Higher Education Has Three Problems . . .

Barry Lenson

Burck Smith, our founder and CEO, believes that American higher education has three problems . . .

  1. Price - College should be more affordable.
  2. Debt - Students shouldn’t be graduating with an average of $27,000 in debt.
  3. Student persistence – More of the students who start college should graduate.

You can hear Burck Smith and David Parento (StraighterLine’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer) discuss these issues in a video that was posted recently on YouTube.

Let’s hear some quotes from what they have to say . . .

  • “We were pretty controversial for a few years, but that seems to have abated a little bit. In many ways, the reason it seems to have abated is that the principles that StraighterLine started under have essentially been adopted by others. Those two principles are one, that online courses should be much more affordable than they are (there’s no overhead to them) and second, anyone can offer an online course. You don’t need a building or a set of buildings to be a college.” – Smith
  • “Institutions are teaching all the same material in the same way and as you look at that, you start to realize that that has all the hallmarks of something that you ought to be able to use technology to provide more effectively and at a much lower cost. That’s what we’re doing.” - Parento
  • “Ninety-two percent of colleges price online courses the same or higher than face-to-face courses, yet online courses have none of the overhead.  All we are doing is creating a pathway to credit and a pricing structure that’s closer to the margins, so students can derive the benefits of online courses. “ – Smith
  • “The key to creating value for the student is to create reliable and efficient pathways to credit because that’s what ultimately is the currency that students are looking for.” - Parento
  • “We’ve got a number of things that we will be launching in wintertime of this year . . . first, something that we are calling Professor Direct. We’re going to let professors come onto our platform, work directly with our courses, augment  them . . . so we’re going to create a kind of eBay for professors  where they can teach directly to students with a validating process in between.” – Smith

Related Readings

Burck Smith on the Changing Model of Education
The Washington Post Praises StraighterLine in New Editorial
The New York Times Cites StraighterLine as a College Cost Innovator

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