Friday, January 28, 2011

Win the Future of Higher Education

Recently I have seen and heard several news stories asking if college is a smart investment these days.  I have struggled with this question since I began considering my collegiate plans.  I did end up going to the University of Evansville and earning an Honors Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, majoring in Cognitive Science, minoring in Psychology and Philosophy, and concentrating in Political Science and Computer Science.  On the pro side, I met my wife and several other great friends at UE, and I learned a lot.  On the con side, since graduating college, I have only worked in jobs that I could have just as easily worked in before I even graduated high school.  I have also been struggling to gain admittance to graduate school.

The State of the Union Address got me thinking more about this issue, and I have come up with an idea for an improved system of educational investment.

Here is an outline of my idea:

  • Students are admitted to colleges based on performance in high school.  Below a certain level of performance, students must take classes-for-money before they are permitted to enroll in college proper.
  • Once in college, students pay tuition and fees based on performance.  The better a student performs, the less (s)he has to pay to continue college.  If a student falls below a certain level of performance, that student is expelled.  (S)he must take expensive remedial classes before being readmitted.
  • Businesses hire students directly from college.  Students may continue college until they accept an offer of employment, provided their performance allows continued studies.  Each class costs money, the amount based on individual student performance.
  • Education is financed by loans that are interest-free while the students are enrolled.  When the students leave college, by being hired, expelled, or otherwise, their loans begin to accrue interest.  If and when a student reenrolls, his/her accrued interest is maintained, but no further interest accrues while (s)he remains in school.
*Note: After I began this article, but before I finished it, I came across an article in The Consumerist about a similar plan being applied to a gym: New Gym Business Model: Work Out More, Pay Less.