I’m going to get into some tech this week but I saw this story and it confirms one of my predictions.
From my predictions post this year:
3. I think we will see a few universities start to have public financial troubles because of lower enrollments. If the stock market crashes I think we will see a lot of them having troubles.
And here we go:
Dozens of schools have seen drops of more than 10 percent in enrollment, according to Moody’s. As faculty and staff have been cut and programs closed, some students have faced a choice between transferring or finishing degrees that may have diminished value.
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has predicted that as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years. The growing acceptance of online learning means higher education is ripe for technological upheaval, he has said. “I’m not sure a lot of these institutions have the cushion to experiment with how to stay afloat,” said Michelle Weise, a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a think tank the Harvard professor helped establish in San Mateo, California.
What is going to happen here is some schools will be able to trim their fat and become more efficient. However, most won’t want to do without their Assistant Associate Dean Provost Of Diversity and Culture and will delete classes and teachers. That simply makes the school more administratively top heavy. It’s a death spiral.
Now keep in mind why this matters. Radical change never happens when things are ok. It is always born out of strife and massive disruption. In the previous 20 years universities have gotten fat on government loans and as long as students kept getting jobs, nobody really questioned the return on investment. Now they are and the trend is being accelerated at Internet speeds. Can universities change at Internet speeds too? Actually that’s the wrong question because it assumes schools actually know what is happening and know what to do about it. Most are so immersed in traditional thinking they will never see it coming. This is what Schumpeter termed Creative Destruction.
We are witnessing in realtime the transformation of society at a rate never before seen. Nobody is exempt. You can’t run and hide from the Stormfront of change.