The cost of attending a college or university is increasing at a pretty rapid rate in the United States. Many schools are scrambling for ways to increase enrollment and decrease costs in order to stay affordable and competitive, especially during the current economic downturn. In 2009-2010, the average cost to attend a four-year public university for was about $14,870 (up 57.5% from 1980-81), while the average cost of a four-year private university was around $32,475 (up 57.3% from 1980-81) (both calcuations done using constant 2008-09 dollars; Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). With more high school students wanting to attend a place of higher education, not to mention the number of job paths now requiring an undergraduate degree, it is time for colleges to get creative to keep costs low. The schools that keep tuition costs low are more likely to meet and exceed enrollment goals.
In addition, college students are looking for opportunities to get involved both in their communities, but also at their school. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, college students are beginning to realize that the more ways that can get involved and gain experience, the more they set themselves apart when applying for internships or jobs after graduating. However, many students have a difficult time finding relevant internships during the summer or don’t get to apply their “classroom knowledge” in real-world situations regularly.
One idea I have to solve this problem: Integrated Colleges. By ‘Integrated College’ I mean “any college or university that uses current students to accomplish daily organizational tasks in return for lower tuition and real-world experience.” This idea is similar to the “work study” model that pays students to do on-campus jobs like grounds, lab monitor, etc, but the Integrated College concept takes it one step further. Read more of this post