The cost of a university education is perhaps one of the largest issues facing the sector today. According to some experts the rising cost of tuition is exacerbated by the lack of well-paying jobs available to them. Even though a tertiary education is often seen as the key factor in securing a successful, profitable career, the cost of earning a degree is becoming more difficult for many. During the recession which followed the global financial crisis the cost of a college education in the USA rose exponentially. Government decisions surrounding funding and privatization in other countries, such as the UK and Australia, have also resulted in an increase in tuition costs. The result has been a drastic rise in the price of a degree, and if the cost of higher education continues to rise it will eventually lock out students from low income and working-class families.
Following on from rising costs is the prevalence of bachelor’s degree qualifications. Over the last two decades the idea that higher education = success has been driven in to students from the moment they enter high-school, leading many to believe that not holding a degree is synonymous with being a ‘failure’ Uncapping university places has caused a glut of graduates and driven a view that not holding a degree is a “failure”. The result has been a significant oversupply of graduates which ash decreased the value of a bachelor’s degree. It’s not uncommon to hear that your barista completed their honours in law, engineers working retail jobs or even communication majors flipping burgers at McDonalds. In many ways a degree has replaced the high school diploma as the basic requirement for employment, locking those without degrees out of entry-level jobs and pushing some students to look towards pursing postgraduate options to increase their chances of employment.
Today’s students are less inclined to support the old-fashioned model of education. As a result, teaching methods are shifting from the traditional lectures and passive audience participation. Students are become more interested in interactive and self-guided approached to their studies, and with the rise of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), universities now have to compete with the wealth of free instruction and information provided online. As a result, many universities and colleges are scrambling to restructure their learning methods from outmoded models to more interactive and collaborative options.
The rise of essay mills and paper help services have become a major concern for Universities in the past few years. [The global financial crisis served as the launchpad for the business, and it has been booming ever since. With many students coming to view a degree as another commodity, it’s hardly surprising to learn those with the means are turning to the free market to get help with assignments, coursework and essays. Finding a way to deal with academic plagiarism and actively engaging students in their education will become a top priority for higher education this year.
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