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四分之一的美国大学将关门大吉

四分之一的美国大学将关门大吉

Lance Lambert 2021年03月10日
整个高等教育领域最终的“大洗牌”正在逐渐逼近。

美国高等教育存在着严重的问题:学费越来越贵,毕业率和就业前景却停滞不前甚至日渐灰暗。整个高等教育领域最终的“大洗牌”正在逐渐逼近。自2010年以来一直执掌教育科技公司Chegg的首席执行官丹·罗森维格就是这一观点的忠实维护者。

Chegg是一家提供数字和实体教科书租赁以及在线辅导等服务的公司。该公司的首席执行官罗森维格表示,新冠疫情的蔓延加速了这一时刻的到来。普林斯顿大学、斯坦福大学等捐赠基金丰厚的高校,尚能够抵抗这场风暴,而规模较小的学院和综合性大学或将难以支撑下去。

情况到底有多糟糕?罗森维格最近对《财富》杂志表示:“我们估计,未来几年有25%的大学可能会走向破产。”

在疫情的影响下,偏远地区及混合型学校的学生人数呈现出急剧下降之势:2020年秋季,美国大学的入学人数下降了约40万人,其中降幅最大的是社区大学,新生入学人数下降了13%。这与经济衰退期间通常发生的情况恰恰相反——失业者为了改善就业前景,会选择入学深造。在2008年至2009年的经济大萧条时期,社区大学的入学人数猛增了250万。

而现在,大学急于吸引学生,纷纷公布了学费减免政策。这也导致了去年大学学费的指数出现了自1978年以来的最大跌幅。

罗森维格认为,对大学来说,疫情造成的财务危机甚至还不是最严重的长期问题。他指出,这些学校未能适应现代学生的需求。大约四分之三的大学生存在至少一种非传统的特性,例如全职工作、拥有子女等。罗森维格表示,这些非传统的学生尤其需要学校提供灵活的课程和线上授课选择。但他补充称,Z世代也希望如此。毕竟在他们成长的时代,Uber打车只需轻点屏幕即可完成。

“在一个让学生们负债累累、有近半可能无法毕业的教育体系中,他们究竟能否受益?况且即便他们成功毕业,他们最终得到的工作收入也不足以偿还贷款。另外,学校所教授的课程还有可能与他们的未来工作毫无关联。整个系统在设计时还没有考虑到学生群体的多样性,比如性别、年龄、社会经济状况等等。更要命的是,学费还越来越贵了。”罗森维格说。

数据印证了他的说法。从2001年到2021年,大学学费上涨了140%,远远超过了通货膨胀的速度。与此同时,只有62%的学生能够在入学后的六年内毕业——这个数字几乎没有变化。

大学应该回到何处?罗森维格认为,大学应该从头开始,制定大众支付得起的项目,充分利用科技,以大规模地支持学生发展,提供对学生工作发展有实际用途的课程。“如果想让高等教育赋予学生就业能力,让他们赚到足够多的钱,成为中产阶级,那么整个体系就需要按照大多数人的需求来设计。”他补充说。

罗森维格表示,Chegg对学生用户的内部调查显示,75%的大学生喜欢混合学习模式,即面对面授课和在线授课相结合的模式,这也是疫情催生的在线学习、混合学习模式不会消失的原因。与电子商务、流媒体等其他领域类似,疫情只是加快了高等教育的数字化转型。对于提供数字学习资源的Chegg来说,这一加速的数字转型给它带来了极大的好处。Chegg的教科书、家庭作业辅导等订阅服务的订阅量在2020年达到了660万这一新高,同比上升了67%。与此同时,2020年的净收入增长了57%,达到2.057亿美元。股东们为此感到高兴:自2020年1月以来,Chegg的股价已经上涨128%,至87.55美元。

其他科技、教育公司也出现了类似的增长。曾任《财富》杂志编辑的丹·普里马克在其Axios通讯报道中称,早教技术公司SV Venture新近筹集了1.8亿美元的第二只基金。“不管学生们何时回到教室,过去的一年已经彻底改变了教育行业。混合型学习模式可能会在新兴国家的农村地区等一些地方成为常态,而在成人学习领域,改进Zoom临时教室的初创公司可能拥有数十亿潜在客户。”普里马克补充道。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

美国高等教育存在着严重的问题:学费越来越贵,毕业率和就业前景却停滞不前甚至日渐灰暗。整个高等教育领域最终的“大洗牌”正在逐渐逼近。自2010年以来一直执掌教育科技公司Chegg的首席执行官丹·罗森维格就是这一观点的忠实维护者。

Chegg是一家提供数字和实体教科书租赁以及在线辅导等服务的公司。该公司的首席执行官罗森维格表示,新冠疫情的蔓延加速了这一时刻的到来。普林斯顿大学、斯坦福大学等捐赠基金丰厚的高校,尚能够抵抗这场风暴,而规模较小的学院和综合性大学或将难以支撑下去。

情况到底有多糟糕?罗森维格最近对《财富》杂志表示:“我们估计,未来几年有25%的大学可能会走向破产。”

在疫情的影响下,偏远地区及混合型学校的学生人数呈现出急剧下降之势:2020年秋季,美国大学的入学人数下降了约40万人,其中降幅最大的是社区大学,新生入学人数下降了13%。这与经济衰退期间通常发生的情况恰恰相反——失业者为了改善就业前景,会选择入学深造。在2008年至2009年的经济大萧条时期,社区大学的入学人数猛增了250万。

而现在,大学急于吸引学生,纷纷公布了学费减免政策。这也导致了去年大学学费的指数出现了自1978年以来的最大跌幅。

罗森维格认为,对大学来说,疫情造成的财务危机甚至还不是最严重的长期问题。他指出,这些学校未能适应现代学生的需求。大约四分之三的大学生存在至少一种非传统的特性,例如全职工作、拥有子女等。罗森维格表示,这些非传统的学生尤其需要学校提供灵活的课程和线上授课选择。但他补充称,Z世代也希望如此。毕竟在他们成长的时代,Uber打车只需轻点屏幕即可完成。

“在一个让学生们负债累累、有近半可能无法毕业的教育体系中,他们究竟能否受益?况且即便他们成功毕业,他们最终得到的工作收入也不足以偿还贷款。另外,学校所教授的课程还有可能与他们的未来工作毫无关联。整个系统在设计时还没有考虑到学生群体的多样性,比如性别、年龄、社会经济状况等等。更要命的是,学费还越来越贵了。”罗森维格说。

数据印证了他的说法。从2001年到2021年,大学学费上涨了140%,远远超过了通货膨胀的速度。与此同时,只有62%的学生能够在入学后的六年内毕业——这个数字几乎没有变化。

大学应该回到何处?罗森维格认为,大学应该从头开始,制定大众支付得起的项目,充分利用科技,以大规模地支持学生发展,提供对学生工作发展有实际用途的课程。“如果想让高等教育赋予学生就业能力,让他们赚到足够多的钱,成为中产阶级,那么整个体系就需要按照大多数人的需求来设计。”他补充说。

罗森维格表示,Chegg对学生用户的内部调查显示,75%的大学生喜欢混合学习模式,即面对面授课和在线授课相结合的模式,这也是疫情催生的在线学习、混合学习模式不会消失的原因。与电子商务、流媒体等其他领域类似,疫情只是加快了高等教育的数字化转型。对于提供数字学习资源的Chegg来说,这一加速的数字转型给它带来了极大的好处。Chegg的教科书、家庭作业辅导等订阅服务的订阅量在2020年达到了660万这一新高,同比上升了67%。与此同时,2020年的净收入增长了57%,达到2.057亿美元。股东们为此感到高兴:自2020年1月以来,Chegg的股价已经上涨128%,至87.55美元。

其他科技、教育公司也出现了类似的增长。曾任《财富》杂志编辑的丹·普里马克在其Axios通讯报道中称,早教技术公司SV Venture新近筹集了1.8亿美元的第二只基金。“不管学生们何时回到教室,过去的一年已经彻底改变了教育行业。混合型学习模式可能会在新兴国家的农村地区等一些地方成为常态,而在成人学习领域,改进Zoom临时教室的初创公司可能拥有数十亿潜在客户。”普里马克补充道。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

There is something deeply wrong with U.S. higher education: Tuition seemingly never stops rising, while outcomes like graduation rates and job prospects are stagnating or worsening. Eventually a reckoning is coming to higher education. Or at least that's the message Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig has been preaching since he took the helm of the education technology company in 2010.

The COVID-19 pandemic, Rosensweig says, has hastened that moment. Schools with the biggest endowments, like Princeton or Stanford, can weather the storm, while smaller colleges and universities might not be able to hang on.

Just how bad is it? Rosensweig, who leads a company that provides services ranging from digital and physical textbook rentals to online tutoring, recently told Fortune, "We estimate 25% of colleges could go out of business in the next few years."

Many institutions that went remote or hybrid as a result of the pandemic have seen precipitous declines in their student bodies: Fall 2020 enrollment at U.S. colleges was down about 400,000, with the sharpest drop occurring at community colleges, where freshman enrollment dropped 13%. That's exactly the opposite of what usually occurs during recessions, with the unemployed enrolling in an attempt to improve their job prospects. In fact, during the Great Recession, enrollment at community colleges jumped 2.5 million.

Schools are so desperate to entice students that many schools are turning to tuition breaks. That's why last year the consumer price index for college tuition saw its biggest price decline since 1978.

But the financial crunch caused by the pandemic isn't even the biggest long-term issue for colleges, Rosensweig says. Instead he points to the fact they aren't adapting to students’ modern needs. Around three in four college students have at least one nontraditional trait, for example: working full-time or having children. These nontraditional students, in particular, need schools to offer flexible classes and online options, Rosensweig says. But Gen Zers want that too, he adds. After all, they grew up at a time when an Uber ride was just a click away.

"Is the student benefiting from a system where they run up debt and has an almost 1 in 2 chance they’re not going to graduate? That even if they do, they end up in a job that's not paying them what they need to make to pay back their loan. And they [schools] have curriculums that have nothing to do with the careers [students] are likely to enter. The whole system wasn’t designed to work at scale with a diverse student base: diversity in terms of gender, age, socioeconomic, and in many ways race…and prices keep going up," Rosensweig said.

The numbers show Rosensweig has a point. Between 2001 to 2021, tuition rose over 140%, which far outpaced inflation. At the same time, only 62% of students graduated within six years of enrolling—a figure that has barely moved.

Where should colleges start? Rosensweig says they need to go back to the drawing board and build programs that are affordable, utilize technology, support students at scale, and provide curriculums that better prepare students for the modern workforce. He added, "If you want [higher education] to empower students to be employable and earn enough to be middle class, then the whole system needs to be designed to do that for the majority of people."

Rosensweig says Chegg's internal surveys of its student users show that 75% of college students favor a hybrid model (that is, a mix of in-person and online learning). That's why the adoption of online and hybrid learning that the pandemic spurred won't go away, he says. Similar to other areas in our lives, including e-commerce and video streaming, the pandemic has only sped up the digital transformation of higher education. That accelerated digital transformation has immensely benefited Chegg, which provides digital resources to students. Its subscription service, which includes access to textbooks and homework help, saw its subscription base hit a record of 6.6 million in 2020. That was a 67% year-over-year uptick. At the same time, net revenue increased by 57% to $205.7 million in 2020. That has made Chegg shareholders happy: Since January 2020, its share price has climbed 128% to $87.55.

Other tech/education players are seeing similar gains. SV Ventures is an early-stage education technology firm that just raised $180 million in its second fund, according to Dan Primack's Axios newsletter. Primack, a former Fortune editor, added, "The past year has permanently changed education, regardless of when all students return to the classroom. Some form of ‘hybrid’ learning could become the norm in certain places (e.g., rural areas of emerging countries) and among certain cohorts (e.g., adult learning), meaning there could be billions of potential customers for startups that improve on makeshift Zoom classrooms."

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