Synopses & Reviews
What is the value of a college degree if it leaves you with few job prospects in a tough economy and buried in debt? College (Un)bound asks the burning question on every prospective student, parent, and new grads mind. Student-loan debt in the United States crossed the $1 trillion mark in 2011. To say that the cost of a four-year college education is inflated on many campuses would be an understatement—and that education bubble is about to burst. Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle for Higher Education and senior fellow at Education Sector, argues that Americas higher education system is broken and that the great credential race has transformed universities into big business. In the wake of the 2008 recession, colleges can no longer sell a degree at any price as the ticket to success in life. Brand-name universities like Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and Stanford will always find students and families willing to pay the sticker price because of their institutions global prestige, influential alumni networks, and considerable endowments. But the campuses that the vast majority of Americans attend, where some students go into tens of thousands of dollars in debt for degrees with little payoff, will need to adapt fast to the changing job market and new technological breakthroughs. As an industry insider who has covered higher education for more than 15 years, Selingo offers a critical examination of the current state of affairs and the pressing issues faced by students and parents. He also seeks out institutions like Arizona State University and the University of Central Florida that are leading the way into the future. Selingo predicts that the class of 2020 will have a college experience that is radically different from the one their parents had, and the college of the future will be personalized, leaner, and better able to arm students with the hard skills they need to enter the workforce of tomorrow. College (Un)bound will be a great resource for prospective students, but more important, it will change the way you think about higher education.
"Part cultural critique, part trend-spotting, and part advice for students and parents navigating a flawed system, this analysis paints an unflattering picture of middle-tier American colleges, while optimistically highlighting forward-thinking educational models. Selingo, editor-at-large of the Chronicle of Higher Education, describes a climate in which colleges compete for rankings by improving amenities, falling into an escalating cycle of tuition increases and larger financial aid packages that leave students with crushing debt, and a sense of students as consumers that leads to grade inflation and teaching compromises. As more jobs require a college degree, the average student views college as a credentialing process rather than a life experience. For today's 'digital natives,' Selingo suggests more flexible and less-expensive tools: Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) taught by major universities but accessible anywhere; hybrid classes that combine online lectures with in-person small group discussions; and self-directed online classes. For students deliberately choosing a traditional four-year residential college, Selingo recommends that they study topics that most engage their interests, seek passionate mentors, and learn through doing, or even failing. He delivers a powerful message to colleges themselves: the system is broken, and both their success as institutions and the future success of our workforce depends on their willingness to incorporate unbundled, lower-cost systems that allow students to customize their education. Agent: John F. Thornton, the Spieler Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Jeff Selingo, journalist and editor-in-chief of the Chronicle for Higher Education, argues that colleges can no longer sell a four-year degree as the ticket to success in life. College (Un)Bound exposes the dire pitfalls in the current state of higher education for anyone concerned with intellectual and financial future of America.
What is the value of a college degree?
The four-year college experience is as American as apple pie. So is the belief that higher education offers a ticket to a better life. But with student-loan debt surpassing the $1 trillion mark and unemployment of college graduates at historic highs, people are beginning to question that value.
In College (Un)bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large of the Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that Americas higher education system is broken. The great credential race has turned universities into big business and fostered an environment where middle-tier colleges can command elite university-level tuition while concealing staggeringly low graduation rates, churning out graduates with few of the skills needed for a rapidly evolving job market.
Selingo not only turns a critical eye on the current state of higher education but also predicts how technology will transform it for the better. Free massive online open courses (MOOCs) and hybrid classes, adaptive learning software, and the unbundling of traditional degree credits will increase access to high-quality education regardless of budget or location and tailor lesson plans to individual needs. One thing is certain—the Class of 2020 will have a radically different college experience than their parents.
Incisive, urgent, and controversial, College (Un)bound is a must-read for prospective students, parents, and anyone concerned with the future of American higher education.
About the Author
JEFFREY J. SELINGO is the leading authority on higher education worldwide and editor at large for The Chronicle of Higher Education. He frequently speaks before national higher-education groups and appears regularly on regional and national radio and television programs, including NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CBS. His writing on higher education and technology has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. The National Magazine Awards, Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press have recognized him for his work. He is a senior fellow at Education Sector, an independent education policy think tank. www.jeffselingo.com
Table of Contents
HOW WE GOT HERE
1. The Great Credential Race 3
2. The Customer Is Always Right 19
3. The Trillion Dollar Problem 35
4. The 5 Disruptive Forces That Will Change Higher Education Forever 55
5. A Personalized Education 73
6. The Online Revolution 86
7. The Student Swirl 105
8. Degrees of Value 122
9. The Skills of the Future 142
10. Why College? 160
The Colleges of the Future 184
Checklist for the Future 207
About the Author 225