History does not stand still: We're all living in history whether we realise it or not, and the times are always changing whether there are songs on the radio telling us so or not. The endless change in society can be worrying for the older generations, used to the old ways, and exciting to the younger generation always looking for new things, but in the end the only constant in the universe is, in fact, change.
One aspect of the world currently learning this lesson are old-fashioned brick-and-mortar private colleges, which are suffering through a lengthy and seemingly permanent decline in enrolment as online colleges rise in popularity and gain credence - and accreditation.
The Cheaper College Online
The numbers are staggering:
- A recent study predicted that 30% of all private colleges will close by 2023.
- Enrolment of freshman students declined more than 10% from 2010 through 2012.
- The cost of traditional college is immense - and growing. Room, board, Costs have risen 42% in recent years.
In a world where $23,500 often represents a person's entire income, this is increasingly placing college out of reach for many prospective students. And increasingly they are turning to the more affordable college online strategy to attain the much-needed degree.
Online Colleges: More Affordable
College online is more affordable in many ways:
- Lower tuition in general; most online colleges tuition stands below $10,000 - often significantly below.
- No associated room and board costs.
- No transportation costs.
- Frequently lower or non-existent materials cost (free software and course materials)
Private colleges are fighting back, but the effectiveness of their efforts remains to be seen. Some colleges are expanding their graduate programs to bring in more revenue from older students who are more comfortable with a physical experience. Some are offering scholarships simply for considering the college; for example, Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama now offers a $1,000 scholarship simply for touring the campus; the cost of a 4-year program at Spring Hill is currently $170,000.
However, as the old equation pitting the cost of a degree against the higher earnings of college graduates returns smaller and smaller numbers, the expectation is that private colleges will have to drop tuition costs to compete with online colleges or simply fade away. How many are left after a few decades will depend greatly on how effectively they can recreate themselves.