Sunday, July 28, 2013

McArdle: Why Your Little Alma Mater May Go Extinct

If you read Instapundit you see a lot of posts about the "higher education bubble". In one recent post he found another example which explains that admissions as some schools are more selective and college enrollment has decline thanks to the job market & cost of tuition. He goes on to explain an unfortunate side effect to the changing higher education environment:
Many of the hard-hit schools seem to be historically black colleges. Here in Washington, for instance, Howard University is in the middle of a bruising board fight, thanks in part to falling enrollments. Renee Higginbotham-Brooks, vice chairwoman of the board of trustees, prophesied that "Howard will not be here in three years if we don't make some crucial decisions now." This strikes me as unlikely -- Howard was founded by a congressional grant after the Civil War, and I doubt that Congress will let it go under. But the threat is undoubtedly real for other historically black schools.

The concentration of enrollment declines among the schools that serve poor and minority communities raises some uncomfortable questions. On a positive note, this may mean that kids have access to a better class of school. On the other hand, it may mean that the schools best equipped to serve those kids fold, leaving nothing in their place. While I'm on the record as saying that we should probably send fewer kids to college, this isn't the way that I wanted to accomplish that. Rather, I wanted us to stop relying on rank credentialism, and to think harder about viable alternatives for kids who may not be academically inclined.
So to illustrate what's happening to the not so big name schools of academia the author points out an historically Black college such as Howard U.

I'm a long way from evaluating how Universities are doing, but I can only talk about myself. I don't regret getting a degree what I do regret is not being more academically inclined not just when I got to school but before I graduated from high school. My background was a long way from being a serious student.

So anyway there are a number of things to consider. What kind of students do universities want? What alternatives are available for high school seniors who don't seem inclined to go to college? What should we expect from a university other than allowing access to a university education and/or a degree?

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