Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Can we define possibly what would define making the cost of college "too high"? Is it a percentage of what one currently makes? Ability to pay off a loan for it in X period of time? Is it defined by accessibility by those from a certain financial upbringing? Or is this one of those things where we'll know it's too high when we see it?

In previous discussions, we've talked about the relationship between college costs per year, and the number of hours it would take to work at a minimum-wage job in order to pay that. So in the 60s, a student could work at a minumum-wage job throughout the summer, and earn enough money to pay for the entire years' worth of college. That seems like a pretty good situation, because it allows for the student to be a full-time student and get the most value from their education. It allows them to be nearly self-sufficient (because we haven't yet added in living costs, transportation, etc), and capable students of nearly any SES can access it.

So If I have an ideal target, that's it.

Side benefit is we end up with a closer alignment to a true meritocracy, rather than the thing we have now.

Anything that moves us away from "students not eating" towards this goal is at least an improvement.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad

I've been discussing with my wife the last couple of months that I believe colleges, especially in the U.S. will be forced to go though a major transformation, I could say the same thing for K-12 public schooling but I think even more so for colleges. Teachers / Professors and libraries are no longer the key holders to knowledge and learning. That fact is showing itself to be more and more substantial. With that in mind, schools of all levels need to change how they teach, their physical properties, and the certifications they offer.

You'd probably be interested in this: The Future of College Looks Like The Future Of Retail.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Along those same lines, I think society is going to become more and more aware of ROI as it relates to colleges. I can see a not so distant future where there are colleges that pare back the fluff that so many colleges both private and public offer and return much more closely to purely academic institutions and not a "college experience"

The problem of commoditizing an education is that you can't always tell what's going to be fruitful and what isn't. A good example is scientific research, because while the economic multiplier effect of public investing in this area is outstanding, it's impossible to guess ahead of time which strands will be productive and which will not. Good example, we spent a ton of money to prove that gravity waves are a thing. Great! How can we monetize that? No idea. If that turns out to be an important step towards inter-stellar travel, it's not likely we'll ever see it.

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
One of the conversations I have with my wife as we enter out late 50's is what becomes the "New Normal" for us as we age. It's not reasonable for us to expect our bodies to respond the same way as they did 15 years ago for instance, things change, things evolve. In the same way I think it's important for us to ask ourselves if college is simply evolving and while we can look to ways to make it more affordable, we need to accept to a certain degree the "New Normal" of college as it's evolved.

Of course, bodies will decay over time, but we have methods we can use to "rage against the dying of the light," and extend both the quality and quantity of our lives through direct intervention, or we can just lie helpless and speed the process along.

Social institutions are subject to the same processes, except that they don't have to die. We got to where we are in secondary education because of choices people made, and we can make other choices to change it again.