The State of Higher Education

I am less optimistic that I will have a job in 20 years than I would like to be. I have spoken to other people who share my concerns.

I have been trying to learn more about it. I read Why Does College Cost So Much a couple of years ago, which introduced me to the idea of cost disease. We cost a lot because we are labor-intensive by necessity (at this point, anyway, although I do not think that we will ever be able to mechanize learning).

A colleague also sent me Nathan Grawe’s Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, which didn’t make me feel any better except for one thing: more parents have college educations now, so their kids may be more likely to attend college.

Basically, I am pretty sure that a lot of colleges are going to go under once the number of high school graduates starts decreasing in 2025. This, combined with the fact that college is getting more expensive, means that a lot fewer people will go to college. Thus, we will not be able to support so many colleges, I think. I am not sure if my college will make it or not, so I am thinking about Plans B, C, and D (I am considering becoming a data scientist, Montessori teacher, or working for the NSA).

Of course, I love my job, so I am going to go down with the ship. But I am also thinking ahead.

4 Responses to “The State of Higher Education”

  1. Min Ro Says:

    Quite depressing, but important to think about. Any thoughts about what comes next? I can’t imagine what I’d do without an academic job.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      My top choice would be the NSA. It sounds like it is good work. However, I don’t think that I want to relocate, so I think that data science is likely what I would do (I would love to be an elementary school Montessori teacher, but that wouldn’t pay well enough).

  2. MathFest Post-Mortem | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] being part of that community. However, regular readers of this blog know that I am concerned about colleges having enough money to survive (although I have some good news—for me, anyway—that I will write about later). MathFest […]

  3. Good news for me, bad news for many others | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] of you know that I am concerned about my job status due to the economics of higher education. The bad news for everyone else is that the median […]

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