Cuts in state budgets, along with a growing number of students, have forced universities across the country to increase tuition. Like many others tech leaders, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates believes technology is the only answer.
After all, what are we trying to do? We’re trying to take education that today the tuition is, say, $50,000 a year. So over four years — a $200,000 education — that is increasingly hard to get because there’s less money for it, because it’s not there. And we’re trying to provide it to every kid who wants it. And only technology can bring that down, not just to $20,000 but to $2,000. So yes, place-based activity in that college thing will be five times less important than it is today.
Read the full article from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Moving away from place-based learning would be a drastic change in higher education, but that’s already occurring, to some extent. More than 12 million students take at least one class online. Online classes require quite a bit of technology, and as technology improves, classes will become more accessible and provide a better learning experience to students. How else can technology help reduce the cost of college tuition?
- Digital textbooks: On average, a college student spends $1,300 on textbooks each year. To help reduce that cost, schools should allow — or better yet, encourage — students to use digital versions of textbooks.
- Virtual learning: Not all classes require students to be in a classroom. Many colleges already offer online courses, but their impact on a school’s bottom line cannot be understated.
- Move to the cloud: Consolidating data centers and moving services such as e-mail and calendars to the cloud are great ways to reduce the cost of IT services and hardware.
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