We wouldn't dare give a young person who is just starting out the same advice today about bank interest rates or real estate values that we did ten years ago. So why are we still giving out the same old advice about college?
Andrew Rossi's new documentary, Ivory Tower, looks at higher education today, especially the vertiginously escalating tuition costs and the consequences of those costs, from crushing debt burdens on young graduates to the compromises schools make to attract students who are able to pay full price.
Let me be clear. College is not right for everyone, but it undisputedly remains the ticket to socioeconomic mobility. We need to stop debating its value, and instead focus on ensuring more students have access to college.
Higher education is a mature industry that is on the cusp of major transformations in the next two decades, and every college and university will need to prepare to maintain their quality, efficiency and relevancy in this climate.
I don't mean to imply that NYU Abu Dhabi is a panacea. It is a new institution that has had a luxury that no existing college can have: starting from scratch and dreaming of what an undergraduate education should be in the 21st century.
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.
As far as the colleges and universities are concerned, higher accountability should be demanded from educators, students, parents and really any Americans that want the best economy and highest-educated population.
The Obama administration's efforts to implement policies to address access and cost issues in higher education are well-intended. Yet in truth, they put the cart before the horse. A significant amount of work must be done first.
With a president who is predisposed to making substantive changes to help America improve this crucial sector, future educational summits that demand access, quality and accountability are worth the time and effort.
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.