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“Our twentieth-century education system is woefully out of sync with this twenty-first century economy that demands highly knowledgeable and flexible workers.”

This quote from the introduction of There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow by Jeffrey J Selingo perfectly sums up the entire book and our current university education system.  Everyone should read this book as it applies not only to college, yet to our entire culture.

To simplify this quote, education is woefully out of sync with the realities of our connected, constant changing world.

The Speed of Technology
In September it will be 9 years ago that I joined Facebook to see my daughter’s pictures on the OU Sooners Cheerleader Facebook page.  Upon joining, I friended my daughters and almost immediately received texts from each of them saying that Facebook was just for college kids.

Facebook, at the time, was a hobby or diversion for a few college students. Today, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn dominate not just social media but our entire online experience. Rapid technology innovations impact everything we know constantly.

A simple question that I think will surprise you;

How much technology do you use in your business or personal life every day?

Take the time to list out EVERY TECHNOLOGY your business uses.  We did in December 2016 and found that we use thirty different technologies and have added four since.  That did not include our smartphones, tablets or computers.

College of the Future

Where is college headed with all this rapid change and is college still the good investment that it was in the past?

I wrote about what a job earner now gets with a college education versus a high school diploma in Graduation ≠Financial Success.  Time has eroded the value of a college degree.  The earnings advantage associated with a bachelor’s degree compared with a high school diploma is no longer growing like it once did. Census data show that the average annual earnings differential between high school and four-year college graduates rose sharply, to $32,900 in 2000 (expressed in 2015 dollars) from $19,776 in 1975—only to fall to $29,867 by 2015.

The decade ahead for higher education will be one of great change for colleges, according to a new survey of university deans, two-thirds of whom say their institutions will look much different ten years from now.

Key findings of this survey include:

A decade from now, more than two-thirds of deans say that their institutions will be much different than they are today.

Despite their upbeat assessment of the value and competitiveness of U.S. higher education, only 25 percent of deans say higher education is headed in the right direction and a surprising 30 percent of them are unsure if the industry is on the right track.

9 in 10 deans expect the number of online programs at their institution to increase in the next decade

More than a third of deans describe the pace of change at their own institutions as “too slow.”

Evaluation before Commitment

The automatic graduate from high-school and go to college approach has become stale and unproductive for a large portion of students.  Today life after high school needs to include the importance of gap years, bridge programs, on-the-job training, internships and attending community college before attending college.

College is one of the biggest lifetime expenses and longest commitments of dedicated time many people ever make. The cost of college continues to rise and news outlets regularly report the high rates of underemployment and unemployment among recent college graduates. As a result, it is important to question whether a college education offers sufficient return on investment. Many are plowing ahead without thought and collecting six-digit debt burdens.

College is not the final straw anymore. It may be a very important straw, but it is not the final one. Gone are the days when simply getting a college degree guarantees you economic stability.

Homework

For a look at what is occurring in Texas about this read the Texas Monthly October 2012 article, Storming the Ivory Tower

Thinking about reading my summer books in my hammock,

Michael

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Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ●  CEO
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