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Colleges Aren't Dead (Yet) | Billion$ of Reasons Why the College Industrial Complex Will Survive This Downtrend

college prep future planning high school May 26, 2022

Colleges are failing & students are dumping overpriced college degrees for online learning. But can online learning really take over? Here are 10 reasons why colleges will survive, despite a significant drop in enrollment.

Online learning has so many great features:

• Learn WHATever you want

• Learn WHENever you want

• Learn WHEREver you want

• Learn HOWever fast you want

• Learn from WHOMever you want Perfect, right?

1 - Colleges Have Big Money

Colleges can't compete with the online learning features, so we should just write them off now? Maybe one day this will be true, but it won't happen overnight. Whenever there is big money concerned, and I mean BIG money, you have to think colleges won't go away quietly.

For context on how big BIG money is, the 8 Ivy League schools have a combined endowment of $194 billion!

The E-learning market projection by 2025 is expected to be $44.9 billion. E-learning is growing but colleges with an eye toward the future will save this sinking ship & others will follow.

2 - Exposure vs. Mastery

Key differences between online learning & the college experience: Exposure Doesn't Mean Mastery

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, particularly for a teenager. No matter how good it sounds, Slick Sal's Sales Academy in just 10 easy lessons won't make you an expert.

3 - Length of Time to Mastery

The Trades & Colleges Might Know Something

Did you know that the trades require approximately 4 years to become a Journeyman? And you can't reach the Master level for at least another 2 more years. These are similar time frames to getting an undergrad degree & masters.

4 - Online Failure Rates Are Sky High

Online Students Fail More Than College Students College critics cite high costs & poor grad rates. In the US, only 63.8% of 18-year-olds who enroll in college graduate within 5 years.

But, the average completion rate for Udemy is just 30% & 70% never start the course!

5 - Colleges Are High Priced Curators & Content Creators

Colleges curate information & pay professors to deliver information to you. The colleges with the best job placement curate & create information better than other colleges do. E-learning doesn't have this sort of data (yet).

6 - Online Learning Sounds Great Until It Isn't

College students overwhelmingly wanted to get back to On-Campus Learning and dump Zoom School. The pandemic lockdowns forced colleges into Zoom School (students weren't happy that they didn't get a discount). While students might question the value of a college degree, most college students polled wanted to be back on campus for the experiences & and the learning! Yes, college kids really said they learned more in person!

7 - Esprit de Corps & Away From Home Failure

Aside from technical aspects, colleges hold an edge in experiences (there are no tail-gate parties at the TwitterU vs. YouTube Academy Big Game). One of the things that makes college so great is the shared sense of pride & friendship shared by a group.

College-age students are often in an exploratory phase that is, for the most part, socially accepted as "age-appropriate." You are also out of those with a bit more freedom to screw up without parental intervention.

College students reported that they wanted these experiences, good and bad because they helped them develop to better handle the future.

8 - Investment or Expense?

No matter your path, you want your experience to have a positive Return on Investment (ROI). The ROI from a college degree can take 5 to 10 years (or longer). The E-learning platform will be significantly less, but will the ROI carry you into the future?

With very poor completion rates and little accountability for failure, the

9 - Did You Grow Incrementally or Exponentially?

Incremental growth occurs when you learn a few helpful things, but no game-changing skills. Exponential growth occurs when what you learn elevates your skillset dramatically & alters your career trajectory. To grow exponentially, you must layer new skills & knowledge on top of existing knowledge & repeat.

E-learning has mainly intro classes & lacks class breadth and depth. The current degree path from colleges offers the best chance at exponential growth.

10 - Certification, Diploma, or Portfolio?

Whether you get an online certificate, a diploma from a fancy college, or just produced great work from your basement, different fields, and different employers will require different things:

• Some employers are only interested in WHERE you went to school

• Some employers are only interested in WHAT you went to school for

• Some employers are only interested in WHAT you can do.

Colleges currently offer courses with greater difficulty, which can lead to a better portfolio of work, but for E-learning to replace colleges, there will need to be a path for students to advance & grow exponentially.

How To Avoid Picking a Failing College

Failing colleges usually do not give you advance notice they are closing (sometimes as little as a few weeks’ notice). Most of the colleges that have closed recently knew they were in trouble but they kept enrolling more students, hoping for a miracle.

Sadly, students were displaced by this move, some within a semester of graduation. Not every student received refunds or money back for dorm deposits.

Government oversight is not great and the lag time to report financials can be up to a year late. Schools in trouble often start to show signs of weakness a few years in advance, so you may want to avoid schools with the following warning signs:

• Declining enrollments for the previous 3 to 5 years

Colleges are a business and need tuition to pay the bills. If the student enrollment is shrinking, so is its ability to keep the lights on.

• Declining 5-year graduation rates for the previous 3 to 5 years

Schools in trouble struggle to provide services for students in order to graduate within a reasonable period of time. A struggling school will show signs of weakness here.

• Declining endowment in the previous 3 years

Endowments are funny things. While most believe they are a giant savings account, colleges have strict rules on how to use this money. However, if endowments start dropping rapidly, it could be that this "savings account" is being used as a rainy day fund.

• Rapidly increasing tuition rates in the previous 2 years

A business in trouble will often abruptly raise rates to cover costs. A rate increase above inflationary norms will often chase off current students and drive away new ones.

These numbers will require a little bit of digging to find, but the extra time researching could be well worth it.

Colleges are failing & students are dumping them for online learning, but colleges have too much to lose to fail completely.

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