Clay Shirky, a leading thinker on the social and cultural effects of the internet, as well as a Professor of New Media at NYU, posted recently about “The End of Higher Education’s Golden Age.” He provides a succinct history of how higher education got to its current troubles, then goes on to talk about possible solutions. A key quote:
Many of my colleagues believe that if we just explain our plight clearly enough, legislators will come to their senses and give us enough money to save us from painful restructuring. I’ve never seen anyone explain why this argument will be persuasive, and we are nearing the 40th year in which similar pleas have failed, but “Someday the government will give us lots of money” remains in circulation, largely because contemplating our future without that faith is so bleak. If we can’t keep raising costs for students (we can’t) and if no one is coming to save us (they aren’t), then the only remaining way to help these students is to make a cheaper version of higher education for the new student majority.
If you have any interest in the future of higher education, I recommend reading the whole thing.