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How to Lower College Tuition Cost

October 28, 2019
American Academy of Distance Learning

October 28, 2019

Subject:  Higher Education Reforms

Dear Colleague:

The calls by candidates for President to forgive student loans or provide free college tuition are designed to satisfy two constituencies: 1) the education consumer who can expect to pay dearly for a college degree and 2) college administrators and professors who are supported by high tuition costs backed by federal tuition loans.

So deep are the supports for high tuition costs that few attempts have been made to alter them. Those supports are many and they burrow deep into state authorization agencies, the system of accreditation that gains access to federal loans for students and the three thousand and more colleges and universities in the United States.

What is not appreciated is the role that accreditation “Standards” play in increasing tuition cost. “Regional accreditation” requires that colleges and universities that are regionally accredited offer degree programs from physical campuses. That drives per course tuition to about $900 and $1,000 per course. Since Internet delivered courses do not require a campus, it’s possible to offer the very same courses for much less–about $300 per course.

Some regulatory relief has been instituted by the Trump Administration that may break through the barriers to regional accreditation by Internet based institutions, but it is too soon to know if these changes will bring relief any time soon to hard-strapped education consumers.

If you’d like to learn more, read my critique of Elizabeth Warren’s call for free college:


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