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College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students

Jeffrey J. Selingo · 2 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
What is the value of a college degree? The four-year college experience is as American as apple pie. So is the belief that education offers a ticket to a better life. But with student-loan debt surpassing the $1 trillion mark and unemployment on the rise, people are beginning to question that value. Is a college diploma still worth pursuing at any price? In College (Un)bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle for Higher Education, argues that America’s higher education system is broken. The great credential race has turned universities into big business and fostered an environment where middle tier colleges can command elite university-level tuition while concealing staggeringly low graduation rates and churning out students with few hard skills into the job market. Selingo not only turns a critical eye to the current state of affairs in higher education, but he also predicts how technology will transform it for the better. Free massive online open courses (MOOCs) and hybrid classes, adaptive learning software, and the unbundling of traditional degree credits will increase access to high quality education regardless of budget or location and tailor lesson plans to individual needs. One thing is certain—the Class of 2020 will have a radically different college experience than their parents. Incisive, urgent, and controversial, College (Un)bound is a must-read for prospective students, parents, and anyone concerned with the future of American higher education.
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Starbucks is using ASU's famously developed online course infrastructure and its own massive headcount to educate all of its employees in a way that will add little marginal cost for either entity. Thought the normal ASU cost per credit is ~$500, I would be amazed if Starbucks ended up spending even a third of that.

ASU president Michael Crow is profiled positively as one of the more progressive thinkers in higher ed the 2013 book College Unbound: I wouldn't be surprised if ASU went on to work out a deal with other big retailers that employ a lot of people who haven't finished college yet. ASU's marginal costs will continue to fall as they get more students into the pipes. Walmart, McDonalds and other large employers could be next to partner with them.

> educate all of its employees in a way that will add little marginal cost for either entity.

Is it somehow evil to boost education cost-effectively?

>> Is it somehow evil to boost education cost-effectively?

Pretty sure the OP feels that education at a low marginal cost is a fantastically positive thing.

He forgot to think about how it might reduce marginal cost for both.
I don't think that's the connotation of the OP's sentence.
I think this is old news. Tenure as a whole likely costs the system more than it brings in intellectual freedom benefits. It's a fallacy to think that more experienced tenured teachers are better educators, when it's research success that got them tenure.

Jeff Selingo ( writes extensively about how colleges are reacting to changes in demographics and technology. He doesn't think Yale or Harvard will need to change, but the public and private schools a tier below will need to. His book ( is a good read for parents.

I think you are agreeing - It is the research that matters. Newton for example was a spectacularly bad teacher. (
For tenure and societal benefit, yes. Was so for teaching though undergrad research can be a good experience.
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