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What's Wrong with American Higher Education? 

Executive Summary

In the traditional system, a bachelor’s degree requires about 4 years to complete, a master’s degree about a year, and a PhD, two to three years. These degrees take too long and cost too much. Why should these degrees take so long to complete and why are they so expensive?

One problem is that professors teach only 5 hours per week on average. What kind of system is that? Professors, while being paid to teach, spend their time writing books and engaging in private business activities that benefit them, but do not benefit students or the university!

The typical 3-credit hour college course requires about 40 classroom hours spread out over a 12 to 15- week semester. Meeting 3 times per week for 12 weeks is 36 classroom hours or for a 15-week semester, 45 classroom hours. Let’s say, 40 hours per course. Forty classroom hours would fit nicely into a 40-hour work week. So, 1 course equals 1 week.

What if we changed the system so that the classroom hours for a course were offered in a single, 40-hour work week?

Well, it would be amazing! A bachelor’s degree would only take 10 months, a master’s degree only a month and a half, and a PhD in 5 to 7 ½ months.

Bachelor’s Degree – 10 Months

A typical bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours or 40 courses. If these courses were offered as a typical work week, a student could complete a bachelor’s degree in 40 weeks or 10 months.

Master’s Degree – 2 ½ Months

A typical master’s degree requires 30 credit hours or 10 courses. 10 courses equal 10 weeks or 2 ½ months.

PhD Degree – 5 to 7 ½ Months

A typical PhD degree requires either 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree or 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. This is either 20 courses or 30 courses. Twenty courses equal twenty weeks or 5 months. Thirty courses equal thirty weeks or 7 ½ months.

Law students spend 3 years in law school. Why does it take so long? Most law professors say that a student learns enough in the FIRST SEMESTER of law school to go into practice! Who benefits from the fact that law students are required to spend 3 years to earn a law degree? Let me give you a clue. It’s not students or the public! Law school should take only 7 ½ months, not 3 years!

Why Don’t Traditional Colleges and Universities Offer Degrees that can be completed in less than a year?

The big answer is that those who operate the system benefit from the way it currently is. The average professor teaches only 5 hours per week. The next problem is that students waste a lot of time on sports and social activities like sorority and fraternity functions. Most students just want an education and don’t care about extracurricular activities. College sports have distorted the purpose of higher education. There’s something wrong with a system of education where the football and basketball coaches are paid millions of dollars a year!

Another problem with the current system is that the existence of state and federal student loan programs distorts the marketplace and incentivizes colleges and universities to increase tuition. When students can borrow tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance an overpriced education that is worth less and less in the real world, they put themselves in debt slavery to the federal government. The very existence of these loan programs, now amounting to more than 1.5 trillion dollars, enables universities to increase tuition at rates far exceeding the consumer price index.

Were these loan programs eliminated, universities would lose 75% or more of their students at current tuition levels. They would then be forced to reduce tuition to affordable levels.

Let’s Stop the Insanity Now

1. Traditional American higher education is a grotesque, bloated bureaucracy that serves itself rather than students or society and has been taken over by tyrannical leftists.

2. Federal student loan programs should be eliminated.

3. Courses should be offered as a 40-hour work week.

4. Online education is here to stay. Why should students attend live lectures when such lectures can be recorded once by a professor and then watched online by students?

5. With the advent of online learning, expensive campus buildings and stadiums are completely unnecessary and a huge waste of money.

6. With online learning, why is it necessary for students to live on campus in expensive dormitories when all they need is a computer? Campus housing is a complete waste of taxpayer and student money.

7. Professors should be required to teach 40 hours per week.

8. Tenure should be eliminated.

9. State and federal governments should stop giving money to colleges and universities.

10. Extracurricular activities, fraternity and sorority organizations, and sports should be eliminated from college campuses. These organizations can operate independently without subsidy from students or taxpayers.

11. Let normal market forces regulate the higher education market.

12. The result will be lower cost, better service, better education, and a better society.

The Traditional System

The traditional accrediting bodies, state governments, and the federal government ensure that higher education is a bloated bureaucracy more interested in self-preservation than operating efficiently and in the best interest of students.

Traditional educators operate education like they operate everything else: leisurely. It's not their money; it's taxpayer's money; and they are not accountable to anyone for how they spend it. Our elected representatives fund the current system.

The current system has evolved for the convenience of government, employees of the traditional system, including tenured professors, and others who feed off it for their own benefit. Ironically, educating students is not the priority.

This system is vastly overpriced. The existence of federal student loan money keeps it operating to the detriment of students and society. It's time for a change!

Higher education needs to operate in a competitive environment and taken out of the hands of government, the accrediting bodies who have U. S. Department Education approval for student loan programs, and employees of the current system.

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