A Perfect Storm Is Heading Toward Higher Education


Colleges are facing a perfect storm that could shutter hundreds of them and leave many more wondering how to survive. Yet much of higher education’s leadership is in denial that anything is amiss.

The College Board just concluded its annual Higher Ed Colloquium of college presidents, admissions deans, and financial aid directors. I was invited to address the group about whether there is an irreconcilable gap between college costs and the stressed middle class. There is. And my message was about as popular as a hurricane forecast.

The perfect storm will be the culmination of soaring tuitions, technological disruption, and parent dissatisfaction.

Out-of-control tuition increases have been the stuff of parents’ nightmares and media headlines for years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs it at a 1200% increase since 1978, far higher than health care’s 634% rise, or the Consumer Price Index’s 279% increase over the same period.

Most middle…

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