- Shai Reshef, founder and president of University of the People, a free, non-profit, online university;
- Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character;
- Sebastian Thrun, cofounder of Udacity and Google X, developer of the Google driverless car and Google Glass.
- Margaret Doherty, Ph.D. candidate in English at Harvard University.
- Evan Charles and Dan Pickett, founders of Launch Academy, a ten week coding bootcamp.
Continuing our series on higher ed, we’re hacking our way to a better model; call it New U. There won’t be a football team or a building and grounds department and maybe no president and no tenure. We might think of more adjuncts with more power. We could surely MOOC up in order to spend way down and eliminate the frats, kegs, mixers and majors. Where would you start in reimagining the American university?
- Paul Tough’s article in the New York Times, “Who Gets to Graduate?“
When you look at the national statistics on college graduation rates, there are two big trends that stand out right away. The first is that there are a whole lot of students who make it to college — who show up on campus and enroll in classes — but never get their degrees. More than 40 percent of American students who start at four-year colleges haven’t earned a degree after six years. If you include community-college students in the tabulation, the dropout rate is more than half, worse than any other country except Hungary.
The second trend is that whether a student graduates or not seems to depend today almost entirely on just one factor — how much money his or her parents make. To put it in blunt terms: Rich kids graduate; poor and working-class kids don’t. Or to put it more statistically: About a quarter of college freshmen born into the bottom half of the income distribution will manage to collect a bachelor’s degree by age 24, while almost 90 percent of freshmen born into families in the top income quartile will go on to finish their degree.
- Shai Reshef discussing “How Much Does it Cost to Educate All Those Currently Priced Out of Education?“
Realistically, it will only take a drop in the bucket in relation to the billions floating within the higher education industry. To exemplify how insignificant the support needed to reach individuals currently priced out of education is, take the recently launched $6 billion fundraising campaign at the University of Southern California and divide by 1000; the average $300 million university endowment in the U.S. and divide by 50; or the interest Harvard earned every 10 hours last year. Either way, the solution is $6 million: a tiny price in the world of higher education but a number that has the capacity to educate the world over.
- Thomas Frank in Salon, “Congratulations, class of 2014: You’re totally screwed“
- This interview with Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, “A Q&A with “Godfather of MOOCs” Sebastian Thrun after he disavowed his godchild“