Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This could be an important shift

Felix Salmon:
And more generally, college is slowly moving from the “things which are bought” column into the “things which are sold” column — for-profit colleges, in particular, recruit aggressively in ways that would have been unthinkable to an earlier generation of tertiary educators. As a result, people drop out of college not just because it’s statistically certain that in any college class there will be some students who drop out, but increasingly because a lot of students, especially in courses offered by for-profit colleges, really can’t and shouldn’t be in those classes in the first place.
I think that this is a really dangerous trend for a purchase that is as expensive as education. Buying the wrong education is much worse of a mistake than buying the wrong car or house -- at least partially because you can have a car or house foreclosed on.  Furthermore, the focus on marketing will tend to make it more difficult to assess universities on quality.  Look at how hard it is to get good information on something as simple as an automobile (using, for example).  Now considering needing to assess something as complicated as an educational program.

I do not think that this is a good trend at all.

1 comment:

  1. "I think that this is a really dangerous trend for a purchase that is as expensive as education."

    The lag can be worse than the cost. The pharmacy example shows that what looks like a great job market when you start a degree can turn brutal by the time you finish.