Author: Burck Smith

  • 100th Partner College – The Tipping Point?

    100th Partner College – The Tipping Point?
    Burck Smith

    A little over five years ago, I founded StraighterLine to empower students to affordably earn their college degree. At the time, college tuition was rising four times the rate of inflation, median family asset value was dropping by a third, and more job postings than ever required a degree. In short, a degree was more necessary, more expensive and students had less ability to pay. The story remains much the same today. This wasn’t, and isn’t, normal. With nearly 1/3 of college students taking at least one online class and nearly 90% of colleges offering online courses, prices should fall like they have in every other industry that has incorporated online delivery. But this has not been the case. So, StraighterLine was started to d ...

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  • The Incredible Impact of Alternative Higher Ed Providers

    Burck Smith

    Republished with permission from The Evolllution. View the original article. Today’s higher education marketplace looks remarkably different than it did even 10 years ago. While online and distance programming has long been available, the growth of unaccredited education providers and their popularity among prospective students is changing the shape of the postsecondary ecosystem in the United States. In this interview, Burck Smith, whose StraighterLine helped to pioneer the growth of unaccredited high-quality programming, reflects on the competitive landscape for these providers and shares his thoughts on how the marketplace will adapt to their growth and increasing market share. The EvoLLLution (Evo): Why has demand for non-accred ...

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  • The Worst Possible Outcome for A College Student

    The Worst Possible Outcome for A College Student
    Burck Smith

    Adult students looking to start, or re-start, college are an optimistic bunch. Most are trying to improve their job and career prospects. They are ambitious, determined and a little bit nervous. They know that people with a bachelor’s degree earn 56% more than those with a high school degree over a lifetime. However, what about those that start but don’t finish? After all, only 58% of students that start college receive a degree within 6 years. That means that 42% of those who start don’t finish. Because college isn’t cheap, almost half of all students spend their savings and incur debt for college without receiving the payoff they expect. Want to try an online class? Take two free lessons on us today! When a Student Defaults ...

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  • Back to School: Two Guaranteed Strategies to Make College More Affordable

    Back to School: Two Guaranteed Strategies to Make College More Affordable
    Burck Smith

    As the run up to the 2016 Presidential election continues, college affordability has taken center stage. Like most Americans, presidential candidates have realized that, though a college degree has become a ticket to at least a middle class lifestyle, the price of that ticket creates a Catch-22 for students. The result has been an explosion of proposals designed to make college more affordable. These include free community colleges, debt free colleges, better consumer data to drive better consumer choices and more. However, despite all the interest in college affordability, it is almost impossible for a prospective student to know what the price will be for a degree. How Much Will You Pay for College? If you are trying to decide whic ...

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  • What are “Quality” Online Courses?

    What are “Quality” Online Courses?
    Burck Smith

    Since 2008, StraighterLine has noted that online courses – because they require none of the expensive infrastructure of face-to-face courses – should be much, much cheaper than a college’s face-to-face courses. The growth of equivalent, but cheaper and unsubsidized, providers of online courses creates a problem for state and local policymakers. Want to try an online class? Take two free lessons on us today! Equivalent But Cheaper If equivalent but cheaper courses exist, but taxpayer money can only be used for expensive accredited providers, then taxpayer funds are being spent poorly. Slowly, policymakers are trying to address this. Last week the Department of Education announced that it was looking into ways in which alternative ...

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