Could Technology Make College Cheaper?

A college education is as important as ever for tomorrow's professionals. Unfortunately, the cost of earning a degree has risen so dramatically in recent years that many prospective students have been priced out of higher ed. Education analysts are examining these exorbitant costs, including the role technology might play in lowering them. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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Higher Costs for Higher Ed

College students and their families are being affected by significant increases in tuition, fees and living costs at postsecondary institutions throughout the U.S. More and more individuals are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. And these are the lucky ones; countless other young people with limited financial resources simply can't afford to attend college at all.

Higher education experts are sounding the alarm on dramatic hikes in college costs, citing the need to implement solutions. These figures note that while earning a college degree still has very obvious benefits - including diversified career options and increased earning power - it's becoming less of a value than it once was. In fact, increases in cost are currently rising at four times the rate of inflation.

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Innovation an Option?

So how can costs be lowered? This important question has many potential answers. Louis E. Lataif, a former dean of Boston University's School of Management, suggests that colleges must become more innovative. He looks to business for a model of the kind of cost-cutting efficiencies that institutions of higher education must undertake to remain viable. And a key component of his recommendations for universities is greater integration of technology.

Lataif suggests that schools could move a lot of learning that currently takes place in classrooms to asynchronous online settings. In support of this argument, he cites reporting by The Chronicle of Higher Education that indicates students can learn material from a full semester in half the time when an online element is included. Lataif suggests that this would allow young people to complete degrees in two or three years instead of four. He also advocates for totally eliminating costly textbooks in favor of electronic versions.

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Tech at a Cost?

Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldmen, authors of Why Does College Cost So Much?, posit that technology could also contribute to greater costs at the nations' universities. The researchers suggest that advances in technology create a constant catch-up dynamic in which institutions must continually refurbish classrooms and labs. It's important, for example, that graphic design students have access to industry-standard machines and programs. Tech costs add up when applied across departments, especially when accounting for the advanced (and expensive) equipment used for research within the sciences.

Archibald and Feldmen also observe that online classes don't necessarily represent a silver bullet for cutting college costs. The pair suggests that in many cases electronic technologies merely change what is taught and how, rather than reduce the number of faculty hours necessary to conduct a class.

Enrolling in an online class? Get familiar with virtual learning environments.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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