While encouraging more students to pursue a technical degree may seem attractive for the short term, the long view suggests that a wholesale shift away from encouraging all those who can to pursue a college degree will significantly affect their career longevity.
I sat down with Lawrence S. Bacow, President in Residence at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and Former President of Tufts to ask him if technology will bend the cost curve of higher education or will it further stratify higher education?
Thorough research is necessary to be sure that students are applying to the right colleges for them. The research will also come in handy when completing applications and when answering essay questions that ask why an applicant wants to attend that college.
Given their mission, there is a rough road ahead for HBCUs in trying to reconcile low graduation rates, high loan default percentages, and low entry-level salaries for those who graduate against the rising definitions of value in higher education.
Some of the attacks on U.S. higher education, although in many cases well-intentioned, have the potential to do real damage to this sector of our national educational system at a time when a college degree is increasingly seen as the gateway to a meaningful and rewarding life and career.
Small classes with lots of personal attention from gifted teachers with Ph.D.'s are costly. But getting lost or left behind in a lecture hall of 500 students for a much lower tuition can ultimately cost the individual more.
Why would low-income students pay four or five times more for an education they could receive around the corner at their local community college? And why would they accumulate large amounts of debt to do it, foregoing the ability to later transfer their credits?
I fully expect the educational results for the 2008 cohorts to be a mirror of the financial trauma they and our nation experienced and that many of our most vulnerable citizens still know all too well today.
Congress brought out their knives and spears this year to fight over the interest rates you have to pay on your college loans. Those in favor of lower rates said they were coming to your rescue. Forget it. You are still sinking. "It's the principal, stupid!"
As we gaze into the future, the direction of higher education is likely to be more about the whole produced by the sum of its parts. No one type of learning will predominate. It is likely, however, that higher education will move toward a blended platform.
When choosing a college, remember that tuition cost shouldn't be the only way to calculate the value of your degree -- investing in schools with better internships, contacts or special programs can help you continue to build wealth years after you graduate.
If you take a peek inside a college students' backpack, in many cases you will find that smartphones, tablets, portable computers and e-readers have long since replaced more traditional essentials such as notebooks, pencils and textbooks.
Because the question of cost as it relates to each family's situation can be different in each individual case, families can start planning as early as the student's junior year of high school, but at the latest by the summer before the senior year.