Today’s edition of The Irascible Professor provides a sobering overview of how the economic downturn impacts colleges and universities — and especially the students who want to attend them. It recommends overhauling the financial aid system, which is probably a very good idea.
There’s a degree to which the “downturn” will be more of a “shake-out” — or simply a “shake-up” — and I suspect we shall see some radical changes in how college education is conceived. I’m still processing these issues and the issues are legion. My thoughts keep turning back to questions I’ve always had, like: Will the liberal arts suffer if even more emphasis is put on the relationship between college studies and the outcome of work? Or will the inverse occur, where having a solid foundation in general education benefit workers across the board? How will this massive change in student’s relation to the workforce transform the paradigm of higher ed? I suppose everyone has these sorts of questions, but the classroom is where we will see it play out in a very concrete way over the next few years — so long as students continue to fill seats.