Mogul Mark Cuban Points to a Coming College Meltdown

Barry Lenson

Mogul Mark Cuban Points to a Coming College Meltdown

The Coming College Meltdown

In his Blog Maverick blog, super-mogul Mark Cuban recently made some wise and insightful comments about deep fault lines beneath the world of higher education that will cause some seismic shifts in the years ahead. In a recent post, Cuban points up similarities between the collapse of the housing market and the current situation in American higher education.

“It’s far too easy to borrow money for college,” Cuban notes. “Did you know that there is more outstanding debt for student loans than there is for auto loans or credit card loans? That’s right. The 37mm holders of student loans have more debt than the 175mm or so credit card owners in this country and more than the all of the debt on cars in this country. While the average student loan debt is about 23k. The median is close to $12,500. And growing. Past 1 TRILLION DOLLARS.”

Cuban writes that students today are speculating on education in a way that is reminiscent of how investors were speculating on housing before the big housing crisis hit. Before that crisis, investors borrowed “easy money” to buy houses and then flipped them for profit. In the educational context, Cuban writes, students are borrowing money to pay for college educations that they believe will “flip” them into higher levels of earning.

And as we know, those higher-paying jobs often aren’t there.

“As an employer I want the best prepared and qualified employees,” Cuban observes. “I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.”

Cuban also notes that a number of reality-based learning options are starting to arrive on the scene, such as partnerships between colleges and businesses that allow students to prepare for jobs that are actually there. He also points to online learning as a cost-effective and reality-based way that students are preparing for real jobs in the real world of business.

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