Trends in College Pricing for 2012


Also see:


My thanks to Academic Impressions for the resources/updates

Why these kids get a free ride to college --= from The New York Times by Ted Fishman



Back in November 2005, when this year’s graduates were in sixth grade, the superintendent of Kalamazoo’s public schools, Janice M. Brown, shocked the community by announcing that unnamed donors were pledging to pay the tuition at Michigan’s public colleges, universities and community colleges for every student who graduated from the district’s high schools. All of a sudden, students who had little hope of higher education saw college in their future. Called the Kalamazoo Promise, the program — blind to family income levels, to pupils’ grades and even to disciplinary and criminal records — would be the most inclusive, most generous scholarship program in America.


Also see:

The Kalamazoo Promise- free college



From DSC:

  • I would like to thank the anonymous donors who created and continue to sustain the Kalamazoo Promise; and to recognize their humility and service to society. They didn’t announce their gifts with trumpets; rather, they quietly gave without wanting to put their names to these enormous, life-changing gifts.  What a great example for many of the nation’s top 1%-5% to follow!  It’s amazing what generous hearts can do.  The LORD knows who did it and continues to do it.


U.S. debt $417 billion below the debt ceiling — from by Jeanne Sahadi


The debt ceiling is currently set at $16.394 trillion. At the end of August, the amount of debt subject to that limit — which excludes certain types of debt was $15.977 trillion, roughly $417 billion below the cap. Since the government typically borrows between $100 billion and $125 billion a month, that means it’s on track to hit the ceiling sometime in December. But the Treasury Department will likely be able to use “extraordinary measures” to keep the debt just below the legal limit for a couple of months.

Bottom line:
Congress will likely need to raise the ceiling in early 2013 or Treasury will risk defaulting on the country’s legal obligations by failing to pay all of its bills in full and on time.

From DSC:
At some point, if we don’t turn things around, the vast majority of our tax dollars will go to pay for interest on our debt…and. nothing. else.


Some student loans to become more expensive despite deal — from The Washington Post by Ylan Q. Mui


Even as Congress moves to prevent undergraduate student loan rates from doubling, lawmakers have decided to eliminate two federal subsidies that will increase the cost of higher education.

One would hit the same college students who are benefiting from the interest rate freeze. Though their rates will be only 3.4 percent, they will be responsible for paying that interest as soon as they throw their graduation caps in the air — a change that is expected to cost them more than $2 billion.

Meanwhile, students hoping to earn the advanced degrees that have become mandatory for many white-collar jobs will no longer be eligible for federally subsidized loans. That means graduate students are facing an $18 billion increase in interest rate payments over the next decade, about three times the amount at stake in the debate over undergrad interest rates.

Both measures will take effect Sunday.

Changing the Economics of Education -- John Hennessy and Salman Khan at 2012 All Things Digitall



Is there anything to be done about the rising price of higher education? That was the question posed to John Hennessy, president of Stanford University, and Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, a nonprofit online-learning organization. They sat down with The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg to discuss how technology might be part of the solution.

Here are edited excerpts of their conversation.


Addendum on 6/7/12:

  • D10: Stanford, Khan Academy, and the future of higher ed — from by Jason Snell
    Though the crushing cost of college education wasn’t a major topic of Khan and Hennessy’s conversation with D10 co-host Walt Mossberg, it’s certainly a major cause of anxiety for parents. But most of the time, the conversation dwelled on the simple issue that technology is going to radically transform education—and right now everyone’s trying to figure out how to manage that change. “There’s a tsunami coming,” Hennessy said. “I don’t know how it’s going to break, but my goal is to try to surf it, not just stand there.” At its simplest form, technology needs to find ways to make education more efficient. That means serving more students, but also teaching them more effectively.


7 things colleges worry about – from by Lynn O’Shaughnessy

Excerpts from “What’s worrying college administrators?”

  1. After peaking in 2008, the number of high school students has been declining slowly.
  2. While high school grads in the West and South have remained mostly stable, the number of teenagers has declined significantly in the East and Midwest.
  3. Between 2000 and 2010, the real median income for families dropped nearly 11 percent.
  4. High unemployment remains persistent.
  5. Many families owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
  6. With flat and falling income and high unemployment, many American families are poorer now than they were five years ago.
  7. Looking further into the future, the financial reality for younger families (ages 25 to 34), who will eventually be sending their children to college, is grim.

Also see the below items from

From DSC:
Just looking at the title one of the above items — “When Market Conditions and Public Perception Collide: A Looming Crisis for Higher Education” (by Amy Foster) — those of us working within higher education don’t want to be in the “Have you driven a Ford lately?” mode. That is, once we lose the public’s confidence and trust in our products and/or services, it will be very hard to get those things back. Not impossible, but difficult.

Two additional thoughts here:

  • Reputation, like china, is easily cracked and hard to mend.
  • There is tremendous and lasting power in the ideas and perceptions that reside within people’s thoughts. Once an idea catches hold, it’s hard to stop.



A generation hobbled by the soaring cost of college

My thanks to Academic Impressions who sent out the above item and the interactive graphic below.


From DSC:
I am not posting these to put down liberal arts colleges/universities/programs.  In fact, I went through a liberal arts program in college and I’m currently working at a liberal arts college.  Rather, I’m posting them to say, “Houston, we have a problem.”  And to then prompt us all to ask, “What are we going to do about it?” 

Which reminds me again of a graphic I created a while back:



Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo



Addendum on 5/15/12:


Andrew Spear for The New York Times

E. Gordon Gee, the president of The Ohio State University, says that public colleges and universities need to devise a new business model to pay for the costs of education, beyond sticking students with higher tuition and greater debt.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a wood-paneled office lined with books, sports memorabilia and framed posters (including John Belushi in “Animal House”), E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State University, keeps a framed quotation that reads, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

 …and back from previous dates:


As of 11-20-11

As of 8-24-11


Also see:




Addendum on 5/7/12:

2011 Year in Review: Global Changes in Tuition Fee Policies and Student Financial Assistance.


All around the world, the pace of change in higher education is accelerating. In the face of continued increases in participation, demographic change and – in the west at least – profound fiscal crises, higher education institutions are increasingly being required to raise funds from students as opposed to relying on transfers from governments. Indeed, the pace of policy change is coming so quickly that it is difficult to keep track of all the relevant developments in different parts of the world.

In this, the second edition of Year in Review: Tuition Fees and Student Assistance, we outline the major changes related to higher education affordability around the world in 2011. In order to keep our sample manageable, we have kept our inquiries to a selection of 40 countries that collectively best represent the global situation:

The G-40 consists of: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.

Marcucci, Pamela and Usher, Alex (2012). 2011 Year in Review:
Global Changes in Tuition Fee Policies and Student Financial Assistance.
Toronto: Higher Education Strategy Associates.


Student-loan debt tops $1 trillion — from by Josh Mitchell and Maya Jackson-Randall


The amount Americans owe on student loans is far higher than earlier estimates and could lead some consumers to postpone buying homes, potentially slowing the housing recovery, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Total student debt outstanding appears to have surpassed $1 trillion late last year, said officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created in the wake of the financial crisis. That would be roughly 16% higher than an estimate earlier this year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

From DSC:
Phrases/words that come to my mind include (which many readers of this blog and my archived website will instantly recognize:

  • Reinventing ourselves
  • Staying relevant /addressing our customers’ needs
  • Innovation
  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • Vision
  • The business side of higher ed / new business models
  • Game-changing environment
  • Disruption
  • Dangers of the status quo
  • Student-related
  • Future of higher education
  • The Walmart of Education
  • Learning from the Living Room

Addendum on 3/23/12:


Below are the concluding paragraphs of Introducing Bennett Hypothesis 2.0 [by Andrew Gillen, Center for College Affordability and Productivity, with emphasis below from DSC)

Original Bennett Hypothesis + a couple refinements + Bowen’s Rule = Bennett Hypothesis 2.0.

The original Bennett Hypothesis held that increases in financial aid will lead to higher tuition, but the empirical evidence testing the hypothesis is inconclusive. The next generation of the concept, Bennett Hypothesis 2.0, adds three refinements.

1.  All Aid is Not Created Equal
2.  Selectivity, Tuition Caps, and Price Discrimination are Important
3.  Don’t Ignore the Dynamic Story

These three refinements not only help explain the mixed empirical evidence, but also provide a better understanding of the relationship between financial aid and tuition. While the first two refinements weaken the link between the two (lessening our concern about Bennett Hypothesis 2.0), the third refinement strengthens the link, implying that we should almost always be concerned about financial aid leading to higher tuition.

Given the current structure of the higher education system, Bennett Hypothesis 2.0 implies that the government will always be fighting a losing battle to increase access to college or improve college affordability since “additional government [financial aid] funds keep providing revenues that, under the current incentive system, increase costs.”54  As higher financial aid pushes costs higher, it inevitably puts upward pressure on tuition. Higher tuition, of course, reduces college affordability, leading to calls for more financial aid, setting the vicious cycle in motion all over again.

Bennett Hypothesis 2.0 exacerbates rather than causes out of control spending by colleges, the ultimate cause of which is Bowen’s Rule. Nevertheless, that is no excuse for ill-designed financial aid programs to pour fuel the fire.  As Bennett noted:

“Federal student aid policies do not cause college price inflation, but there is little doubt that they help make it possible.”55

Those words remain just as true today as they were a quarter century ago.

From DSC:
This report seems to show that the current system is only serving to expand the higher ed bubble even further; surely a pop will be heard in the future (if it hasn’t already at some individual colleges and universities).  Such a financial aid system seems to be causing one of the elements of the perfect storm — the cost of higher ed — to mount its waves to an even higher level.  (Keep in mind I created the image below in September 2010, but many of these forces are still with us today.)

The perfect storm in higher ed


Official calls for urgency on college costs— from the New York Times by Tamar Lewin


As Occupy movement protests helped push spiraling college costs into the national spotlight, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged higher-education officials Tuesday to “think more creatively — and with much greater urgency” about ways to contain costs and reduce student debt.

“Three in four Americans now say that college is too expensive for most people to afford,” Mr. Duncan said. “That belief is even stronger among young adults — three-fourths of whom believe that graduates today have more debt than they can manage.”

Also see:

Addendum later on 11/30/11:


(Official Department of Education Photo by Joshua Hoover)

“My chief message today is a sobering one,” said Secretary Duncan yesterday at the annual Federal Student Aid conference in Las Vegas, Nev. “I want to ask you, and the entire higher education community, to look ahead and start thinking more creatively—and with much greater urgency—about how to contain the spiraling costs of college and reduce the burden of student debt on our nation’s students.”

Check out some of these announcements from The Future of State Universities 2011 Conference


From DSC:
Following are some of the announcements from last week’s the Future of State Universities Conference (oddly enough, I couldn’t find any blogs, recordings, etc. here…)


October 7, 2011

10:05 AM – 87% of the respondents to the pre-conference survey believe that public universities will undergo major structural changes in the future.


9:15 AM –Two thirds of students graduating with 4-year degrees last year, owed on average $23,186 in student loans. CNN Money

Student loan debt has eclipsed credit card debt at $1.0 trillion and counting.


In 2010 Open Universities Australia grew 35%–the largest increase on record. The Australian

October 6, 2011

3:45 PM – 57% of people surveyed by Pew and the Chronicle say that the cost of college outweighs its value. Boston Magazine

Unemployment rate for people under 25 is 54% and 9 out of 10 college grads are planning to move back in with their parents. Boston Magazine


2:45 PM – Only 11% of respondents to the pre-conference survey believe that student readiness for college is stable or increasing.


2:00 PM – 100% of presidents and 75% of provosts and deans that responded to the pre-conference survey believe that faculty interactions with students will change significantly in the coming years.


1:00 PM – Stanford professor Thrun offered his, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online and free. 130,000 students signed up. —They will get the same lectures as students paying $50,000, same assignments, same exams, and, if they pass, “a statement of accomplishment”, but not Stanford credit. “Literally,” Thrun says, “we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for 1 to 2 percent of the cost.” The New York Times


12:25 PM – iTunes U online is running 300 million downloads a year, with 350,000 lectures offered by more than 1,000 universities worldwide. BBC News Oxford has 10 million downloads—130,000 per week. More than half the people using them are from the US and China.


9:45 am – 50% of respondents to the pre-conference survey believe that foreign universities will increasingly become competitors with U.S. universities for U.S. students.

95% believe that foreign students will be a major source of students in the future.


9:35 am – Did you know: global higher education enrollment increased 53% in the last decade?

Did you know: 20% of all college students in the world are studying outside of their home country.

October 5, 2011

5:00 pm – Pre-conference Survey:

  • 90% of respondents to the pre-conference survey believe that state funding for higher education will continue to decline.
  • 85% believe that federal funding for higher education will decrease in the future.
  • 75% believe that public support for higher education is destined to decline as costs increase.
  • 13% believe that public universities are well prepared to market their online programs effectively.


From DSC:
Besides the words “reinvent” and  innovation— and the phrase “the perfect storm” — the following graphic comes to my mind yet again:


Staying Relevant
Addendum on 9-21-11:

The impact of new business models for higher education on student financing

Financing Higher Education in Developing Countries
Think Tank | Bellagio Conference Centre | 8-12 August 2011

Sir John Daniel (Commonwealth of Learning)
Stamenka Uvali-Trumbi (UNESCO)


The aim of this paper has been to suggest that in discussing student financing we need to look beyond the current standard model classroom teaching to the likely developments in learning systems over the next decade. These have the potential to cut costs dramatically and thereby lessen the challenge of student financing.

That is fortunate because nearly one-third of the world’s population (29.3%) is under 15. Today there are 165 million people enrolled in tertiary education.[2] Projections suggest that that participation will peak at 263 million in 2025.[3] Accommodating the additional 98 million students would require more than four major campus universities (30,000 students) to open every week for the next fifteen years unless alternative models emerge. (emphasis DSC)

Also see:

OER for beginners: An introduction to sharing learning resources openly in healthcare education
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) ( and the Joint information Systems Committee (JISC) ( are working in partnership to develop the HEFCE-funded Open Educational Resources (OER) programme, supporting UK higher education institutions in sharing their teaching and learning resources freely online across the world.

© 2024 | Daniel Christian