While at work today I got a text from my wife. She was outlining her debt scenario after three years of higher education. It's not what it should be. As a college graduate who now works at a crummy job that doesn't require a college degree, I wondered what exactly was all that time and money spent towards? Apart from a broadened mental horizon and a chance to slack off for four years, not much. I appear to be no more qualified than a high school graduate with experience. In fact, from my past month of job searching it seems that experience counts more than education. Everyone's got a degree. And unless you had someone to pay for it for you, chances are you aren't making enough to justify your liberal arts education. I know I'm not.
I like to run after work to clear my head and decompress. At the trail, I thought about the way the higher education system in America is a mess and thought of an alternative:
A school that rewards students for getting A grades. On top of base fees, say each credit costs $1,000. For arguments sake, lets say fees and housing cost $5,000 per semester, less if there is an option for off-campus housing. For a student taking 15 credits, that equals $20,000 per semester. Not cheap. BUT! If you refund students' money per A per credit, then there is the opportunity for school to cost only $10k per year.
Ten thousand dollars is still relatively expensive, but I'm picturing a very prestigious degree. To accomplish this goal, professors will be paid well, regardless of students' performance. However, to discourage easy grading, performance reviews will determine the professor's contract. These reviews will also make sure the professor is being fair as well. The goal is to make everybody work for what they get. As professors grade more rigidly, students are forced to work harder and the overall quality of education goes up.
I imagine I'm not the first person to think of this, In fact, some high schools have similar programs, but I don't want to just bribe kids into achieving. Degrees mean the same whether you got them with A's or C's. I'm just thinking by making higher education more like a market, a better system will be created than the one we have in place now. And by taking student's money up front, an investment fund could be set up to help cover costs.
Not like anyone reads this, so I don't know why I'm asking, but... any thoughts?