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There's lots in here that I don't explain fully, but one thing I wanted to talk about more is why I think that online school is definitionally less valuable than in-person school.

First, this is tendencies, there maybe some portion of the population for whom it is better, but in-person is easier to capture and keep attention, easier to receive non-verbal feedback from a class, easier for classmates to build relationships and thus help each other (with classwork and with life stuff...and also sometimes for the rest of their lives.)

But I think it's also been made fairly clear (at least in the way schools spend money) that a great deal of the value delivered by college is outside of the classroom. The college experience is valuable, and that's a LOT of what people are paying for. I think it's safe to say that, if you're mostly paying for streaming video, $50,000 is too much.

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Good morning, John.  I'm actually really worried right now and that's not a surprise.  I have a specific worry, though, that I'd like to talk about in this video regarding the higher education system in the US.  Colleges and universities, they're just, they're extremely important, right?  Vital.  But here are three true things: First, schools have been raising prices faster than inflation for over 40 years now.  If it had, over the course of my lifetime, increased with inflation, the cost of four years of school after financial aid would be about $40,000 and that's a lot and it's an average so there would be schools that would be way above that and schools that would be below that.  Instead it is now over $90,000 and so almost definitionally, every year college gets less worth it.

Thing number two, it's gonna be less valuable if it's an all-online experience and yet, schools are not like, lowering prices, and finally, there is an increasingly large number of people in this country who actually think that college is bad for America.  In fact, in 2016, a year in which some other shifts occurred in America, the percentage of Republicans who believe that college has a negative effect on the country went from 37% to 58% and that isn't just an opinion.  The Trump administration is doing things to hurt universities, making it harder for international students to stay in the country, having the treasury department investigate whether or not non-profit universities should have their tax-exempt status revoked, and these are big deals.  23% of the money that comes into the US higher education system comes from international students, who are often the only ones who pay full price.  So international students very clearly subsidize the education of Americans, so while at first this looks like another anti-immigrant thing, it's actually both an anti-immigrant thing and an anti-education thing.

Now, it's really hard and complicated to get to the roots of where this antagonism between some people in America and the higher education system comes from.  It's hard, it's historical, it's convoluted, this isn't simple, but a part of it, definitely not the whole thing because the whole thing is much more sinister, is that colleges are elitist.  They want to be elite institutions for elite students.  That's how they'd like to pitch themselves, and that's how we found ourselves in a world where the number one metric for how good a a school is is how many students it rejects.  This is under examined and pretty gross, and it's to the point where schools will actually encourage students who they know they're going to reject to apply in order to keep their acceptance rates low, so we cannot say that, to some extent, this system hasn't contributed to this problem.  

So again, higher education is the victim of three thing right now: decades of this hubris where they think they can just keep raising prices to compete with each other, a pandemic that's going to decrease the value of education, and an administration that doesn't care.  We have to fix all of those problems and they are all hard.  Some of them for good reasons, some of them, I am shocked by how difficult they are.  

But here's the reason I have hope.  Because if this is survivable, and I think that it is, we will survive it by coming to terms with the fact that higher education has created a tremendous amount of good while also allowing their budgets to get way out of control in order to compete with each other like businesses fighting for customers instead of schools educating students.  The cost of higher education needs to not just stop going up, it needs to start coming down.  This is our chance to figure out how to do that, and it's something we think about every day at Complexly, where our goal is to create free educational materials that make teaching cheaper and easier, but also with bigger ideas like our partnership with Arizona State University, but the thing to know here is that right now, we are at the very beginning of a change in how higher education works, a change that needs to be done thoughtfully and carefully, despite the fact that we have no choice but for it to happen quite quickly, and that's gonna be hard and that is why I am worried and I just wanted to articulate that.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.