Community colleges could provide an alternative to rising education costs and student debt.
To be honest, those with four-year degrees tend to receive higher paying positions later in life, but not everyone is cut out to be CEO material, and the community college system offers those who would rather work with their hands a chance to be a part of middle- to upper-class America.
But what about the future of colleges and universities in general? More and more, online classes are becoming the norm, and some are starting to wonder if that is the way of education in the not-to-distant future. Could expansive (and expensive) college campuses be one day replaced by a single building, housing a core of teachers and online course programmers that disseminate class plans and tests to individuals at the four corners of the Earth?
Just take a look at online retail to see what it has done to brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales are forcing the closure of many familiar retail giants’ actual buildings, and as the younger computer-savvy generation ages, the trend to online purchasing is sure to continue. Enterprising educational facilities will probably follow suit.
Certain types of educational fields would not be able to completely take advantage of online classes. Research universities and medical training facilities are a few that require at least some amount of hands-on training and evaluation. But even some of those classes could be digitized.
Community colleges could play a large role in making this happen, as they could provide online training where it can be useful, and on-site training when necessary, while not requiring students to live miles from home for the complete length of their educational instruction.
With tuition costs and education costs soaring, and millions of students starting their careers saddled with a mountain of student loan debt, the education system itself needs to look at ways to reduce the cost of a degree, by taking advantage of any outside-the-box means.
The biggest problem facing a new graduate, from either a traditional four-year university or a community college technical certificate program, should not be digging out from under a massive pile of student loan debt.
Soon, the community colleges may be the ones with the smiles on their faces.