys and one of the common themes I see in results relates to value. There is a growing acceptance of online education being a better value which is why so many for profit Universities are building and offering these lower cost programs.
    In the current climate banks have been taking a huge risk financing education as graduates are having a hard time finding well paying jobs and consequently student loan defaults are rising. This is a huge challenge for higher-ed as they wrestle with their own 21st century identities while trying to prove the best value for students.

    Comment by Tommy Zevallos -

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  37. I am a professor at a 4-year state school. Here are some thoughts for you:

    1) infrastructure like new buildings are not paid for out the the university budget. There are separate funds for new buildings.

    2) Why the heck are you talking about buildings anyway, when SPORTS are the obvious money drain at 4-year schools?

    3) Regardless, I really like your message about students taking responsibility for planning their education.

    Comment by Anthony Tovar -

  38. More and more universities are watching coursera and are looking to implement their own in house online learning sites. However I do still see many universities building bigger libraries when they should take hints from Barnes and Noble and see that they are going out of business at an alarming rate. Go digital or Go Home!

    Comment by Malcom Chakery (@chakery) -

  39. The student debt crisis is real. Not only is it at One Trillion Dollars it is also affecting our next generation. I am seeing parents with student debt payments taking out more loans for their children who are now entering college. When does it end?
    The future is bright with the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The value is in the quality of education provided to the student and what that student does with his or her new knowledge. The World Education University will be providing Free Education to the world while having the students give back to society. “We ask our students to sign a give back mission to take their education and do good in the world.” ~ Scott Hines, President and Chief Operating Officer The World Education University (WEU)

    Comment by Robert Dennis Enriquez -

  40. I really like this article and enjoy Mark’s blog in general, but this blog has been written from the perspective of a man far removed from the mind of an 17 or 18-year-old high school senior.

    I am a 22-year-old student that is about to graduate from a state university in May (with plenty of debt), and I can tell you that when I was a senior in high school I did not entirely understand what I was getting myself into when I was accepted and signed my student loans. I think that it is naive to believe that an 18-year-old is capable of making complex budgetary decisions about college, classes, and credits. It’s hard to argue with the points that Mark has made in this post, but the responsibility of making these types of decisions rests with the parents, if for no other reason than the fact that the the high school senior just doesn’t understand or care to understand. Personally, I didn’t really grasp the reality of my accumulating debt until I was a sophomore. Perhaps that’s my fault, or maybe it’s my parents fault, but that’s not the point.

    What I can say about a traditional four year education at a large state university is that I did learn a lot about taking on responsibility, meeting expectations and planning for the future. I can’t say if that is solely a product of my four years here or if that is just the natural order of things for someone my age. However, I can say that I feel that I am much mature and far more prepared for the future than my classmates that went the community college route. Additionally, I am much more satisfied with my decision than some friends who made a habit of transferring between schools for whatever reason. Once again I can’t prove any causation, but there is definitely something to be said about this.

    The bottom line is that I agree with Mark, but the responsibility of making these plans will ultimately fall upon the parents (in most cases) and most likely to the resentment of the 18-year-old.

    Comment by tyler5192 -

  41. Look at the numbers. Enrollment is at an all time high. That’s why more buildings are being built.

    Comment by Fork Tongue -

  42. I see your points Mark. I am from China, I would say American Univs are still of high value…that would explain why they are flooded with Chinese students right now. Educational investment in the U.S is still considered the best in the world regardless of you being Chinese or Americans.

    Economic wise, it is so true to get the same kind of degree with least amount of money possible.

    But, if I or in the future, my kid would have the chance to go to a top 50 universities, it would worthwhile to put in money that might be used for constructing buildings. For one, top 50 universities would never be out of business; second, a diploma from these schools is worth the debt that I might take. It is all about risk assessment.

    But, if I am so dumb that I am not able to crack into these schools, I would take your way.

    Comment by Xiaonan Wang (@wxn8822) -

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  44. Right now college is the place where you can escape your parents, friends and family and make yourself and a name for yourself. You can challenge yourself and learn about who you really are. You can succeed and fail in so many different ways without your parents intervening or talking you out of taking big risks.

    All that being said, the bubble is building. There will always be a Harvard and a Stanford, but big name state schools like West [insert name here] State University and all the places who rely on revenue from NCAA sports to thrive will be gone. The parties still happen, but they won’t be in the quad.

    My view is the students will pay for housing in an area that they want to escape to. A place like New York City or some kind of education park where they can live with roommates, be away from their parents and “learn.” The education part comes from not only leaving home but from simple online videos with students who wish to get help similar to tutoring actually going to a classroom with a grad student to answer questions and work thru problems.

    The professors are going away. Nobody likes them and in many cases they don’t correct homework, exams or answer questions. They “mentor” grad students and receive grants to do research. Research that will eventually lead to a meaningful career if they have any business acumen.

    I think flipping the classroom is the future. Watching a video at home and doing examples and practice with classmates is the future, at least with beginner level classes. Neither of which needs an expensive professor or campus. Cuban may be right that many college students will seek to take classes for only 2 years to finish a four year degree in order to save money. Let’s just hope these universities (in the middle of nowhere) stop building so many future condemned buildings.

    Comment by Peter Melnik -

  45. I have two college degrees and more than enough money to send my eight year old to college (assuming tuitions don’t double or triple by the time he graduates high school). The point is—-I went to college myself and have the resources to send my child. But—–depending on what his aspirations are, it’s not a given that I’m going to enroll him in college. Simply stated, it’s no longer a value—-and in fact, in many cases, has become a rip-off. If he wants to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer—-and if he has the aptitude for it—-then college it is. If this is a matter of taking Freshman English and “finding himself” I’ll get him a few Grayhound tickets and give him a couple thousand bucks to travel around and experience life on his own. Or, we’ll rent an RV and go around the country like Billy and Mentor did on “Shazam.” But I refuse to pay six figures—-and have it funneled to a bloated, protected, higher education system. If the government wasn’t the back-stop—-with grants, loans and the like—-college tuitions would already be declining and becoming more affordable for all. It’s frustrating to see another redistribution of wealth, which is what this amount to. Look—–for a high achieving kid who is a future scientist or someone who could really change the nation or the world—-yes, I want my taxes to go to help that child get through college. But for the “C” student who wants to have “the college experience” they need to work part time or full time, like people I knew in college did—-to put themselves through. Or join the military and see if they could get help with college that way. I have friends who did just that—-a few years in the Army followed by a few years at Penn State, with the Army paying for it. It’s time for this system to get some common sense—-and stop getting unlimited taxes funding them. Time for the colleges to compete with LOWERING their tuitions.

    Comment by dcangelo -

  46. Pingback: Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/28/13 | Eric Cressey | High Performance Training, Personal Training

  47. “All bubbles keep inflating until they are no longer able to be financed.”

    If I could short the universities of America, (aside from APOL and the like) my catalyst would be when the government starts capping student loans.

    Comment by openprize -

  48. Mark – Once again we have “over educated people” making business decisions by deciding to build monuments to their egos and legacies. New resources and technology investments seem more appropriate than a library that may not be needed. I went back to college to finish after thirty years and 99% of the time research information was found on line. When I first went to school 1972 (embarassed) the library was overcrowded. Three years ago we could have put up and basket and played horse without disturbing people. If a building is necessary build it, but not to the detriment of the people paying for it-The students.

    Comment by Mick Fields (@jffmick) -

  49. Hi Mark,

    I meant to comment on your Stimulus post, but it has so many comments, my computer freezes when I go to the page!

    About me
    I’d like to briefly introduce myself; My name is Christian, I’m 19 years old, live in San Diego, CA, and started my first business at age 13, selling modern European style home furniture through an eBay store and website I created myself. Unfortunately, the economy collapsed about a year and a half later and orders stopped coming in. Today, I’m in the process of getting a salespersons license, to start a career in real estate, but that’s only because I don’t have the capital to get my product off the ground.

    What is it
    About 5 years ago, I was battling horrible acne. I tried everything to clear up my skin, from Proactiv and Clearasil to some egg yolk facial technique I read about online, haha. Finally, I tried a not very well known product that ACTUALLY WORKED! The problem was, it left my skin extremely dry. I didn’t mind, though, as I thought it was a fair price to pay for getting rid of my embarrassing acne; until I came across the second ingredient to this two-step system. It is used as the base, before applying the actual acne treatment. Both of these very different products are already on-sale and available to the public, but are not well known, and certainly not used in unison. After looking at patents on both of these products, they can be (and already are being) reproduced by other manufacturers without violating the patent, just by changing a small part of the formula. But no one is selling both ingredients together as a package.

    How I will execute it
    A friend/customer of my dad’s is a chemist. His company specializes in creating formulas for various hair products, such as hair color and shampoo, he then bottles it and labels it with his client’s logo for them to retail (he does other types of products, too). The first step would be to send the products to him (or another company that can do the same thing) to analyze and figure out the formula, and change it slightly, to not violate any patents. Then, once we have the product developed, start trial testing, not only to ensure that the product works on the masses, but also to acquire before-and-after pictures for advertising purposes. The next step is to design the packaging, branding, etc. and send the final, approved products off to production. After that, I would create an advanced marketing plan, consisting of an e-commerce site (I already have the website purchased), along with filming television commercials, purchasing TV spots (or hire a marketing firm to handle all the nitty-gritty details), plus create an SEO (Google Adwords) and Facebook campaign targeting searches for acne products. From there, once the first order of products are ready to ship, the products will be sent to a fulfilment house. The fulfilment house will handle ALL order processing and logistics, from online orders, call-in orders and mail-in orders. They will also serve as the customer service department, handling all returns.

    What it will cost
    The products will be priced to compete with Proactiv. Although we could afford to undercut Proactiv’s price, since our cost on each product, plus packaging and shipping will be around $5 per unit, I don’t want to lower the value of the product. This system works better than Proactiv, and I can prove it. I would rather use free shipping and handling to get people to try it. Also, with every first order, the customer will be automatically enrolled in our subscription program. So, 90 days after their supply runs out, their card on file will be automatically charged for another 90 day supply, at the $19.95 price plus $7.95 shipping and handling. The process will repeat every 90 days, until they call to cancel.

    How much start-up capital is needed
    The product itself is not going to cost very much to produce. The initial cost to have the formula developed, build an e-commerce website and market the product through SEO and television will take up majority of the funds. To get this product off the ground, I believe it will require a minimum $500,000 investment. With this, you will have a 40% stake in the company.

    How you will make a profit
    Our initial order of products will be 25,000 units. Once the official nationwide launch, our goal will be to sell all 25,000 units within the first 30 days; equalling about $500,000, at $19.95 per unit (offering free shipping & handling on first orders). After that, we’ll have broken even and will use the capital raised from those orders to continue marketing and order larger quantities of product. Our eventual goal, volume wise, will be to move between 50,000 and 100,000 units per month, netting around $10 per order (after taking into account product cost, shipping, handling, marketing, etc.).

    If this plan is something that sparks your interest, please let me know. I would really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you further.

    Best regards,

    Christian

    Comment by Christian Del -

  50. I’m not talking student loan forgiveness, but what about forgiving the interest rate charges, penalties and fees going forward so they (dentists) can at least eventually pay off the debt?

    0 24 Rate This
    Comment by alexlogic — January 26, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    lol, minus 24, I’m glad I’m not a dentist.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  51. From 18 – 22 is a great time for a young adult to be in college. They they don’t know much at this age, and need to figure out where they want to hang their hat in this world. However, the idea of college is no longer as important as it once was for a whole generation coming up. To them, there is an answer to everything on Google. The world is changing so rapidly that many of the majors feel antiquated. What is a History or English major worth to a young adult now? It seems the value of an education is being questioned more than it ever has been. Our universities will need to address the needs of its customer students, or they will no longer be able to charge their high rates. The market will decide if they have a product worth spending money on. Let’s hope they can change with the times.

    Comment by metrosetter -

  52. There are three separate issues here: the first is the cost, and whether college is a good value for the cost. (A subissue to that is whether something else, like travel, is a better value.) The second is what one learns in college. I am in HUGE disagreement that one’s college major needs to be directly applicable on paper to a particular job. Can people not think anymore? I’ve been in management meetings where I was the only person in the room who understood mathematical models underlying the budget. I learned that as a PSYCHOLOGY major. Math is math and statistics are statistics. Doesn’t matter if you learn ‘em in psychology courses!

    Ditto the much-maligned women’s studies. If you are a newspaper reporter covering the presidential elections, the notion of whether or not the president has been “othered” is a significant part of the discussion – from both sides; that’s women’s studies 101. (People who’ve never taken women’s studies just don’t know that. That’s ignorance, not savvy about picking an “important” major.) The third is that people change careers! Imagine that: I know former engineers who are now high school teachers, a math major who became a chaplain, and so on. Many people could do well with on the job training rather than college. However, reducing college to some sort of advanced vocational school is silly.

    Comment by Barbara R Saunders (@bsaunders) -

  53. Not to mention that many university degrees are not useful like philosophy, history, and women’s studies (sorry). We need companies to train people for the skills they require. Not an old outdated school system. I’m doing webMethods integration which wasn’t not even close to what I learned in university, doing a master’s degree in structural engineering and diploma in object oriented engineering. I learned this on the job by taking the initiative to learn.

    Comment by willkriski -

  54. I had not thought of the parallel to the newspaper business, but it’s a good one.
    I think the education “bubble” is WORSE than the housing bubble ever was! Kids are racking up debts on a par with a mortgage but with no hard assets, no collateral for the loan (except their potential careers) and no possibility of escaping the debt-trap with bankruptcy. The lending institutions will be on the hook (again), so that ultimately will mean the tax payers (again). And the worst part is there is an over-riding culture in this country that having a college degree is a social imperative. So many kids are getting useless degrees just to say they have one.
    Private schools (including online academies) are some of the worst offenders; offering expensive crappy programs on the promise of employable skills and great careers.. Much of the tuition is via Pell grants, so its just another example of privatizing profit and socializing the risk! …. and this doesn’t even touch on the subject whether half these kids actually belong in college in the first place. As a cardiologist friend of mine said “not everyone is a 100 watt bulb … not everyone belongs in college”.
    I predict the education bubble will burst within the next decade and everyone will be scratching their heads wondering why.

    Comment by Rob Redfearn -

  55. Mark, this is the conversation that is badly needed! The entire Pennsylvania State University system is in their last day of negotiation based on salary increases and other small factors. The teachers union has apparently been without a contract for 18 months and this is what it has come to. However, if you look at the local West Chester University campus, mandated freshman housing is in the most expensive dorms and the huge new rec. center made all of our tuition rise every year over my four years. Tuition is rising again, a strike forcing classes to delay or cancel is being decided tonight, and students still come out with the same education but more debt. In our society where you need higher education to get even the most entry level job, what is the real value of education?

    Jenni Brozena
    http://www.thefutureonepercent.org

    Comment by Jenni Brozena (@future1pct) -

  56. Mr. Cuban hits the nail on the head. As someone who had led a $2B industrial company as well as a college, it’s clear to me higher ed’s fundamental problems are two-fold: an unsustainable cost structure and poor performance (too little focus on student learning and outcomes). Could it be fixed? Sure. But the status quo is a powerful force to buck. Institutional bloodletting will be unavoidable. In the meantime, my focus (findingmycollege.com) is helping students make better college decisions.

    Comment by George Cornelius -

  57. Pingback: Mark Cuban understands higher ed « Finding My College

  58. Mark, this is not a well informed post.

    First, you offer no data about universities’ actual balance sheets. Most universities do not have much debt, so bankruptcy law is not relevant here. And their government financial support, billion-dollar private endowments, and substantial holdings in real estate are a powerful defense against going broke (though not against budget cuts, which are happening and will happen).

    Second, you misstate the problem that universities face. Some real estate overdevelopment is happening, but you can’t possibly believe that all of these thousands of administrators are so incompetent that they would just build the universities into bankruptcy with no regard for how much money they have.

    You also overstate the lure of online education. Online education will not be a threat until employers start hiring online-educated students at salaries higher than those of brick-and-mortar universities, and the data shows that that is not even close to happening.

    Moreover, the brick-and-mortar universities themselves are moving to a hybrid model that incorporates online education, and they will soon dominate that market.

    For perspective, online education provider Udacity was able to raise about 15 million bucks of VC. Coursera was able to pull in a similar amount.

    But the old universities have endowments in the hundreds of millions or billions, and they already have all the educational expertise in-house as well as the massive institutional prestige that is actually the whole point of going to college in the first place. So guess whose going to be dominating the online course business ten years from now?

    The old brick-and-mortar universities. On a hybrid model that they keep in-house.

    Comment by jamesandersen46 -

  59. The college bubble is going to burst, it is just a matter of when. I am not talking about the ‘for profit’ schools either. State schools have bloated pensions, exploding health care costs to staff, paying for numerous professors on sabbatical, and like Mark said, building million dollar new buildings. Tuition is rising at an alarming rate in comparison to inflation, and student loan debt is now starting to deter potential students from going. Many states with stretched budgets are now pushing back on state schools, that have for years had an open checkbook to spend how they wish. Colleges seem to have an archaic way of thinking about finances, and I think Mark is 100% correct that we will see schools going bankrupt. They won’t change until they have to, and at that point it might be too late.

    Comment by paul swartos (@swartos64) -

  60. The strategy of loading up on all of the general ed classes at a CC or JC fails in engineering or science disciplines, where you want to spread out some of the introductory major classes over the first and second years. If you leave all of your engineering classes for the last 2 years, you *will* burn out and not graduate in 4 years.

    And come on, there isn’t a major university in the country that will go under in the 4 next years. The idea that “the traditional college model is about to be phased out. In ten years there will be very few four-year colleges.” That’s simply ridiculous. Let’s talk in 20 years. In 10 years, you won’t see more than a tiny handful of universities fail.

    Keep in mind — the need for an academic degree is still perpetuated by companies who think it’s a valuable credential to separate the herd.

    Comment by Wendy Stewart -

  61. Mark you really nailed it with this post. It’s amazing to see how we do our homework when we buy piece of property or a business, but when it comes to Universities up until now I never thought about this. PURE AWESOMENESS. Thx for such an amazing post.

    Digital Rules!

    epirot ludvik nekaj
    http://www.crowdsourcingweek.com

    Comment by Epi Nekaj -

  62. The one problem that prevents a lot of universities from facing economic reality is their endowments. If you’re a university sitting on a billion- (or multibillion-) dollar endowment, you can defy the laws of economics… for a long time.

    Comment by Daniel Koontz (@danielckoontz) -

  63. Totally agree on all points, Mark. As a recent graduate of a four-year state school which is still building new multi-million dollar buildings, I totally agree that the way college is done is about to massively change. I don’t necessarily think it’ll all go online or the MOOC route or that face-to-face education will disappear, but I do think you’re right that it will change dramatically–and put many many state schools out of business. As you so well elucidate, colleges are racking up millions in debt, planning on the current system to see them through. The day is coming that well will run dry in the face of alternative, cheaper, as (or more) effective ways of learning.

    The problem with all the criticisms of online learning (someone above commented to the effect) is the assumption that online learning is being done the way it *should* and will *always* be done. There’s a very limited ability to see how it could be done better and for far less than the traditional model. I’ll grant that while it is a LOT cheaper to videotape a lecture and put it online and charge students to watch the pre-recorded lecture and then do standard exercises, homeworks, labs, quizzes, and tests, I don’t think that where we’re going we’re interested in only a reduction in cost. No, I think where we’re headed–and don’t know it yet–is a future where education is largely online with in-person study groups, tutors, etc. One possibility: Those institutions or companies which figure out how to teach most effectively at lower cost will probably license their content to local groups who will administer the content and provide the support facilities.

    For a different example of how online education can be done *much* more effectively with much higher learner engagement see Udacity’s courses. I was personally blown away at how much more riveting their lectures on computer science topics (like Web Development) were than any of the traditional lectures I’ve taken on campus. If it’s a choice between the traditional lecture on-campus which is a waste of time, or the engaging “lesson” (part lecture, part exercise, part quiz) on a service like Udacity–I’d personally choose Udacity every time.

    The traditional college model is about to be phased out. In ten years there will be very few four-year colleges. Most that remain will be dedicated to residency-oriented programs (like medicine).

    Why is this happening? Primarily for two factors (as Mark mentioned) which are intimately connected: cost and value. In other words, because the cost is simply too high for the value provided, it has left room for competing–higher value / lower cost –options to enter the educational market. To be frank, college does a really bad job of providing educational value equal to its cost.

    Personally, I’m excited to see what education turns into. As long as it becomes more cost effective and higher value, I’m all for it. For too many of my peers, college was just four years to socialize and party. There were those of us who applied ourselves in college–but even for us I didn’t feel like we got much bang for our buck.

    Comment by Abe -

  64. One reason that may explain overbuilding on college campuses is the fear that various school departments will have their yearly budget cut if they don’t spend it all every year. I think it’s awful that taxpayer’s money was spent simply out of fear that if it wasn’t spent, a campus or school department’s budget would be cut the following year.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  65. I sent this to carter. Its a good read.

    Comment by Mark David Weisman -

  66. As parents, we did extensive research on this subject. There are a few four year schools worth investing in for an education; but not the ones you might think, and there are not that many of them.

    Having an education plan just as you describe is essential. These are also the EXACT questions to ask. IMHO one could be added: what percentage of students who graduate [here] get to go on to the first choice of occupation or grad school?

    (father of college junior)

    Comment by Dana Barfield (@DanaBarfield) -

  67. Thanks for sharing Mark!

    Kind Regards,

    Elijah German Founder Consultaurant Cell (714) 342-9430

    Sent from my iPhone

    Comment by Elijah German -

  68. I’m a sociology professor and do research on education and technology. I reference TedTalks and other scholarly resources about this issue, but when I showed one of your blog posts comparing the real estate market and education, students actually listened.

    Comment by Marianne Navada (@mariannenavada) -

  69. This is great advice it ranks right up with something I learned years ago, read
    the book on your employers desk (because that is what is happening next.).Computers have changed that some to my dismay.

    Comment by Ray Pfahl -

  70. I think startups trying to disrupt education need to think about new ways of learning and teaching instead of simply “replacing” your college degree with a cheaper solution. New products always mold themselves in the form of the older archetype.
    Real learning and real education should not always be constrained to semesters and schedules.
    When people talk about online classes I think we should remember how much “data” we transfer when we talk face to face. There are something like 250 thousand different body and facial configurations and signals you are capable of communicating. So, there is literally more physical data and emotional data, almost a sort of knowledge metadata you give off when you talk face to face.

    Comment by Todd Andelin -

  71. Mark, what do you think will happen to college loan instituions, like Sallie Mae, and the school loans they have given out?

    Comment by matthewneer -

  72. Pingback: Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate ? | kyle's blog

  73. This sounds like a sober article. Then comes the fuck up part. I’m glad you paint the picture and offer some kind of a solution.

    I’ve been out of school since the end of the bull market and don’t know what credit or leverage is anymore. Except for secured debt. Sober. Respectable.

    All of my mentors have dropped out of college or high school, for that matter. Perhaps I need to find a mentor that dropped out and went back which is what I ended up doing. Or stop being a guest and get on thee other side of the coin more.

    So I agree with your premise. Yes, college is where people hit their stride or so they say.

    Moreover, the education system is trashing boys in an eagerness to promote feminist ideology. Any male success is now seen only as gender advantage, not hard work or a human right to thrive. Boys are loving, caring, intelligent, funny and innocent, but society rarely gives them credit for this. Instead, they are told that they’re stupid, emotionally stunted, depraved and violent, thus sealing a boy’s social fate before he even leaves school.

    Comment by Troy Coulon -

  74. I think universities have always been like this, the internet just opens up more options. If there is something in life that you want learn, grab the top 3 books about the subject and reach out to someone who has done it for advice. You’ll know more than 3/4 the people in the industry already. For free.

    Comment by Richard Hanley Jr. -

  75. I loved my college experience and made lifelong friends as well as obtaining education and credentials. I have been an active alum and would love to have my daughters experience what I did. But you make the point – the prestigious private college I attended based on scholarships and income from working on and off campus and a modest amount of low interest student loan debt (my student loans were much more subsidized by government than is now the case) – was affordable. But even with a low six figure income and a working spouse – for either of our daughters to attend my alma mater would be unduly financially burdensome to us as parents and to them as young adults. We are still helping pay off student debt for our daughters who attended large public state schools as it is.

    While some commenters argue that the Ivy League and some other schools will survive – I am not so sure about that – I believe your assessment is more accurate.

    So I am not happy about the change from a very personal perspective – but the analytic skills (much of which developed while in college) lead me to conclude that your assessment is accurate.

    Comment by Patrick Pine -

  76. What you say is more than ever true of any educational pursuit in the performing arts or film industries. Actors can lose four really productive years going to college, when they should go straight to LA, take classes and workshops out here and audition for anything and everything they can. A director who graduates from NYU Film School will have spent nearly $300,000 on tuition, fees, living in NYC, etc. PLUS whatever they have to pay to make a student short film. That same money could be spent making five short films and a FEATURE, and those same years could be spent working on other productions — either for free or at a decent day rate, and by the end of four years, the person who didn’t go to film school (1) knows a lot more about actually making films, (2) knows a lot more people who actually make films and (3) has a lot more to show for the money.

    Comment by speakhappiness -

  77. So why doesn’t everyone in the US just go to a two year community college? Lower tuition than universities, several programs that are designed for transfer after two years, and more personal attention (in many cases) in the classroom. Plus these schools are smaller and generally more dependent on local and state taxes, which gives them incentive to cater to local needs as well as state-wide needs. Why should schools get less in taxes again? I live in Canada and I don’t think any universities up here are going to close in 4-5 years, maybe not even 10 years. And almost all universities, and all reputable ones, are public universities.

    Of course, these places aren’t as prestigious as Name Brand U, so this isn’t going to actually happen. Not enough keggers and beautiful old buildings and residences. Smart kids are figuring out community colleges can provide excellent value for their money, however.

    Or you could try to get into Stanford/Ivy League/et al which, let’s face it, aren’t going anywhere.

    Comment by Josh Grant (@joshin4colours) -

  78. What Mark Cuban says here applies to certain types of colleges, but not all. Schools in the Ivy League and other elite institutions like MIT, Cal Tech,University of Chicago, etc., are not subject to the kind of threats that Cuban identifies. They do not depend on taxpayer money at all for the new buildings erected on campus, and they are heavily endowed, sufficiently so that some, like my alma mater Princeton, can afford to provide outright grants to students who need financial aid, not burdening them with any loans at all.

    Comment by Sanford Gray Thatcher -

  79. College is an investment in yourself. Everyone on this blog has made good and bad investments. I’m guessing a majority would say the investment was worth it–unless you get suckered by the U of Pnx cohorts. In college, u are paying for a reading list, a few hours of active engagement with a SME and a few challenges (projects, tests, etc) that’s it.

    I would rather give my money to Cuban or someone with real world experience and follow them around for a spring qtr. I strongly believe it would be much more valuable than the education you would receive at 98% of the colleges in the US.

    Comment by Savannah Trades (@SavannahTrades) -

  80. I like this post a lot, and think it’s an unbelievable parallel example of an industry that appears to be heading towards a collapse. The good Universities will get bailed out one way or another as their brands from a sports and alumni standpoint are incredibly valuable and won’t just disappear.

    In addition, I think you will see a lot of people going to less prominent Universities in-state to protect themselves from $40,000+ out of state tuition’s. That’s the other thing that’s going on; more people are trying to get into the top schools in their own state than ever, but those Universities want to get as many out of state people in as they can because they make more money from them.

    Lastly, I can see Universities start making certain classes/classrooms available online to compete with the multi-billion dollar online degree programs that have been looked down upon until recently.

    Comment by Alex Becker (@aybecker) -

  81. Education is virtually free. It’s the credentials that cost money. That’s what colleges are selling

    Comment by Jerry Stevens (@jerrystevens) -

  82. What about employers giving higher value to the prestigious schools? (Regardless of the schools financial situation) Wouldn’t the employers be a student’s “customer”? Getting a job is like making a sale by making the customer happy.

    Do you feel like this could limit a graduates job market? Or is that worth is considering you would then have the “fuck up time” after graduation because there won’t be as much debt?

    Comment by tdeitz34 -

  83. Mr. Cuban brings up a point about obsolescence that drives me crazy. If a college educated professional, such as a dentist, might have their practice overtaken by new technology that might obsolete many aspects of their practice, they GET NO BREAK on the interest rate charges on their student loan debt, and I don’t think that is fair.

    Several months ago during Jimmy Kimmel’s opening show monologue he mentioned that there may be a medical breakthrough in the field of dentistry that can basically kill cavities via a drug or pill. This discovery could revolutionize how dentistry is practiced and theoretically cut income for most dentists dramatically.

    If such a cavity destroying discovery is made available to the public, at the very least, should not dentists who still have student loan debt have interest rate charges waived? They played by the book and all of that investment in education and loans and time they made may never pay off they way it was presented when they decided to become a dentist?

    I’m not talking student loan forgiveness, but what about forgiving the interest rate charges, penalties and fees going forward so they can at least eventually pay off the debt?

    Comment by alexlogic -

  84. The University of Wisconsin has caught on to the point which you`re making in this post. This fall they are testing a program where they will begin offering degrees based on tested knowledge of subjects.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323301104578255992379228564.html/

    Comment by Gregory Rueda -

  85. Yep. I didn’t graduate from highschool. I only got my GED yet became a millionaire before I was age 25 and been asked to speak at Harvard in two months. Agree or not you can’t deny the irony ;)

    Comment by coryboatright -

  86. Pingback: Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate? | c monitor

  87. I am glad you bring this up Mark, but enrollment will never suffer at these schools. They will merely begin to offer tax payer subsidized educations to more foreign students. The wealthy from around the world send their kids here for cheap educations, and there is no shortage of them. IN fact, we’ve already been doing that for a long time.

    Comment by jimgoose -

  88. Just to add one more financial cautionary note to what Mr. Cuban is saying, if parents or grand parents co sign a student loan, they become responsible NO MATTER WHAT.

    If the student gets involved in some stupid hazing ritual and dies, or simply meets an untimely death after college, the loan co-signer is still on the hook AND money can even be garnished every month from their social security when they retire.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  89. I’m grateful for my formal education and for the experiences. That is where college does a student well. It certainly doesn’t teach real entrepreneurship, hustle, or how to create life-changing income, though.

    Comment by Matthew Loop (@matthewloop) -

  90. College is for people who can’t do the things you described (find out about yourself, learn how to learn, and get exposure to new ideas) through their own personal self-reliance.

    Basically, college is for coddled children who still need hand-holding, because the real world is too big and scary for them.

    If by the time you are 18, you still need an educational institution to supervise you, then you need therapy, not college, because your parents failed you in their duty as parents.

    Comment by PuaHate (@PuaHate) -

    • I’ve worked for companies (in the real world you say is so scary) that tried to hold my hand and control me far more than my University did.

      Besides, who needs to learn law, medicine, finance, accounting, literature, computer science? College is way overrated, huh?

      Comment by tdeitz34 -

  91. I see where you’re coming from, but I have some hesitations:
    1 New Buildings. A lot of students who do stay on campus will need places to study and for a lot of them the library is easily a place to study. My school tends to become inundated with people towards major exams which then makes it harder for those who use the library regularly (such as my self) to get access to that or to other quite areas. So building these new buildings, as long as they serve the students, makes sense.

    2. Credits – If you’re going to a public school, then it does make sense to do the CC/Online route and then go to a public university for the remainder of the two years. However, Med school, (some) Grad schools, and (some) Law schools look down on that path and may pass you over. The counterpoint would be who needs that school.
    Another side to it is the AP exams. For many private universities, you must score a 4-5 on the AP exams to get credit, and even then, they substitute the class for you and you still are put on a track for graduating in 4 years. Worst, is that med schools, (some) law schools and (some) grad schools, don’t accept AP credit at all.

    3. Online – Simply put, online does not work for everyone. People like me, who have done online classes, have a mixed result with them. For me, on one hand, one online course was not that bad because I was able to quickly adapt and make use of it. However for my other online course, not only was I not aware of the pacing it was going at (because they didn’t show the structure of how classes were going) I had to extend it twice and the feedback that I got, was limiting.

    Your message of go to college the cheapest way possible while getting the internships and experience needed to go to the work force does come through in this piece, however, saying that online will be the future for most undergraduate schooling is at best, half and half. That’s not also incorporating the other aspects of college, staying on campus and interacting with the populace, being able to quickly access most facilities on campus without having to drive, as well being able to work on campus properly (such as research, or the campus job), with less (albeit not that much) hassle.

    Comment by AJ Adejare (@Kirielson) -

  92. Right on Mark. You’re better off taking the 40-100K you might spend, travel or move to a city you might never have the chance to live in and learn by doing. The networking in college is the value. So if you move to places with energy (ie. cities) and get that youthful life experience of LIVING. You would do well just in that activity alone. The fact that the basics of knowledge are available online is shocking. Between Kahn Academy, Coursera, – the free books available via Google/Amazon – there is no reason you can’t find out what you want to know, what you need to know it, and how you can go about learning it. Its all there. Shit, spend four years on Wikipedia and you’ll have more knowledge than you could ever imagine. The key is DOING. DO STUFF! Join clubs, meet people… get active in the day time, and study at night (or visa versa) Its all there for you.

    Comment by Laurent Courtines (@courtines) -

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