Stephen McBride is predicting the end of college as we know it. The key to his prediction is the last four words: as we know it. The prestigious universities will survive because they will always attract elite students and command huge tuitions. But what about the rest of the colleges that seem bent on teaching classes online?
Cost will be a big issue. He reminds us that as recently as 1980, you could get a four-year bachelor’s degree at some colleges for $10,000. Now you will spend more than that in just one semester. Students are burying themselves in debt (over $1.6 trillion) in order to attend college.
But will students and their parents be willing to spend that kind of money when the kids aren’t living on campus and walking to lectures? Instead, they will be sitting in their bedrooms watching professors on Zoom calls. The college experience has been stripped away by the coronavirus.
Already colleges that are reopening only online are offering tuition discounts by as much as $9,000. They know that students aren’t going to fork over $30,000 a year to watch classroom lectures on Zoom. Soon students will start looking for other ways to complete a college degree for much less than the cost of traditional college.
At the same time, the existing online universities can hire away many of the best teaching professors and couple their lectures with great graphics, videos, and interactive features. And they can do all of it for a fraction of the cost of brick and mortar schools.
When all the dust settles, this will be a bargain for families who will save money and load less student debt on their kids. Much of the liberal and socialist indoctrination will also fade away. There will still be colleges, but it looks like we are headed for some changes that will end the traditional college experience as we know it.