25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College” Part II

The Center for College Affordability has produced a report entitled “25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College”. This is the second of a three part series outlining their recommendations.

With college costs and withdrawal rates continuing to rise, it is obvious that major changes need to take place in higher education. Institutions are not student-centered and are falling behind on innovative methods of delivering education. Students withdraw for educational, as well as financial, reasons.

Here are some potential solutions to this problem:

  • To improve education quality at the institutional level, it is necessary to stimulate the desire of teachers to improve and update their teaching methods. One way to motivate teachers is to abolish tenure. This would require full-time professors to be continually evaluated in order to continue their job. Tenure could be replaced with renewable long-term employment contracts with full-time professors, which allows for flexibility as well as job security.
  • To measure teaching more easily, the state could mandate that teachers work a certain number of hours per week or institutions could reward quality teaching financially. Today, the national reputation of institutions is measured through research, whereas it should be through quality teaching.
  • Institutions should also maximize the use of facilities and allocate space efficiently. While institutions see increases in tuition as ways of earning revenue, they should instead rent out classrooms or recreational centers in order to earn revenue.
  • Another way to increase revenue is to outsource services through sale or long-term lease of capital assets to private entrepreneurs.

With institutions freeing up spending on teachers and facilities, institutions can cap tuition increases. Students can cut down on their costs through multiple ways.

  • An innovative model is to encourage students to attend community college as it saves students money.
  • The acceptance of community college credits also needs to more cost efficient and standardized.
  • Institutions also need to standardize the credit transfer of dual enrollment programs like Advanced Placement, on-line education, and College Level Examination Program. Not all institutions accept alternative ways of earning college credit because they reduce potential tuition revenue. The federal government could mandate that institutions accept credits from dual enrollment programs.

Higher education is fraught with debt and withdrawal rates. Changes will need to be taken by institutions and enforced by institutions and the federal government. Therefore, roles in higher education need to be defined and all need to be held accountable.

“25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College” Part 1

The Center for College Affordability has produced a report entitled “25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College”. This is the first of a three part series outlining their recommendations.

Many colleges and universities make decisions that have long term effects on the cost of tuition. Several effective cost cutting measures are discussed below.

The idea of tenure has been around for decades but with the new increases in tuition, this option seems less useful. Consequently colleges are hiring more non-tenure track professors. Since these positions are still being filled it shows that even a non-tenured faculty position is still desirable. Consequently faculty does not need to be filled with tenure-track professors to retain a strong teaching force.

More innovative ways of teach could help limit institutional costs. Emphasizing more online courses would reduce costs, improve learning outcomes, and expand the access of students. This would increase the outreach to students all over the country who can enroll in the institution all while preserving the college’s reputation for academic integrity.

Textbooks are another source of college costs. Every semester students wait and wait and wait in hope their professor never uses the book because the prices are so expensive. If every college would utilize online sources for textbooks, this would reduce the cost and help lower the real cost of college. This could also take place in the library, where digitizing the system would increase access to online resources all while lowering cost.

Since many internet providers offer free email services, colleges should utilize these services rather than outsourcing to more expensive platforms.

States could also make the higher education system more cost efficient by subsidizing  students through grants instead of directly providing money to colleges. Students could then use their grant money to shop for the highest quality/least expensive education, which would force colleges to be more competitive.

Overall, some believe that to cut costs the college needs to take a serious hit in its quality to make this happen. Actually this is not true.  Turning competition from reputation to quality of teaching, by providing more information about education, could lead to colleges focusing more on the classroom and cutting unnecessary costs that improve the “appeal” of the college.