People often ask why I decided to switch from academia to law — this article by Megan McArdle describes a big part of the reason. It’s not just that universities are taking tuition from far more postgraduates than can possibly find jobs and then exploiting them to reduce the costs of teaching, but that the whole academic business model is collapsing. This is actually quite an exciting time for higher education, but I expect many institutions won’t adapt fast enough to avoid being overcome by the changes ahead.
Great piece by Glenn Reynolds on the changes coming to academia. College, like Social Security and Welfare, has been run as a Ponzi scheme since the GI Bill, with future plans and spending predicated on ever-increasing enrolment and tuition (subsidised by federal student loan programs). As enrolment falls and students become more price-conscious, institutions are going to have to cut costs, and not just by replacing faculty with adjuncts (although you can guarantee it will be the last administrator turning off the lights).