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University Presidents Grow Increasingly Concerned About Perceived Value of College

University Presidents Grow Increasingly Concerned About Perceived Value of College

“because of COVID-19, up sharply from 60 percent of respondents in April and 48 percent in March”

College and university presidents should be deeply concerned about this. Online classes amid the pandemic affected public opinion about the cost and value of higher education.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

Presidents’ Growing Worry? Perceived Value of College

As Inside Higher Ed has surveyed college and university presidents several times over the course of this COVID-19-dominated spring, some things have remained constant. The leaders’ sometimes conflicting concerns about student and employee health and institutional finances. Uncertainty about if and when they will reopen campuses and resume sports programs. Awareness that difficult financial decisions, driven by the recession, are ahead.

But certain issues have taken on greater magnitude as a fall like no other nears.

A new iteration of the survey of campus leaders by Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research, published today, finds presidents likelier than they were two months ago to expect their institutions to reduce their portfolio of academic programs (55 percent versus 41 percent in April).

Majorities of presidents remain confident in their colleges’ ability to educate students safely and well, whether they’re on campuses or off this fall. But far fewer believe their institutions can ensure the safety of vulnerable people in their surrounding communities (39 percent) or ensure that students will behave responsibly when they’re not being watched (29 percent).

And nearly three-quarters of presidents (72 percent) are either very or somewhat concerned about a “perceived decrease in the value of higher education” because of COVID-19, up sharply from 60 percent of respondents in April and 48 percent in March.


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 30, 2020 at 4:15 pm

And they did it to themselves…..

“Majorities of presidents remain confident in their colleges’ ability to educate students safely and well …”

I find this confusing. Are they saying that covid-19 has improved the quality of education? Or have they just not been paying attention?

Morning Sunshine | June 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm

I swear, I am ahead of every curve, and have been my entire life! I should make a list one day.

I am one of those parents questioning the need for college, and have not even tried to prepare my homeschool kids for a college experience. They can go if they want – the education I am providing them will get them in anywhere, I am sure. But it is something I have told them they will have to pay for themselves, if they want to go. And that has been my position for years – that college is not worth what is being charged.

The Friendly Grizzly | June 30, 2020 at 6:40 pm

I have said this in the past, both here and in other venues: a return to apprenticeships is in order.

Let’s see … A kid could go to a fashionable school such as Oberlin or Vassar and go into debt $200,000 to get a “degree” in gender studies. Part of the classes would probably be online. Then he or she could get a job flipping burgers to try to pay off the $200K. The lucky ones will get jobs teaching grievance studies for about double the burger-flipping salary.

OR He or she could study hard in math and science in high school, then go to the state university and major in engineering or computer science or statistics. A typical loan amount for four or five years (for a Master of Engineering degree) as a resident would be about $40K. The starting salaries in these areas are all north of $100K per year.

One of these will be productively employed, own a nice home, pay taxes, and contribute to society. The other will be the one who lives on welfare, joins a mob, breaks down the gate, trespasses on the lawn, and loots and burns the productive one’s home.

    Free State Paul in reply to OldProf2. | July 1, 2020 at 7:46 am

    A STEM degree is no guarantee of a good job these days, either. About half of graduates with STEM degrees are working outside their fields because employers would rather hire cheap foreign labor that can’t leave their jobs without losing their visas

    A nephew of mine has a degree in environmental engineering. Two years after graduation, he’s still waiting tables. Last year, nearly 200 H-1b visa holders were hired as environmental engineers in his state. The kid is an awkward nerd who doesn’t interview well, but the foreign competition can’t help.

    gibbie in reply to OldProf2. | July 1, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    You forgot “the trades”.

The big issue University Presidents should be evaluating is whether the decades long push to indoctrinate students in leftist ideology has completely undermined the educational value of their institution. A truthful evaluation would undoubtedly yield a resounding Yes.

I remember ~15 years ago, when people were spending $$$$ on homes with twin-jacuzzi’s in the the MasterBath Suite, Viking stoves, SubZero refrigerators, Granite-no-Onyx countertops with the self-assured belief that “unlike spending on a pool, WHATEVER one spent on a home’s kitchen or bath was more than made up in the home’s ultimate value or future sale”

And then a sage economist / stock-market guru pointed out . . . “When people, say whatever a _____ costs, it’s worth it means?” It’s tulip bulbs territory.

For almost four decades as the “list price” of many private colleges has gone from $7k ==> $75k and state colleges have gone from $2.5k => $35k, we’ve heard the same mantra: “Whatever one spends on college, is more than made up in salaries later on” without wondering if this is causation or correlation.

All bubbles pop. And this one isn’t value-driven, it’s been based on 1) the academia-industry justifying their existence as a means to even out opportunity for those born into different circumstances (noble, but self-interested); 2) the government-student loan complex (protected by an exclusion in the bankruptcy laws); and 3) parents hoping that their children can learn life-lessons, get advantages over others, and transition-from-childhood in prestigious ivy-walled cocoons, without facing real failure or danger (i.e., the military).

The growing public revulsion for Marxist-flavored curriculum and kids coming home radicalized by grievance studies and other such rot means this is just the beginning of the fires that will sweep the groves of academe. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking an unholy glee in the cutbacks that in the end will also claim the salaries, retirement and other benefits of even the sacrosanct administrative caste.

This is just about the worst-case scenario for universities. They have poisoned the well with their far-left political indoctrination, and the well itself is running dry as demographics change. My daughter is a senior this year, and I can tell you that gap years are getting AWFULLY popular. Anecdotally, I am hearing that students are being contacted by their second choice schools, with the message, “Disappointed with your financial aid package? Let’s talk!” My student is STILL getting emails soliciting applications. My child is a math nerd and the type of kid who traditionally goes to college, so we’re going full-steam ahead with her attendance plan. I will note, however, that were she not attending on a full-ride scholarship, we would be seriously looking at gap year options. It’s a mess. Were I not so thoroughly disgusted at the state of the Academy, I might actually feel sorry for university presidents dealing with this. But I don’t.

    OldProf2 in reply to Anonamom. | July 1, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I like the way “math nerd” and “full-ride scholarship” go together. Sounds like a case of good parenting with a hard-working student.

Who wants to go to school in cities where they are defunding the police?

Does anyone really want to attend Columbia or Penn in the Fall of 2020?

henrybowman | July 4, 2020 at 5:48 pm

“University Presidents Grow Increasingly Concerned About Perceived Value of College”

Really? What ponderous issues have been distracting them from this realization for the past ten years?