Current Challenges Confronting U.S. Higher Education
Good morning, everyone. In our last lecture, we discussed challenges that face universities and colleges worldwide.
Today we'll take a special look at U.S. higher education and see what challenges U.S. higher education is facing.
OK, let's get started.
The first challenge we are examining in today's lecture is the force of the marketplace on higher education.
Many people believe that the marketplace has overtaken state government as the dominant external force shaping and reshaping American higher education, even for public colleges and universities.
You may ask, why is it so?
Well, as is always the case, government support is not keeping pace with educational expenditures.
So in many ways, the market is having more bearing on higher education than government.
In order to create more flexibility, many public colleges and universities are now asking for less government regulation and supervision.
In some instances, they are even asking for less state money in return for more autonomy.
And their argument is that the current structures and accountability requirements have hindered their capacity to be effective and efficient.
The ability to set their own tuition fees and secure freedom from state policies and regulations in areas such as purchasing and building represent just some of the additional autonomy that public institutions are seeking.
And many are pressing for new legislation to provide this freedom through a range of innovations, including public corporations, charter colleges, state enterprise status, and performance contracts.
So what is the result of these efforts?
Well, the result is that activities and research in certain fields and disciplines, for example, engineering, applied natural science, and agricultural science, become higher institutional priorities because they have stronger market value than other programs such as humanities do.
So what has happened is that institutions create new programs, alter academic calendars, and pursue different financial aid policies to capture more and better students—in particular those who can afford to pay high tuition.
For instance, executive MBA programs are increasingly popular.
Also, institutions seek contracts and partnership agreements, and enhance research programs with practical applications that have large financial payouts.
In order to do so, they are changing their institutional structures.