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四分之一的美國大學將關門大吉

四分之一的美國大學將關門大吉

Lance Lambert 2021年03月10日
整個高等教育領域最終的“大洗牌”正在逐漸逼近。

美國高等教育存在著嚴重的問題:學費越來越貴,畢業率和就業前景卻停滯不前甚至日漸灰暗。整個高等教育領域最終的“大洗牌”正在逐漸逼近。自2010年以來一直執掌教育科技公司Chegg的首席執行官丹·羅森維格就是這一觀點的忠實維護者。

Chegg是一家提供數字和實體教科書租賃以及在線輔導等服務的公司。該公司的首席執行官羅森維格表示,新冠疫情的蔓延加速了這一時刻的到來。普林斯頓大學、斯坦福大學等捐贈基金豐厚的高校,尚能夠抵抗這場風暴,而規模較小的學院和綜合性大學或將難以支撐下去。

情況到底有多糟糕?羅森維格最近對《財富》雜志表示:“我們估計,未來幾年有25%的大學可能會走向破產?!?/p>

在疫情的影響下,偏遠地區及混合型學校的學生人數呈現出急劇下降之勢:2020年秋季,美國大學的入學人數下降了約40萬人,其中降幅最大的是社區大學,新生入學人數下降了13%。這與經濟衰退期間通常發生的情況恰恰相反——失業者為了改善就業前景,會選擇入學深造。在2008年至2009年的經濟大蕭條時期,社區大學的入學人數猛增了250萬。

而現在,大學急于吸引學生,紛紛公布了學費減免政策。這也導致了去年大學學費的指數出現了自1978年以來的最大跌幅。

羅森維格認為,對大學來說,疫情造成的財務危機甚至還不是最嚴重的長期問題。他指出,這些學校未能適應現代學生的需求。大約四分之三的大學生存在至少一種非傳統的特性,例如全職工作、擁有子女等。羅森維格表示,這些非傳統的學生尤其需要學校提供靈活的課程和線上授課選擇。但他補充稱,Z世代也希望如此。畢竟在他們成長的時代,Uber打車只需輕點屏幕即可完成。

“在一個讓學生們負債累累、有近半可能無法畢業的教育體系中,他們究竟能否受益?況且即便他們成功畢業,他們最終得到的工作收入也不足以償還貸款。另外,學校所教授的課程還有可能與他們的未來工作毫無關聯。整個系統在設計時還沒有考慮到學生群體的多樣性,比如性別、年齡、社會經濟狀況等等。更要命的是,學費還越來越貴了?!绷_森維格說。

數據印證了他的說法。從2001年到2021年,大學學費上漲了140%,遠遠超過了通貨膨脹的速度。與此同時,只有62%的學生能夠在入學后的六年內畢業——這個數字幾乎沒有變化。

大學應該回到何處?羅森維格認為,大學應該從頭開始,制定大眾支付得起的項目,充分利用科技,以大規模地支持學生發展,提供對學生工作發展有實際用途的課程?!叭绻胱尭叩冉逃x予學生就業能力,讓他們賺到足夠多的錢,成為中產階級,那么整個體系就需要按照大多數人的需求來設計?!彼a充說。

羅森維格表示,Chegg對學生用戶的內部調查顯示,75%的大學生喜歡混合學習模式,即面對面授課和在線授課相結合的模式,這也是疫情催生的在線學習、混合學習模式不會消失的原因。與電子商務、流媒體等其他領域類似,疫情只是加快了高等教育的數字化轉型。對于提供數字學習資源的Chegg來說,這一加速的數字轉型給它帶來了極大的好處。Chegg的教科書、家庭作業輔導等訂閱服務的訂閱量在2020年達到了660萬這一新高,同比上升了67%。與此同時,2020年的凈收入增長了57%,達到2.057億美元。股東們為此感到高興:自2020年1月以來,Chegg的股價已經上漲128%,至87.55美元。

其他科技、教育公司也出現了類似的增長。曾任《財富》雜志編輯的丹·普里馬克在其Axios通訊報道中稱,早教技術公司SV Venture新近籌集了1.8億美元的第二只基金?!安还軐W生們何時回到教室,過去的一年已經徹底改變了教育行業?;旌闲蛯W習模式可能會在新興國家的農村地區等一些地方成為常態,而在成人學習領域,改進Zoom臨時教室的初創公司可能擁有數十億潛在客戶?!逼绽锺R克補充道。(財富中文網)

編譯:楊二一

美國高等教育存在著嚴重的問題:學費越來越貴,畢業率和就業前景卻停滯不前甚至日漸灰暗。整個高等教育領域最終的“大洗牌”正在逐漸逼近。自2010年以來一直執掌教育科技公司Chegg的首席執行官丹·羅森維格就是這一觀點的忠實維護者。

Chegg是一家提供數字和實體教科書租賃以及在線輔導等服務的公司。該公司的首席執行官羅森維格表示,新冠疫情的蔓延加速了這一時刻的到來。普林斯頓大學、斯坦福大學等捐贈基金豐厚的高校,尚能夠抵抗這場風暴,而規模較小的學院和綜合性大學或將難以支撐下去。

情況到底有多糟糕?羅森維格最近對《財富》雜志表示:“我們估計,未來幾年有25%的大學可能會走向破產?!?/p>

在疫情的影響下,偏遠地區及混合型學校的學生人數呈現出急劇下降之勢:2020年秋季,美國大學的入學人數下降了約40萬人,其中降幅最大的是社區大學,新生入學人數下降了13%。這與經濟衰退期間通常發生的情況恰恰相反——失業者為了改善就業前景,會選擇入學深造。在2008年至2009年的經濟大蕭條時期,社區大學的入學人數猛增了250萬。

而現在,大學急于吸引學生,紛紛公布了學費減免政策。這也導致了去年大學學費的指數出現了自1978年以來的最大跌幅。

羅森維格認為,對大學來說,疫情造成的財務危機甚至還不是最嚴重的長期問題。他指出,這些學校未能適應現代學生的需求。大約四分之三的大學生存在至少一種非傳統的特性,例如全職工作、擁有子女等。羅森維格表示,這些非傳統的學生尤其需要學校提供靈活的課程和線上授課選擇。但他補充稱,Z世代也希望如此。畢竟在他們成長的時代,Uber打車只需輕點屏幕即可完成。

“在一個讓學生們負債累累、有近半可能無法畢業的教育體系中,他們究竟能否受益?況且即便他們成功畢業,他們最終得到的工作收入也不足以償還貸款。另外,學校所教授的課程還有可能與他們的未來工作毫無關聯。整個系統在設計時還沒有考慮到學生群體的多樣性,比如性別、年齡、社會經濟狀況等等。更要命的是,學費還越來越貴了?!绷_森維格說。

數據印證了他的說法。從2001年到2021年,大學學費上漲了140%,遠遠超過了通貨膨脹的速度。與此同時,只有62%的學生能夠在入學后的六年內畢業——這個數字幾乎沒有變化。

大學應該回到何處?羅森維格認為,大學應該從頭開始,制定大眾支付得起的項目,充分利用科技,以大規模地支持學生發展,提供對學生工作發展有實際用途的課程?!叭绻胱尭叩冉逃x予學生就業能力,讓他們賺到足夠多的錢,成為中產階級,那么整個體系就需要按照大多數人的需求來設計?!彼a充說。

羅森維格表示,Chegg對學生用戶的內部調查顯示,75%的大學生喜歡混合學習模式,即面對面授課和在線授課相結合的模式,這也是疫情催生的在線學習、混合學習模式不會消失的原因。與電子商務、流媒體等其他領域類似,疫情只是加快了高等教育的數字化轉型。對于提供數字學習資源的Chegg來說,這一加速的數字轉型給它帶來了極大的好處。Chegg的教科書、家庭作業輔導等訂閱服務的訂閱量在2020年達到了660萬這一新高,同比上升了67%。與此同時,2020年的凈收入增長了57%,達到2.057億美元。股東們為此感到高興:自2020年1月以來,Chegg的股價已經上漲128%,至87.55美元。

其他科技、教育公司也出現了類似的增長。曾任《財富》雜志編輯的丹·普里馬克在其Axios通訊報道中稱,早教技術公司SV Venture新近籌集了1.8億美元的第二只基金?!安还軐W生們何時回到教室,過去的一年已經徹底改變了教育行業?;旌闲蛯W習模式可能會在新興國家的農村地區等一些地方成為常態,而在成人學習領域,改進Zoom臨時教室的初創公司可能擁有數十億潛在客戶?!逼绽锺R克補充道。(財富中文網)

編譯:楊二一

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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