5 Ways Colleges Are Trying to Lower the Cost of Higher Education
The rising cost of college tuition has become a highly controversial topic, even arousing the attention of politicians who debate the best ways of making higher education more affordable for all students.
Given this situation, it’s inevitable that institutions are scrambling to find ways to lower their costs.
Here are some ways in which colleges are working towards lowering costs, some with more success than others.
- Measuring productivity and quality. With so few objective measures available, students automatically use price as a gauge of a college’s quality. This is not always an accurate measure, and it presents an obstacle for schools that want to reduce the sticker price of tuition, as they fear potential students may view their institution as having poorer quality. In response, colleges are beginning to take a look at ways they can measure the quality of student learning and the productiveness of college staff.
- Making use of technology. Digital textbooks can dramatically reduce student cost, as can open education systems that provide students with opportunities to earn some of their course credit online. With more and better quality education apps appearing on the market every day, educators have many unique opportunities to provide life-changing learning experiences without the life-crippling cost.
- Providing more education to students and families about costs and options. Often, students begin their college experience with no real understanding of their indebtedness and how it will impact their futures. They are also kept in the dark about precisely what their tuition pays for. Colleges are beginning to provide better information about spending so students can make more informed decisions.
- Slashing the price of tuition, but decreasing discounts. A number of colleges have moved to a low-cost, low-discount model in which tuition is slashed almost in half, but tuition discounts are utilized far less. A potential benefit to this model is that students have a more realistic picture of exactly how much their tuition will cost. But the downside is that enrollment can decrease as potential students perceive the institution as less valuable.
- Reducing administrative costs. Perhaps the greatest cost afflicting colleges is in the sheer numbers of staff that they employ. While most agree that reducing the number of instructors negatively impacts the quality of instruction, administrators could be cut from college budgets with very little negative impact on the organizational structure.
There is no one right answer when it comes to reducing costs at our colleges and universities. But with costs rising every year, it is certainly an issue that can no longer be ignored.