University of Michigan Professor Mark Perry points out that a degree in economics from the London School of Economics (LSE) can be had in three years and for $5,000. Distance learning, that is. Then he asks:
Why go to Harvard or Yale, where just one college class costs about $3,500, or almost as much as the entire BS degree from LSE? Is this the college degree of the future?
I do think this will be a common option for the college degree of the future, driven primarily by cost issues. If the LSE online program were to impose admission standards as stringent as those of its traditional campus cousin, it would probably elevate it to a higher prestige level. We may soon see online university programs with selective admissions standards develop into an elite class of schools that attract top scholars.
From the comments:
…much of what you learn in college does not come from class. one of the benefits of being at a world class university is the exposure to the other students and to the faculty. much of the most interesting stuff i learned in college came from doing projects with faculty outside of the curriculum.
This is a valid point, and I’m sure I could come up with many more reasons to go with the tried and true certification methods instead of the online option. However, ten years from now I may finder far fewer reasons. Sometimes I wish my children were much younger and not going through the college process now. Higher education may become much more affordable for our grandchildren. At least we can hope.