Streamline Higher Education Costs

When we think about responsible careers in education, we may think of teaching opportunities, fellowships, and volunteer opportunities. We think of career paths that enable us to empower the next generation of leaders. Teaching is tough work, and what keeps educators going is the motivation to do good work. For this reason, the field of education relies on people. Colleges, elementary schools, and even preschools need strong personalities and managers who can keep each day running smoothly. To the best extent possible, we-- as a society-- want to give our students the opportunity to be their best.

Is it working? For some, yes. For others, no. It's an unfortunate reality that some students fall through the cracks. Even the brightest students may stop short of their potential without the right support network. Take higher education, for instance. One of the biggest cracks in that field is money. While it's true that there are scholarships available for the best and brightest, it's not true that all of the best and brightest will be lucky enough to receive funding. The reality is that colleges are businesses that establish quota-based communities. When colleges have their own obligations to create diverse campuses-- economically, socially, and culturally, it's not always "smarts" that put students ahead. Some applicants just don't have the "right" combination of qualities. They may get in, but high-demand scholarship money may be unavailable or go elsewhere. How in the world can an 18-year old-- or even a middle class family-- afford the $100,000 price tag for a bachelor's degree?

Even Cornell University President David J. Skorton points out that some families have been priced out of higher education. Especially during these tough economic times, many students have needed to choose "less desirable" options for school. Imagine that you're highly intelligent and hard-working and that your only obstacle is money. Imagine how frustrated you would feel.

David J. Skorton acknowledges that college's heavy price tag--in part-- comes from the industry's reliance on human capital. Schools need high-quality educators and administrators to function. Without a doubt, the solution to this higher education mess should not come from slashing paychecks or staff.

At the same time, it is important to think of colleges and schools in terms of business-- a mentality that should be adopted that every organizational level. In his Huffington Post article, Skorton encourages institutions of higher education to find ways to run more efficiently. Possible steps include reassessing administrative costs, faculty accountability, and educational diversification-- all big-picture objectives. At the same time, it's important to think about what we do on an individual level. Students, for instance, can choose not to buy expensive meal plans or to live in on-campus housing. Instead of paying high premiums, shop for cheaper options if you have that option. At the same time, school employees should also think in terms of efficiency at the individual level, making responsible career decisions that ultimately keep students' best-interests in mind.

Streamline higher education costs through responsible career decisions. Think before you spend, and assess your decision's potential impact at the big-picture level.

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