The Future of Higher Education: A Massive Market Opportunity
The College system in America is broken. College tuition has increased by more than 1000% in the last 30 years and Student debt now exceeds $1.4 trillion, surpassing both auto and credit card debt as a form of consumer borrowing for the first time ever. With an education that costs so much, many college graduates are finding themselves unable to compete with automation on the job market because they are weighed down with student loans. The College system needs new models if it wants to be able to provide students with access to multidisciplinary education and specialized knowledge- this will help ensure our citizens can compete in the global market place while also gaining their own financial freedom which will ultimately lead to improved quality of life for all Americans!
College is no longer a pathway to the middle class, as it was intended. College has become more of a luxury that can only be afforded by those who are privileged enough to have had access and resources in their upbringing.
Students need new models for higher education if they want to be able-bodied citizens in today’s global economy. A massive market opportunity now exists because of our high college tuition costs, changing workforce requirements, threat of AI and automation, and advance with online learning. The College system needs innovative solutions from both public institutions ́and private companies like Coursera or Udacity to provide multidisciplinary courses which will allow students to adapt themselves better into an increasingly complex world while also gaining specialized knowledge through specialization courses.
The average age for retirement in the U.S. is 63, and this number has been steadily increasing since 1996 (65). At that point, it will be necessary to provide a social safety net for those who are no longer able to work due to automation or other reasons- an estimated 83% of people ages 45–54 think they would need some form of income support after retiring from their jobs because they could not save enough money on their own to maintain a desirable standard of living during old age. College graduates have about $34,000 more saved over non-graduates by the time they reach 55 years old; however we still see almost half of college graduates approaching middle class wages trapped below the poverty line.
The College Board’s research shows that high-achieving students are more likely to apply for college if they have a positive and engaging experience with online learning.
We need new models in higher education in order to improve our country’s quality of life, ensure global competitiveness, increase individual opportunity, and reduce inequality. It is time for us as a society to rethink the future of higher education. College graduates should be able to choose among different types of degree programs from traditional colleges or universities; fully immersive virtual reality environments where every class takes place virtually; part-time correspondence courses delivered by email over many years; specialized STEM schools like MIT, Stanford and Harvard. or even online learning programs, such as Coursera. College degrees should also evolve to reflect the realities of changing workforce requirements, AI and automation threats, and new models in higher education that will emerge because of these changes.
A market opportunity for new models in higher education has been created by the convergence of high tuition costs, changing workforce requirements, the threat of AI and automation; advances in online learning; decreasing college enrollment rates among traditional 18-24 year olds; a greater role for technology companies like Apple or Google to design future.