The Online Ed Bubble: The Next Big Bust?

The Online Ed Bubble: The Next Big Bust?

John Tamny, Forbes economics and political writer, has written a column on the next economic “bubble” ready to pop. It’s not another housing implosion or a tech stock meltdown; nor is it another dot-com bust—not quite. Tamny says that there’s a growing dot-edu bubble, and, unlike the rising tuition figures associated with traditional, on-campus education, it’s on its way to bursting.

There isn’t [a bubble forming in the university world] not because Yale and Stanford students learn anything of real world value, but because each school is a door opener. Attendance at either university properly signals to employers that the graduate (or dropout for that matter) is smart, probably hard working for having been accepted, and in possession of one or both of the attributes, that the individual can likely learn the skills necessary to achieve on the job.

Online education would bring with it real economic value if employers actually cared about the knowledge gained on campus. The problem is that they don’t. Education has little value no matter the school.

Tamny’s point centers around what online and traditional schools represent: not just the education, but the achievement required to gain acceptance—and the status they impart, by way of their names, reputations and the backdrop they provide for long-lasting personal and professional connections:

College tuition is the price paid by parents and ambitious teens to slot them for future employment.

Aspire touched on some of these issues not long ago, in a post discussing Jeff Salingo’s take on the rising costs associated with enticing students to on-campus institutions—and the hikes in tuition rates that go hand in hand with these new spending tactics.

What do you think? Does traditional college have the edge in terms of credibility and real-world prestige? Or is online education getting a bad rep?

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