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Personal Finances / Living Below Your Means


Subject:  Re: WSJ: $10K College Degree Date:  10/11/2012  5:01 PM
Author:  FiddleDeeDee Number:  868049 of 902735

One thing colleges can do is make far more extensive use of technology and online classes. There is no reason to pay a tenured professor big money to deliver a Physics 101 lecture 6 times a week, the same lecture he he's been giving for the past 30 years. Have the old guy give the lecture once, record it, put it online. You free up that space forever (or at least until the laws of Physics change)- reduce building costs, overhead costs, salary, janitorial cost, etc.

This can, and does, work. However, you are now spending money on keeping the technology up to date -- more IT people, new hardware, new software and re-licensing of old software year after year, training people like me to use the software and new hardware....

Another reason for the high costs is living on campus. New building technology (and retro-fitting the old) is expensive to build and maintain, and there is a real push for LEED certified and high efficiency buildings.

Food service ain't what it used to be. Nowadays students demand and receive much better tasting food, and the number of students with allergies who live on campus is growing exponentially. There are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and tree-nut free options on the menu.

Global travel is a big factor in students' educations these days. Look at ANY college website and you will be amazed at the depth and breadth of international travel that is available to modern students.

Being on campus has more perks than just a great place to live and eat. Nothing takes the place of being there in order to network, showing your face to your professor so that he or she can determine if you are worthy of a good reference.

This is only a partial list and does not even consider the costs of training the professors, administrators, etc., that are needed to manage this very complex system of education.

Today's students are the next doctors, lawyers, political analysts, foreign policy experts; they are our future. They must be able to compete in a very challenging and competitive society. We may have been able to slide by for many years by being the richest country. With China in our rear-view mirror and the EU in the doldrums for what may be many years to come, we cannot afford to to do that anymore. Online education has its place, but it does not take the place of being there in person.

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