Challenging Colleges to Cut Costs Through Technology
If you’re a parent, you might want to sit down. Some financial advisors predict a four-year college education that begins in 2015 will cost about $120,000. And that’s for public school. The private price tag runs closer to $230,000.
You can exhale now. Thankfully, the federal government has taken note of the ever-heavier burden families bear to cover college tuition. In his January 24 State of the Union address, President Obama challenged higher education institutions to find innovative ways to cut costs and acknowledged universities that have optimized their technology in an effort to lower student expenses. His praises echoed those delivered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the November 2011 Financial Student Aid conference.
So exactly how can schools use technology to help lower expenses? Well, with telepresence alone they can do the following:
- Develop faculty – Telepresence technology can link educators to a vast array of professional development courses and experts across the world. They need not incur hefty travel expenses; telepresence provides a live, high-definition, in-person connection to offices, classrooms, and conference rooms anywhere.
- Engage students one-on-one – Student-teacher relationships can define one’s college experience. With telepresence, professors and students can benefit from face-to-face access outside the classroom, beyond the limited office hours professors schedule. Telepresence can go mobile—faculty/student contact can take place easily, from anywhere, any time it’s convenient for both parties, and the universities can perhaps repurpose some physical space.
- Enhance curricula – Higher education establishments can (and are starting to) enrich courses by forging global connections. Universities could look to further use telepresence to promote data sharing, visual presentation, and project collaboration, all tools students or faculty can use in-call, saving travel expenses and opening doors to participation in cutting-edge research, interesting debate, or innovative development hosted anywhere.
On the Hill, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training continues to evaluate ways colleges can reduce costs. Can you think of other contributions technology—especially telepresence—can make? Let us know today!