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Fat Man

I am sure that there can be great savings in the use of physical plant. In a previous millennium when I was a student in college, we had classes at 8 a.m. My kids who went to college over the last decade(a Midwestern member of USC's peer group) never had an 8 a.m. class.

A week has 168 hours, you have to be able to use more than 16 of them for classes.

Wallace Boston

I agree that the Western Governors' competency based model will be attractive to some institutions. However, it's my understanding that competency based programs are not eligible for Federal Student Aid unless you were grandfathered with the 2008 Higher Ed reauthorization and evidently, WGU was the only institution grandfathered. Wonder when others will recognize that successful legislative lobbying effort?

Lloyd responds: I checked with an ex- Dept of Ed high-ranking official who said that he knew of no reauthorization exception having been made for WGU. He noted the obvious caveat that federal aid would not be available for courses that people tested out of or for which they got credit for life experiences. However, he said that if a college is accredited, and the student registers and meets the required course criteria of the college, then the student is eligible for aid. He noted that the 6/1/2011 definition of credit hour shifts to a competency-based approach in that a credit hour is now defined a" an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalence that reasonably approximates" the old-time based definition.

This, of course, ignores the reality that in the old-time definition different people had to do vastly different amounts of work in order to pass a course, but it does specify a couple of important points that support competency-based programs: 1) the course should have defined learning outcomes; and 2) evidence that those outcomes have been achieved is required.

On the other hand, to show that the Government is always working on our side, the latest regs on eligibility for student financial aid make it somewhat more complicated: "A school that wishes to award FSA funds in a program using direct assessment must apply to the the Department for approval of the program,using the E-App. The application must specify the equivalent number of credit or clock hours for a direct assessment program (or portion of the program, as applicable). (The clock or credit hours will be used as the
basis for the FSA award calculations described in Volume 3.) As a part of its application, the school must explain how it determined the equivalent number of credit or clock hours for the program." So you have to get approved for this radical approach, but just use E-App.

Roxanne Sylvester

I am thrilled to learn that articles focusing on the increasing cost of higher education will create awareness so something can be done to stabilize tuition cost. Adult learners are forced to choose between education and working to maintain financial obligations

Elliptical reviews

No offense, but if there's a facebook like button, it'll be much easier for me to share.

Lloyd comments: there is a like button at the very end of each post, along with tweet, reblog, etc buttons. Let me know if one doesn't work!

Krista R


Thank you for your comments on my post. Having ongoing judgements to renew faculty appointments rather than tenure would not necessarily be a negative. At times, tenured faculty can become stuck in their own ways. With the rapidly changing times, it will be especially important for faculty to develop and change with their students.

Renee K

The changing face of education for 2020 is something to look forward to. With colleges springing up everywhere, the prediction that there will be fewer college is an interesting prediction. Maybe that is what is needed to ensure the "quality" of the education being received and perhaps to help control the costs at learning institutions?

The ability to transfer larger numbers of credits from institution to insitution and credit for work experience are both a long time in coming. The later, experiential learning can at times far out strip classroom learning.

The best prediction is that on instituting a 12 month academic calendar for higher learning. While some might not agree, professors and students alike, because it increases their workload, it seems perfectly logically. It will allow students to receive their degrees in less time or the same time while more evenly spacing their credit hours. I guess we will all have to wait and see if any of these predictions come to pass.

Krista R

All of these changes within the higher education community seem as is they might point in the direction of significantly decreasing tenure-track positions. This shift has already been happening, according to the article "Contingent Faculty and the New Academic Labor System" by Gwendolyn Bradly (2004), in 2001 44.5 percent of faculty were part time. Bradley compares this to the year 1969, where only 3.3 percent of faculty were appointed off the tenure track. In addition, she state that by the 1990s, online one in four faculty appointments was to full-time, tenure track positions.
It seems that higher education is well on the way toward this
To me, this also coincides with the increased focus on student learning outcomes. If a faculty position is dependent on the learning outcomes, then it follows that tenure may become obsolete.


Bradley, Gwendolyn (2004). Contingent faculty and new academic labour system. Academic, 90(1), 28-31. Retrieved from the education resource complete database.

Lloyd comments: there are many reasons that the percentage of non-tenure track faculty has been increasing over time. Decreasing cost and increasing flexibility are among the important drivers. As focus turns on learning as a key output of higher education (strange that it isn't now, but that doesn't get rankings at present) it will certainly mean that faculty who can't or won't learn how to facilitate learning effectively will have to be replaced - and that does mean that there will have to be ongoing judgments made regarding renewal of faculty appointments. On the other hand, simply switching to a set of part-time non-tenure track faculty will likely lead to very poor learning outcomes. A solution that maximizes learning is likely to require creating a full-time non-tenure teaching track that has reasonable pay and security -perhaps through rolling contracts.

Ebony B

I think it is wonderful that higher education is making some badly needed changes. However, I am not totally convinced that the general public is buying into online learning. Many people still question whether or not it is as good as learning in a traditional setting. As an online student at a large online university, I can honestly say that it is just as difficult. Online learning requires a great deal of independent work. You have got to be able to properly read directions and interact with colleagues via email. Online learning allows me to communicate with people in different places in the world. Now that's true diversity.

Mervelle Sage

It is very scary when we can look forward to stipulate what the future may or may not hold. I do not agree that most colleges in 2020 will be unaccredited because there are so many new types of colleges popping up who are fighting to become accredited. I do agree that role of higher education will change with the times we are moving forward to. The way we educate adults must and will be different because it must match up with the current time and the needs of the community. Beyond fiscal budgets and all the political stuff what matters most is that we continue to create adult educators who can meet the demands of the rapid changing pace of higher education.

Lloyd responds: I agree that accreditation (probably of a different sort from the present) is important, and that it will be sought by new entrants into higher education. My statement about fewer accredited institutions relates to a later statement about the a number of "generic" institutions not being able to survive. I think that a significant fraction of the smaller, generic colleges in the country will disappear or be brought into new systems in the next decade, thus reducing the number of accredited institutions.

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