How to Make $60k Tuition Work

How to Make $60k Tuition Work

Another great flag from Robert Gibson: father of a George Washington University student is suing (and creating a class action lawsuit) over breech of contract for his daughter’s $30,000 semester.

See: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robgibson1_opinion-by-going-online-only-george-washington-activity-6668223105351110656-fz0v

Slightly embarrassing admission: I found myself (passive voice!) watching the 3rd Indiana Jones film on Netflix…the one with Sean Connery.

Funny scene after Indy finishes a lecture and makes his way back to his university office. Hundreds of students are waiting for him…implication that he’s some sort of Beatle with an adoring female fan club. The film is crazy dated…

Anyway, an assistant (!) chastises him over a mound of ungraded papers as he pushes through to his office and closes the door to the screaming horde behind him.

He sits at his desk, surrounded by an impressive looking idea of an archaeologist’s work room (artifacts, dust), reflects for a moment, then climbs out the window like Major Major in Catch-22.

The rascally Indy strikes again, heading off for REAL adventure vs. teaching vacuous undergrads…

What if universities made good on the pledge to have students “engage one-on-one with renowned faculty”? If we were all in this together might not faculty rearrange their priorities to dramatically increased amounts of quality 1on1 time with students? Might that not be worth full tuition?

GW has 12,546 UGs and 1,332 FT faculty…so 10 students/faculty member. Math is not intimidating – each faculty member could spend an hour a week – 2 hours a week – mentoring, coaching, providing feedback on work, talking through their life lessons. Keep it going through the summer – no extra tuition $$$ required.

The result?

  • Empty feeling of Zoom-edu defeated through personal connection (yes, conducted over Zoom or maybe just old-school phone calls.
  • Deeper connection to the university created; young people connected to older generations – something many lack in our modern lives with grandparents often living hundreds of miles away.
  • Plausible explanation for why tuition is remaining high! WGU can’t offer deep, one-on-one connections to recognized experts in their field.

When the pizza joint on the corner screws up your order they give you cheese fries as way to keep you happy and loyal. It works.

Silly examples of course. Real human connection doesn’t cause obesity or high cholesterol. It creates huge value. The most serious question: would faculty go for it, if it meant saving their institution? Or would they jump out the metaphorical window and run for their research passions and let the lawsuits roll?

US Higher Education’s Billion-Dollar Liability

US Higher Education’s Billion-Dollar Liability

I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV. I’m a literal-minded engineer who loves education when it focuses on learning. When I read about the OIG’s $713M judgement against Western Governors University, based largely on a lack of “regular and substantive...

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A Simple Metric to Align Higher Education with the Workplace

A Simple Metric to Align Higher Education with the Workplace

It is now widely accepted that the job of college is to get you a job. While schools are talking an employability game they have done little to change their underlying processes and programs. This is not a criticism. The conservative nature of universities is one of...

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Welcome to the personal blog of Andrew J. McCann - a history of interests and thinking focused on education, product design, and leadership. All views here my own!

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