ERIC Number: EJ1047960
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 43
Pursuing Higher Education's MacGuffin: Economic Realities of the $10,000 College Degree
Oprisko, Robert L.
Thought & Action, p121-132 Fall 2014
From Florida to Texas, in states where the focus of higher education "reform" has been on economic costs, state governors have made the pursuit of a high-quality, $10,000 degree a priority of their administrations. The seductive aspect of a college degree at that cost is the simplicity of the idea: 10K is not too much to pay or borrow for a good that society has shown itself willing to support. Plus, it's a very round number. But is it a realistic goal? Is it a "goal in search of a model?" Is it the MacGuffin of higher education reform, the plot device that drives action regardless of its viability? By focusing solely on total degree cost, the proponents of the 10K degree ignore other variables of the equation, including public funding, education quality, and faculty pay. Nonetheless, the economic and social realities, or consequences, of where the 10K degree leads may be important to consider in determining whether this goal, a high-quality post-secondary education on the cheap, is worthy of further societal consideration. It is essential to dive into the numbers--and in this article, the author does so, exploring implications around class sizes, faculty workload, infrastructure costs, and administrative spending at four-year colleges specifically. He argues that it is possible to produce a college degree at a reasonable price, but that it requires new institutional focus on student learning.
Descriptors: Educational Finance, College Graduates, Academic Degrees, Educational Change, Costs, Economic Factors, Social Influences, Class Size, Faculty Workload, Expenditures, Tuition, Cost Effectiveness, Administrator Role, College Administration, Teacher Salaries
National Education Association. 1201 16th Street NW Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4000; Fax: 202-822-7974; Web site: http://www.nea.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A