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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An educated guess: Cost of higher education going higher

Last week, Research Brief published an analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data done by the Pew Research Center. The analysis suggests that college students are borrowing much more money in recent years. (Click here to read the full article.)

The following day, the New York Times published a story that points to a cloudy future for the funding of Pell Grants. (Click here to see that story.)

Implications: Think about book stores, back-to-school clothing, wireless phones, laptops, local pizza delivery shops… right down to the beer vendors: There are lots of business categories that rely on college student spending for their livelihood. But this trend stands to impact more than just the companies who build or sell those small dorm-room-sized refrigerators. These reports suggest that we might be wise to look for fundamental changes in the way some people seek education.

Could increasing costs lead more people to online classrooms, or at least to down-grade from a distant, private college to a hometown, public university? Or, could these costs inspire students to take classes with the idea of gaining specific collection of knowledge, a skill, or ability… instead of seeking a broad degree?

Mike Anderson

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