How college loans exploit students for profit

 

“Once upon a time in America,” says professor Sajay Samuel, “going to college did not mean graduating with debt.” Today, higher education has become a consumer product — costs have skyrocketed, saddling students with a combined debt of over $1 trillion, while universities and loan companies make massive profits. Samuel proposes a radical solution: link tuition costs to a degree’s expected earnings, so that students can make informed decisions about their future, restore their love of learning and contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

I’ve always believed that Universities are the biggest most profitable “business” in the US and other countries – have had big discussions about this with colleagues. This presentation confirms my point. I agree with Sajay Samuel that somehow the business model has to change and those accountable need to transform themselves to place the student at the center. PUNTO.

 

Measuring University-Business Cooperation

Screenshot 2014-07-08 17.28.17The OECD has released this interesting report (which can be downloaded for free) “presents two, linked, approaches that can be used to assess university-business cooperation in the field of education: a scorecard and an assessment framework that can be used for project planning and the assessment of investment proposals. Both can be used for assessing the progress of projects, from different perspectives, and both can be used for assessing the success of cooperation projects.”

I am happy to say that I helped develop Figure 1.2 on page 10 while I was at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez with Wayne Johnson, who at the time was director of university relations at Microsoft. We later refined it while working at HP Labs and it appears to have viraled around HP!

Talent Challenge in the Data Analytics Revolution

Eight senior executives with big data responsibilities (AIG, American Express, Samsung Mobile, Siemens Healthcare, TD Bank, and Wal-Mart Stores) met to discuss big data challenges at their companies. This McKinsey Report outlines their findings: one of them is talent. Couple of highlights in this respect:

        “A widespread observation among participants was that the usual sources of talent—elite universities and MBA programs—are falling short. Few are developing the courses needed to turn out people with these combinations of skills”. 

        “They need more “translators”—people whose talents bridge the disciplines of IT and data, analytics, and business decision making. These translators can drive the design and execution of the overall data-analytics strategy while linking IT, analytics, and business-unit teams. Without such employees, the impact of new data strategies, tools, and methodologies, no matter how advanced, is disappointing”.

Our upcoming NEU Master in Engineering in Big Data (focused on developing these competencies) will certainly help provide them with these professionals!

Quality of College Grads Questionable (again)

Only 11% of business leaders “strongly agree” that today’s graduates have the competencies needed, compared to 96% of colleges/universities chief academic officers stating they are “extremely or somewhat confident” in their institution’s ability to prepare students for the work force, according to this CHE article that reflects on a Gallup/Lumina survey. What will it take for universities to listen and change to better serve society?