September 21, 2003
The Future of College
Arnold Kling has a vision of the college of the future:
Colleges today are in a position to continue to increase tuition charges. They have successfully met the demand for the aesthetic qualities desired by parents and students. They have achieved market dominance by becoming highly attractive holding pens.
But if colleges can continue to increase tuition without losing students, then where is the incentive to outsource? Does anyone imagine top schools like Harvard and Stanford outsourcing? I can imagine lower-tier schools outsourcing to Harvard but not the other way around.
If anything, the future of higher education (beyond high school) will be for-profit businesses providing specific training. Firms would hire the companies to train their employees to use some new piece of technology or individuals will get certified so they have better chances in the job market. As time goes on and businesses view college life as "holding pen" the value of a four-year degree will diminish.
"The World's Nicest Holding Pen"