Changing Times for Higher Education

Daniel Hastings, Dean for Undergraduate Education

For those of you following the discussion about the changes in higher education in the press, it is clear that two large forces are at work. The first is the growth of online education providers and the large number of first rank universities who are signing on to them. Of course, MIT is represented in this group since we co-founded edX. It seems like every day a new university announces they are part of edX or Coursera or Udacity. This will most likely lead to fundamental change in these universities but of a nature and scale that we can only speculate right now. 

The second is the growing concern about college costs i.e the growth of high tuition when the median income has been declining and the associated growth of high student debt. This is a national issue and had led paradoxically to some questioning of the value of college at the time when studies show that the economic return associated with a college education is large. Here too, MIT is a leader since the net cost of attending is relatively low and our students leave with relatively low debt. However, we must play our part in helping others to see how to be more cost effective. 

Perhaps these two forces will come together to create, for MIT and other places, a more cost-effective education