Our Higher Education Model is not Sustainable

Sustainability is not merely an environmental ambition, focused on EPA-administered programs and “small footprint” tips and tricks for changing lifestyles. Sustainability, literally, is about doing things in a way that ensures they can continue to be done indefinitely.

With this in mind, critics (especially current students and recent graduates) are apt—and not wholly mistaken—to point at the bubble-like characteristics of college tuition, student loans, and the leaky college-to-career pipeline that sees many more degreed applicants than high-paying jobs being filled by them. Clearly, these features indicate a lack of sustainability; all bubbles burst eventually.

But even if financing an education weren’t the headache it currently is, would our approach to learning truly be sustainable? The problem goes beyond time and money management, bolstering salaries, or even aligning degree programs to the demands of the economy.

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