AI & Higher Ed

by Taylor Johnson

This new story from Marketplace Tech is based on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it may change higher education and the workforce in the near future. This subject is now receiving attention after a small liberal arts school called Colby College has chosen to incorporate AI into subjects/ majors their school already offers. The president of the university, David Greene, argues that  artificial intelligence will become the norm in the near future and that it should be incorporated into more liberal arts universities. While he brings up many interesting examles of how AI is going to be important in each field of study, one of the main reasons he feels AI needs to be incorporated into higher education now is so students can lead AI instead of it leading them. He argues that if AI is kept to only being used in the narrow scope of technology and the defense industry, and continues to not be incorporated into higher education, it will never be able to grow into the powerful resource it has the potential to be. Greene argues the importance of AI’s incorporation in higher education stating:

“one of the beauties of people who are trained in the liberal arts is that they understand how to come at a problem from multiple, different angles… the more that we have people who are coming from liberal arts backgrounds, who are raising the kind of questions that will ultimately shape AI in more positive ways, the better off we’ll be.”

While the advancement of artificial intelligence may seem like a great idea on the surface, many are still apprehensive about incorporating it into higher education. This is usually due to costs and the fear that it may render certain positions useless, potentially positions that colleges are training their students for.

Putting student loan forgiveness in perspective: How costly is it and who benefits?

by Sarah McFarland

A new article from Brookings evaluates the effectiveness of implementing a student loan forgiveness program, as well as more beneficial alternatives to increasing affordability. According to Looney, forgiving $50,000 in student loans would cost almost twice as much as what the federal government has spent on Pell Grant recipients over the last two decades. Even forgiving $10,000 in student loans would amount to what the government has spent on welfare since 2000 and would exceed spending since then on the school breakfast and lunch program. Black and Hispanic households, as well as those with lower levels of education, are more likely to benefit from these programs. Meanwhile, students from white, highly educated, and high-income households are more likely to have higher levels of student loan debt.

According to Looney, student loan forgiveness would place among the largest transfer programs in American history, providing a greater benefit to students from households previously mentioned with higher levels of debt. As a solution, the government should develop targeted programs to relieve poorer students. Such solutions include doubling the Pell Grant for current students and reducing loan balances for former recipients based on the amount they would have received because of this change. Another solution includes pushing income-driven repayment plans, which allow borrowers to repay loans based on the amount they can afford. Each of these solutions would reduce the benefits reaped by students who can afford college, while still increasing affordability for students in need of assistance most.