| March 19, 2012

Is Higher Ed hampering economic growth?

Some business leaders say it is.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “the rising cost of higher education, its indifferent quality, its resistance to change, and its lack of accountability are endangering the nation’s prospects for future economic growth, according to a report on the views of business executives that was released today by Public Agenda and the Committee for Economic Development.”

The report, which draws on focus groups last year with 27 executives in Ohio and Texas, and on telephone interviews with 12 others, echoes the concerns that business leaders have expressed in two other recent reports that cover similar terrain: one based on a survey of 500 business leaders released in January and one based on a survey of more than 1,000 employers released in September. In the new report, “Hiring and Higher Education,” the business leaders say colleges’ inability to control their costs, lack of adaptability, and meager accountability have resulted in a dearth of qualified workers for the jobs the leaders need to fill.

Jeff Sandefer, an entrepreneur who formerly taught at the University of Oklahoma, has written extensively about these problems. He believes change is coming to Higher Ed:

There’s a word for business models that have high and increasing fixed costs, and are faced by disruptive strategies that offer better results at a lower price. That word is “doomed.”

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