Americans’ Confidence in Higher Ed Drops Sharply

By  Karin Fischer

Public confidence in higher education’s ability to lead America in a positive direction has sunk steeply in recent years, falling 14 percentage points just since 2020.

Two years ago, more than two-thirds of Americans said colleges were having a positive effect on the country, according to a survey conducted by New America. In the most recent version of the survey, released Tuesday, barely half agreed.

As with other recent public-opinion polling, New America’s findings reveal a yawning partisan gap. While nearly three-quarters of Democrats saw higher education’s contributions in a positive light, just 37 percent of Republicans did.

Yet the think tank’s annual Varying Degrees survey found that a strong majority, more than 75 percent, thought that some education beyond high school offered a good return on investment for students. And public perception of online education improved markedly in the latest poll, with nearly half of Americans saying it was comparable in quality to in-person education, up from just a third in 2021.

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A ‘STUNNING’ LEVEL OF STUDENT DISCONNECTION

Professors are reporting record numbers of students checked out, stressed out, and unsure of their future.

By Beth McMurtrie

In 20 years of teaching at Doane University, Kate Marley has never seen anything like it. Twenty to 30 percent of her students do not show up for class or complete any of the assignments. The moment she begins to speak, she says, their brains seem to shut off. If she asks questions on what she’s been talking about, they don’t have any idea. On tests they struggle to recall basic information.

“Stunning” is the word she uses to describe the level of disengagement she and her colleagues have witnessed across the Nebraska campus. “I don’t seem to be capable of motivating them to read textbooks or complete assignments,” she says of that portion of her students. “They are kind kids. They are really nice to know and talk with. I enjoy them as people.” But, she says, “I can’t figure out how to help them learn.”

Marley, a biology professor, hesitates to talk to her students about the issue, for fear of making them self-conscious, but she has a pretty good idea of what is happening. In addition to two years of shifting among online, hybrid, and in-person classes, many students have suffered deaths in their families, financial insecurity, or other pandemic-related trauma. That adds up to a lot of stress and exhaustion. In a first-year seminar last fall, Marley says, she provided mental-health counseling referrals to seven out of her 17 students.

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The University in Ruins

The “innovations” that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

By Johann N. Neem

Universities might be facing a moment similar to what befell early modern English monasteries under Henry VIII. For generations, Ronald G. Musto explains in The Attack on Higher Education (2021), monasteries were the center of English intellectual and religious life. They were innovators that developed new ideas. But, following the dissolution acts of 1535 and 1539, “the monasteries’ daily routines, chants, liturgical hours, processions, rituals, instructions, and labors concentrated in particular places simply ceased to exist.”

Could the same happen to universities?

It’s already happening. Today, we walk among the ruins of an institution that once had a larger purpose. It’s not clear what role universities should play in society, and to what or to whom they are accountable, other than their corporate interests.

To some, that’s not a problem, at least according to Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt in The Great Upheaval (2021). They see higher education undergoing the same transformation that reshaped the music, film, and newspaper industries. Rather than place-based education overseen by tenured professors, they anticipate “the rise of anytime, anyplace, consumer-driven content and source agnostic, unbundled, personalized education paid for by subscription.”

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College enrollment is lower now than it’s been at any time in the last half-century


Jesse James 
Oct 26th, 2021 3:31 pm

You know college—the hugely expensive four-to-six year investment of time and resources that many students spend their entire lifetimes paying off? Yeah for some reason more people are opting out of it.

College enrollment was supposed to bounce back this fall. Instead, more students opted out.

Nationwide, fewer students went back to school again this year, dragging undergraduate enrollment down another 3.2% from last year, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center that’s based on early data from colleges. There were roughly 17.5 million students enrolled as of the last tally.

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Futurati Podcast Ep 57: Victoria Ransom on entrepreneurship and the future of education.

By Thomas Frey and Trent Fowler


Watch on Youtube

Listen on the Futurati Podcast website


Victoria is a powerhouse serial entrepreneur who sold a growing company to Google in 2012, then spent the next few years thinking about how to have a large, positive impact on the world.

Around this time she was considering how she wanted to educate her children, so she was also spending a lot of energy researching different models for education and issues with existing approaches.

She wanted something holistic, in which a child is a key partner in the exciting process of learning, and was taught skills like communication along with the standard mathematics, science, and the like.

Though there were schools that offered what most of what she was looking for, they all had the same issue: they couldn’t scale.
This is the problem she and her husband set out to solve.

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Why the Business Education of the Future Won’t be at Wharton or Stanford

In that same study, 97% of companies said customer education impacts their overall revenue by increasing brand awareness, boosting product usage and decreasing churn. Yet 68% believe they could be using customer education to derive even more value—a gap that Academy Builders aims to fill.

By Emily Hubbell

As you read this article, 31.7 million small businesses are operating across the United States, delivering the goods and services that fuel a strong economy. The lifeblood of the nation, these small businesses employ 60.6 million workers; that’s nearly 50% of all U.S. employees. They create two-thirds of new jobs and represent 44% of our domestic economic activity.. Think those statistics are impressive? Get ready to watch them explode.

Before COVID-19, Bain & Company predicted that the number of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the U.S. would skyrocket to 70 million by 2030. Now, the number of Americans who own a company could eclipse 100 million in that same timeframe—a shift triggered more by necessity than opportunity. Artificial intelligence could eliminate more than 20% of current jobs by the end of the decade. And then there’s the recession, which has historically inspired high levels of entrepreneurship. But no matter the impetus for starting a business, there’s one common thread: More entrepreneurs than ever are entering the role unprepared—and unable to afford business school as a source of training.

Business owners are good for the economy. They fuel innovation, increase competition and create high-quality jobs. But as the number of entrepreneurs skyrockets, it raises a critical question: How can we educate small business owners affordably and at scale? For a growing group of innovators, the answer is “customer education:” a market segment that shifts small business training away from universities and toward the companies that entrepreneurs do business with. Among the leaders shaping this emerging space is Scott Duffy, whose Academy Builders, Inc., is launching as the race to disrupt entrepreneur education accelerates.

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The digital divide has left millions of school kids behind

US schools are going back to in-person learning as COVID ebbs, but the so-called homework gap will persist.

By Marguerite Reardon

The coronavirus shined a light on the homework gap, or the disparity between the haves and have-nots when it comes to those students with laptops, tablets and high-speed internet and those without even basic online access. But the waning of the pandemic’s threat is a stark reminder that this aspect of the larger digital divide was a problem long before, and will remain one even as things return to normal. 

But the seismic shift sparked by the coronavirus has some optimistic that more change is on the way. 

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These 10 Colleges Have Produced The Most Billionaire Alumni

By Kenrick Cai

American universities dominate, but it’s not all Ivy Leaguers on the 2021 World’s Billionaires list.

The 2,755 people on Forbes’ 2021 World’s Billionaires list received their undergraduate degrees all over the world, from Al-Azhar University in Egypt to the Zhejiang University of Technology in China. Hundreds did not attend college at all, or left before obtaining a diploma, including a pair of Harvard dropouts who are among the five richest people in the world: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

But among the billionaires who completed their undergraduate education, a few schools stand out. Harvard leads the way, with at least 29 billionaire alumni on the Forbes list. (We found information about the undergraduate education of a majority, but not all, of the list members.) Four other Ivy League universities make the top ten. Nine of these ten schools are located in the United States—MIT and a trio of California schools round out the American colleges—although their alumni hold diverse citizenship, from Colombia to Ireland to the Philippines. The lone non-U.S. school? The University of Mumbai, a public university in India that is one of the largest colleges in the world by enrollment. Just missing the cut are South Korea’s Seoul National University and China’s Tsinghua University.

Here are the ten colleges with the most billionaire undergraduate alumni, based on education data collected by Forbes; net worths are as of March 5, 2021.

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How Google’s New Career Certificates Could Disrupt the College Degree (Exclusive)

BY JUSTIN BARISO@JUSTINJBARISO

Get a first look at Google’s new certificate programs and a new feature of Google Search designed to help job seekers everywhere.

This morning, Google is announcing the next steps in its plan to disrupt the world of education, including the launch of new certificate programs that are designed to help people bridge any skills gap and get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields–with one noteworthy feature: 

No college degree necessary.

The new tools could be a game changer for a growing number of people who consider the current educational system broken, or for the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed, much due to fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has led to a truly horrible year,” Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai tells Inc. in an interview. “But it has also created profound shifts along the journey to digital transformation in ways no one could have imagined.”

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5 Major Shifts Needed Post-COVID-19 to Transform Education

BY MARK SIEGEL | AUGUST 12, 2020

MARK SIEGEL

As American educators battle the COVID-19 crisis, we are rightly recognizing that providing quality education faces incredible new challenges in the short and long term. As John Bailey writes in Education Next, “In planning to reopen, schools will be forced to question long-standing assumptions and develop strategies that can lead to building a better education system. The process can help to distinguish between the superfluous and the essential and build from those fundamentals.”

These transformational challenges do not allow us to return to previous, largely ineffective academic methodologies that have not allowed us to accomplish the goals we have for our students, nor do they call on us to believe that the best we can do is to merely cope through a temporary, hybrid system. Rather, they require us to rethink the future of education and radically improve our current system, a transformation that will include at least five major shifts to better serve all students.

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Reimagining higher education in the United States

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As education leaders consider their options in the age of the COVID-19 crisis, they must rethink the conventional wisdom.

Higher education in the United States is at an inflection point. The core mission of the university—instruction, research, and service—has not changed. Nor has the need for advanced education to prepare individuals for a fulfilling life and to drive the knowledge economy. For individuals, the economic benefit of earning a college degree remains clear. College graduates are on average wealthier, healthier, and happier over a lifetime.1

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, however, the higher-education sector faced significant challenges. Consider student completion: only 60 percent of all those who started college actually earned a degree within six years in 2017 (the latest year for which data is available). The figures are even worse for Black (39.9 percent) and Hispanic (54.4 percent) students. Other troubling disparities persist. In student enrollment, for example, 69 percent of white high-school graduates enroll in college, compared with 59 percent of Black high-schoolers and 61 percent of Hispanics. Furthermore, the level of student debt is rising, while repayment rates plummet, creating a potentially unsustainable burden for many students.

The pandemic is intensifying these challenges and creating new ones. Students and their families are struggling with the impact of campus shutdowns and questioning whether it is worth it to pay for an on-campus experience when much of the instruction is being done remotely. Under these circumstances, the risk of outcome inequities—from completion to employment to lifetime earnings—could worsen. For example, evidence suggests that lower-income students are 55 percent more likely than their higher-income peers to delay graduation2 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Underpinning all of these challenges is a business model at its breaking point, as institutions face falling revenues and rising health-and-safety costs.

In short, the coronavirus has confirmed the case for fast and fundamental change. It has also demonstrated that change is possible. When the pandemic hit, many US colleges and universities moved quickly to remote learning and other delivery models, launched affordability initiatives, and found creative ways to support their students. Now is the time to build on these lessons to reimagine the next five to ten years and beyond.

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China’s Yuanfudao claims global edtech valuation crown

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Yuanfudao has ascended to become the most valuable private edtech company in the world.

 The Beijing-based company captured a $15.5 billion valuation after closing a $2.2 billion round—climbing past India’s online learning platform, Byju, to take its place as the world’s most valuable private edtech company, according to PitchBook data.

“Yuanfudao is poised for high growth as it offers products from preschool to secondary education, which in theory, can support a child’s educational journey from the very beginning all the way through adulthood,” said Ryan Vaswani, an emerging tech analyst at PitchBook.

The company’s online education platform has about 3.7 million students in China using its suite of products, which include live tutoring, online question banks and a math problem-checking app.

Tencent led the first add-on to the company’s Series G with participation from Hillhouse Capital, Boyu Capital and IDG Capital. DST Global, which has also backed Chinese ridesharing goliath Didi Chuxing, led the second portion of the round. In March, Yuanfudao reportedly raised $1 billion at a $7.8 billion valuation.

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