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Good evening and 1800 hours. My name is Scott Galloway, NYU Stern School of Business professor of marketing. Thanks for joining us tonight in our town hall, if you will, talking about the future of higher education. We're going to bust into it with some slides attempting to encapsulate some of the activity around higher ed and why we here believe that it is ripe for disruption. And then we're going to move straight into your questions. And joining me to help round out or bring some real domain expertise is our esteemed panel in order.
Anastasia Crosswhite is a friend and the former associate dean at NYU Stern School of Business, and she's a core member of the education nonprofit Practice at Spencer Stuart, a leading global executive search and leadership consulting firm, and has a lot of domain expertise around leadership and what's happening across higher. Zakiya Smith, services chief policy adviser to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. First, he's responsible for developing and directing the governor's policy initiatives and coordination with the Cabinet. Previously, she served as New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, responsible for policy development and coordination in the state.
Prior to that work in New Jersey, Zacchia worked at the in the Obama administration as a senior adviser for education at the White House Domestic Policy Council and as a senior adviser at the US Department of Education. And finally, Bob Sherman is the director of Higher Ed Excellence and a senior fellow at the Century Foundation working on education policy with a focus on affordability, quality assurance and consumer protection. Bob founded the Institute for College Access and Success in 2004 and 11, 2011, launched the policy organization California Completes.
He also served in the Clinton White House as a senior policy advisor to the National Economic Council and in the Obama administration is deputy undersecretary of Education. OK, let's like this candle. Let's try and get to way to many sides. And around 10 or 12 minutes, three thousand people registered. Welcome. It's a mix of parents, students and most likely tenured professors who are going to tell me I'm wrong and that I'm not helping anyways. The current situation here and we are really good when I say we Americans, that software, weapons, media and universities, we tend to dominate from at least a brand equity standpoint consistently the list of the world's top universities.
However, we have a problem. These universities have become of the university system, which used to be the corporate lubricant for the middle class in America, has has slowly become the caste system where the top one percent are kids from top one percent. Income earning households are seventy seven times more likely to attend an Ivy or an Ivy plus institution, which is essentially an elite institution than those from the poorest quintile. You could argue that at sixty four thousand students total, the Ivy League is not really a higher education institution, but a luxury brand or a hedge fund that educates the kids of their investors.
Florida State at seventy five thousand students of Ohio State of 55000. The Ivy is really more spectacle than historic. It's our public schools to kind of determine where America does or doesn't get traction. As you can see, we do have a caste system kind of where you're born is more important or a larger indicator where you're going to be in school in terms of the wealth of that household. We also see incredible bloat across universities. I'm picking on the University of California system, my alma mater here, but we have seen just an explosion and costs across administration in higher ed.
At the same time, we've seen a flattening or even a decline in many states of state and federal funding being afforded to institutions. And we've, as a result are obscene and it just an absolute explosion in the cost of education. Typically, spring is a nervous but joyous time, and our thesis is that it's become a season of despair and real financial insecurity for households as their kids don't get into the school, they want it and get downgraded and end up in an ugly conversation around whether they can afford to spend the price of a Mercedes on what has become increasingly a Hyundai certification.
So now that we are moving to all online and I believe increasingly every day more universities are announced, they're going online because we have figured out that our super spreaders are young people and that I'd like to think that people who run these universities are smart enough to realize they don't want to be the nursing homes and the cruise ships of the next stage of this pandemic. And once those tuition cashes, tuition, checks, cash, I believe they will become increasingly practical around announcing they're going all remote.
And I believe we're already starting to see that once were all remote. A snarky way of looking at this is that a streaming video platform spends billions of dollars to develop original original IP and content that they stream over broadband so effectively more remote. We have the most expensive streaming video platform, which is Halvard at fifty thousand bucks a year. So we have there's a lot we got some pushback around the. Sticker price is a bit misleading because some of the better universities, actually the net tuition has gone down, which again kind of indicates income inequality because the top universities tend to attract students or the best students.
And obviously these students are paying less than just good kids versus remarkable kids. But we've still seen just an extraordinary increase in the cost of education. And for those of you who aren't following along on YouTube, these slides will be made available. We've also seen stagnant growth in terms of the number of seats being offered. So it's not as if all of this additional tuition is expanding the offering or the opportunity across the US. It's not. And we've also seen enrollments pick up a little bit but start to decline again.
I will say the University of California has increased its enrollment about thirty four percent in the last twenty two years. So I don't want to make blanket statements or too many blanket statements. I'm making a few of them. But some have not lost the script and are sticking to their original mission of expanding opportunity across their populace. So we have seen again, some universities, again, you see increased their enrollment relative to enrollment across the US, but we've seen admission rates plummet.
I did some data here. I applied UCLA in 1980 to the admissions rates were sixty three percent. Now the admission rates are 12 percent, which means the UCLA no longer has the latitude to admit the unremarkable sons of single immigrant mothers who lived and died. Secretaries' yours truly and can only accept really two types of people. One, the children of rich kids who can afford the test prep industrial complex tutors have the right people, know somebody with their name on the side of a building.
And the second core cohort, what I would refer to as freakishly remarkable, 15 to 17 year olds, we are admitting a top one percent. We're doubling down on them. But the question is, or what I think we need to acknowledge and I can prove this mathematically is ninety nine percent of us. Ninety nine percent of our children are not in the top one percent. And is that who we want to, to divide all the spoils here?
And as you can see, tuition has absolutely exploded. This persists across states, across almost every public system in the U.S. The trend that has been stuck out here, I mean, simply put, when you raise prices faster than inflation and no underlying increase in productivity, go into an Apple store, buy a Mercedes, even go into emergency room. It doesn't look like 1980, go into almost any university classroom. And it would be difficult to tell whether the number one show on TV is Seinfeld or, I don't know, whatever it is now.
But things haven't changed a whole hell of a lot. What's changed is the tuition.
We're seeing some online growth, but our belief is that there's going to be tremendous disruption sponsored by venture capitalists whose greed plans are going as they see a huge opportunity to come in and take advantage of this access margin. And as parents and consumers and students get more comfortable with remote learning, we're going to see a massive investment and a narrowing of the delta between offline and online offerings. And also, it's not binary. We think the majority of higher education institutions will end up in a hybrid model.
So we're seeing an accelerant plans for the summer. It looks like almost half are going to be in some sort of hybrid or all online. I think that goes to three quarters and the next two to three weeks. And we're seeing a tremendous amount of increase in search or increase queries around people interested in online learning. So we got in a ton of trouble here. We decided to try and quantify this and tried to come up with an index and plot that index and who thrives, survives, struggles in this challenge.
We came up with two axes when institutions are vulnerable and then who offers low value to high value? Now, just to go through our methodology and this data sheet is available to anybody who wants it online, we saw value as a function of your credential or the credential the university. I think that's the primary reason people go to school, quite frankly, the experience and then their education. We measured the credential by the school rank, the search finally and the admit rate high admit rate is bad in terms of brand equity, the experience as rated by Nesh and the education we assess based on the 15 and 30 year net present value and also the instructional spend per student.
And then we took that. We times each of those three factors and multiplied by each of those three factors and then divided it by tuition to come up with a value score. In terms of vulnerability. We look at the endowment for full time student large and deep down. Let's give you some cushion to survive this or any other exogenous impact. And then the percent of international students that is typically been a feature. It's turned into a bug. A lot of universities claim that they let in international students for diversity.
I think that's bullshit. We let in international students because they pay full freight. We could increase our diversity at universities if we let in more low income Americans. I find that the international students at NYU are strikingly homogenous. They're essentially the kids of the richest people in that given nation. So let's look at some of these. Let's look at some of these schools that we. Or you can see we saw as thriving, very high credential, very prestigious college, fantastic student experience that pays off in terms of your income earning potential post postgraduation and also a fairly low tuition, a decent endowment and international students.
By the way, I don't I'm not biased against international students. I just think at this point you're having more international students is a vulnerability. International students are probably not going to show up, I would imagine, because of the xenophobic tropes coming out of the White House and just a general acknowledgement that the US is as kind of on fire right now. And so when you're paying full freight to go to a hotel that is virus ridden in, the manager of the hotel is racist, you might decide just to stick at home for a semester or a year.
And I think we're already seeing that. Purdue we had is survive, and that is a decent credential, good experience, decent NPV scores, good value in terms of tuition, but a relatively relatively modest endowment and also a decent amount or a vulnerability around higher than average international students struggle. Low value, low vulnerability, meaning not a great degree, but pretty bulletproof school like roundoff, fairly low rank, very mediocre student experience, decent, not great NPV and then an expensive so sort of bad, but expensive as a value proposition to the end consumer.
But at the same time very strong endowment, which means they have a lot of cushion, a very engaged alumni and can survive something like this. Sarah Lawrence is an example of a school that we feel is in real trouble, just an OK brand, very high admit rate, very weak student experience, low NPV scores and a high tuition. So expensive but bad in addition, very little, very little cushion. We think this is the sweet spot of what is to education, what department stores are to retail, and that many of these schools may begin a death march because you might see a water falling of the top tier.
Schools have no problem of 10, 20 percent of their students decide to take a deferment or a gap year. They just reach into their huge waiting lists. But this creates very strong pressure on the tier two schools. But they're still OK as they can go very deep into their waiting list. And then the Tier three schools see a demand destruction of 30 to 50 percent and they go into the waiting list, which they don't have. And when you have an economic model that's very high fixed cost based on immoveable personnel costs and high infrastructure costs and very high gross margins, that works really well on the way up.
It is. It is definitely on the way down because just 10 or 20 percent of your students not showing up. Flip's your economic model upside down. I think we're experiencing what I'd call the great dispersion, and that is if you think about health care, 99 percent of people have contracted, endured and developed. The antibodies for covid-19 will have not entered a doctor's office, much less a hospital. And as a result, there's going to be an explosion of remote medicine and telehealth.
The same thing is happening at campuses, and that is remote learning might dramatically expand the role of the campus if, loosely speaking or theoretically, if 50 percent of classes take place online, you effectively double the size of the campus, which has traditionally been the throttle and kind of the mechanism for the cartel that has become higher education. So where do we go from here? In about three and a half weeks, I kick off my course at NYU, 400 students at seven thousand dollars apiece or two point eight million dollars in revenue.
My agent takes a ninety nine percent commission, but that's effectively two hundred and thirty three thousand dollars a night to listen to me on Zoome for two hours and 40 minutes or five hundred and eighty three dollars per night per student or fifteen hundred dollars a minute. There's tremendous room for innovation here. You're seeing a lot of professors start their own courses and you can do something half as good. But if it's a tenth of the price, you obviously have a five X return in value or even if it's only a third is good, but you charge a tenth of the price.
You're offering three times the value. Universities have raised their prices so fast that they've just created so much margin opportunity for upstarts and new companies. So we're seeing more students going online and we're seeing obviously the benefit from that is lower costs to deliver. I think the future is going to involve some sort of hybrid. I doesn't going fast, but I want to get through this and I'd like to think the silver lining here and I was on a call this morning with the chancellors of Berkeley and UCLA and one of the regents.
I think there's opportunity for a grand bargain where hopefully we can get government to fall back in love with universities and in exchange for dramatically decreasing the cost per student of education through the use of mix, the mixed use of big and small tech, we could lower the cost. But at the same time, if we could get increased funding from governments and from alumni, we might be able to dramatically increase enrollments. There's this nonsense that this will dilute the brands.
Almost every major university in the tier and the top tier, whether it's Michigan University in North Carolina, Harvard or UC Irvine, would acknowledge that they could have doubled the number of admits and not lost any quality across their students. We have remarkable kids who are no longer getting into great schools, no longer getting into good schools, but getting into average schools and paying the price to go to a great school. We've seen admission rates go from just about 40 percent just 20 years ago to 13 at the University of California, Los Angeles.
And doubling the admissions rate would only take us back, get this, just six years or so. With that. With that, we have our panel. We're going to bust into our first question.
I'm Ruffino Simpson from King University and the math professor. And Kane is a regional public university in New Jersey. My question to you is, what do you feel are the main challenges for public institutions such as for your regional colleges and universities, as well as community colleges serve the majority of the voting population going forward? What do you see as one of their main challenges and what is it that they can do better? Thank you.
Thank you, Professor Narasimhan. Zacchia, any thoughts? Well, yes, love Caixin University. It's one of the gyms in New Jersey's public higher education ecosystem. It serves a lot of low income and first generation college students. It's very diverse, one of the most diverse universities in the state. Having said that. A face challenges that are similar to a lot of public institutions, which I would say center around affordability, kind of similar to what not is unaffordable is one of the slides this just showed.
But for the student population that they serve, really, they struggle to pay, you know, five thousand dollars out of pocket. And so even if the net price of Cain, I would venture to guess, is maybe somewhere around fifteen thousand dollars, after all, room and board and all expenses are taken into account. It's a lot for a person who's not not wealthy. Having said that, they also struggle with completion. So unfortunately, those students also need a lot of support, a lot of wraparound services, and the state doesn't provide probably as much support as they need, frankly.
And that means that not that many students that start finish. So you've got people who are paying, they're taking out loans and they don't complete. So you essentially have a potential to be in a worse situation, which is, I would say one of the biggest challenges of colleges in this category overall is that you have the potential to have students take on debt, go and then not actually complete and have the debt, but no degree. So that is a big challenge.
And how they can help more students actually complete their degrees while being affordable is is the challenge moving forward. And if they can do that by trying to actually, I think a lot of folks don't focus on completion. They focus on rank. They focus on trying to be NYU. Not saying this about Cain, but they focus on a lot of other things other than students actually completing and a lot of other priorities in terms of how they spend their money other than ensuring that affordability for the people who can't afford it the most, they chase international students or people who can pay rather than thinking about how to help people who can pay less.
Next question. Hey, Scott. Tyler, Dondre here from Nashville, Tennessee, simple question, what areas do you think colleges and universities should make cuts to financially and what areas do you think they will make cuts to? Thank you very much for taking my question. Have a great day. But, yeah, you know, it really depends on the kind of college that we're talking about here.
In a place like Nashville, you've got a Vanderbilt University for selective private university, spends a lot of money and probably has some bloat in administration, as Scott mentioned. But another big area is highly selective universities spending money to attract rich kids with high test scores, people who basically don't need financial aid instead of providing financial aid to enroll more low income students. That brings up the issue of of the ability or the lack of ability of colleges, selective colleges to work together to enroll more low income students.
They end up competing in a way that makes worse the stratification in an elite higher education at the same time. Tennessee has some very affordable public institutions, community colleges in the state, good transfer policies. And I think that's something to build on. And I think we need to recognize that online education is not the best approach, especially for a lot of low income students who come from families without a lot of college experience, where being immersed in the academic environment makes a big difference.
And we need to make sure we need to work on providing them with the opportunity to have that experience, because a half, half as effective, half half the quality is not what we want to provide them. We want to provide them one hundred percent of the quality. And if we can get them, if we can get Vanderbilt to enroll more low income students, so much the better. But let's also embrace our public institutions and provide the federal and state support so that they can continue to enroll low income students as well.
Thank you, Officer Anastasiya. I'm going to put you on the spot here. I want to put forward a thesis both both of us worked at NYU. And what else is now?
Scott always put me on the spot, go for it, no longer work there.
And I'm pretty sure I'm close to being fired. So it's like one hundred and ninety million dollar budget. I think I could cut 30 million dollars in 30 days if I had the power as CMO who does nothing but try and attract more applicants. And we have a 14 percent admittance rate, vice chancellors of diversity, inclusion when we have the most diverse and inclusive place on the planet. And we'd be better off spending that money to support households or kids of color who don't have access to this type of university would make us much more diverse and inclusive communications departments that are half a dozen strong and a third of the faculty that should be put on an ice floe that stop being productive about 20 years ago.
Isn't this place just rife with grotesque fat and waste? You're not going to get me to say I agree with that, Scott, but I will say and I'm not going to talk too much about NYU in particular, but I would say, yes, there has been a growth in administration and full stop former administrator. So you could argue as part of the problem. But I would say the challenge that a lot of universities face is they are not just a university.
Right. There are so many components to a big, complex place like NYU. And I do think that leads to to added services on services like I know NYU has had to quadruple the number of mental health administrators in the past five years. You know, that is considered administrative. So there are categories where the growth makes absolute sense. I also think, to be honest, as someone who worked in the dean's office, we are can't we were constantly bombarded with requests to comment on this, write a memo on this.
What's our view on that? You actually do need people in there or you are absolutely deluged. So I also think the thing that we're not talking about, but it's in the in a lot of the flow that we've been discussing, rankings, rankings, drive so much of the decision making of a lot of universities. And it drives a lot of the things that you're talking about. Right. Giving financial, as Bob mentioned, giving financial aid, merit aid to students with high test scores.
That is a direct correlation to wanting to move up in the rankings. Right. U.S. News has a stranglehold on the public's perception of quality of higher education in this country. And that's a real problem. People I know people pick pick schools, whether they're 12 or 14. Right. It's it's it's nuts. So once you're in that rat race, it's very hard to get out of it. And I'm not quite sure how how how you how you break that cycle.
I know a lot of schools have talked about ignoring the rankings, but I'll tell you, when you ignore the rankings, the alumni and the students come after you hard when you drop in the rankings. So it's not easy. Big topics. Q Any thoughts?
Cost cutting will cost cutting. There's I think I would agree with Bob. In general, a lot of institutions spend money on students that don't need to get money and they may spend real money or they may spend fake money more often. They spend fake money. So like they say, their tuition is sixty thousand dollars. They are going to give you a ten thousand dollar scholarship. So you've got a discount. But they actually never had ten thousand dollars to give you.
They just like wrote off the price. And so it's a really insidious game. They could do the same thing for low income students, but they don't. And so it makes their financial aid have to if they have a real grant, that real grant has to actually buy down their ten thousand dollars. If they had a grant from a church, that church actually had to give them ten thousand dollars to give to the college, whereas the college could have just said, we know you're never going to be able to pay the sixty thousand dollars.
Guess what? Your price is really forty thousand dollars. Then you could use your real ten thousand dollars to actually make your price thirty thousand dollars and then have to borrow less. So financial aid is just a whole other piece. But I would agree with Anastasiya in terms of rankings and how that plays in people's minds, I think a large portion of why people might not be willing to do online or something because they have this perception of quality that is really not rooted in any objective criteria.
It's just based on how they feel about a school. Which is one of the hardest things, though, to change, because it's based on like centuries of history. And that's kind of the basis for the whole existence. Know an example, you get the best of the brightest and you kind of cultivate them. But if you had to educate the students that, you know, Bronx Community College had to educate, how well would you do with them kind of thing?
So is it really the kind of foundation of the school and all the resources that the school has and all of the supports and the great faculty? Or is it a function of you have really, really smart students that you picked from the creme de la creme? And they would probably do well if you put them in a library with nothing else versus what the school really has to offer. So it's chicken and egg, but cost cutting certainly on the financial aid side.
But I would just say generally people are paying for the perception. So it's hard to think about how you bring that cost down if that's what people are paying for. And it's an ephemeral piece that it's kind of made up to that next question. Hi, Scott.
My question for the panel is this. If you were at a university that is in your parish category and you've been predicting this for quite a while now and nothing has changed course for your faculty member who does see themselves innovative, can think about problem solving, but it is not going to be part of the systemic solution for the institution. Are there pockets, are there entrepreneurial pockets where you can still exist as an educator? Are there going to be disruptions so that there are no small, small scale educational offerings that can be set up by entrepreneurial faculty?
What do you see? The disruption that might happen here so that individuals can actually redefine what education. Thank you.
Thanks for that, Gillian. So my sense is, if you understand technology and you understand how to shape a course and you have the initiative to reach out to the faculty or the leadership in a university and say, I'm interested in putting together a strong retail oriented course and have the skills to figure out the technology and how to deliver this pedagogy online. My sense is university leadership would welcome that with open arms. And if you don't find it internally in your own institution, I'm working for an online education startup right now, Section four, and we're having a very difficult time finding both professors and course developers and technologists who understand how to deliver education online.
This is going you're going to see on almost every venture capital memo outlining their new areas of investment, you see online education. So if you're really sincere about making the investment and it's not easy, I struggle with these technologies. I find it hard. It's much easier for me to walk into a classroom and just press play and go on kind of auto pilot. But if you're willing to make that investment in understanding technology and you feel you have the skills to deliver it online, my sense is university leadership is very, very open to that.
Anyways, I'll open it there. Any any Bob, any thoughts on you? I agree. I think at a at a parish university or challenged, I guess is the new name. The leadership is eager for people with solutions. And if you can if you can present some some ideas, I think there's a good chance they go with it. And it's the kind of place where they're where they're challenged and they and they're not. Then then I would look to go look to go somewhere else because we're going to because the coming year or so, the coming months, we are going to see a lot of institutions that have been in that category that are going to close.
It may or may not be the one you're at, but but a lot will close. And just before I open it to Anastasiya and secure what Bob is referencing in our initial quadrant, I labeled low vulnerable, high vulnerability, low value, as Parrish and I heard from a lot of administrators and leadership saying something to the effect of Scott, I'm dealing with covid. Scott, you really don't understand the nuance of the strength of my university. And you're up there in Soho and you are not helping.
And I think that was a fair criticism. And so I've asked all of them to submit their comments on where we got the data wrong. We've consistently updated the data. For example, I was using out-of-state tuition to rank some on the value and they said that's not fair. It should be a blended about a state, an in-state. And we even just change the nomenclature to struggle, because when when an alumni sees the term perish, it sounds as if they were freaking out and calling these overworked administrators who have a lot of moving parts right now, Anastasia's.
Any thoughts on Miss O'Connell's question?
I mean, I have to agree with everything that's been said. I mean, my experience is university leadership is usually begging for professors to be entrepreneurial and to think outside the box. And and, you know, one of the silver linings of this covid thing, and I think you and I have talked about this, Scott, you know, the media and faculty member went from. Online education over my dead body to I'm not stepping foot in a classroom until there's a vaccine almost within two weeks, right.
So that shift alone, I think, has opened a lot of professors and academics eyes to the potential of what online could be. Now, to be completely clear, what most universities have been delivering the past few months is not online education. It is, you know, an emergency Band-Aid thrown on Zoome and other reports, other technologies. You know, what real online education is, is very different. But I do think more and more schools now that professors and academics are more open to even being on camera.
And this kind of I think there will be more opportunities for entrepreneurial professors to try new things and see what works and actually bring revenue to the institution. Yeah, I would say I don't know if what her question was more so about how to help the college, which I don't know if some of these colleges can be if they can be helped. And I'm sure they would appreciate any innovative thoughts or that she realizes that maybe she can help the college exist in the same way and wants to know how can she kind of make it on her own outside in the world.
And there I would say, you know, the things that Scott is actually talking about in terms of how do you promote what you have to offer? That said, I think the harsh reality that we sometimes have to deal with is that not everybody is willing to pay for, like, just the pure knowledge of whatever, and that the number of people who have to offer the pure knowledge of whatever is if it's just I teach this class and I want to know how I can teach the same class to make money off of that, that is going to be a difficult thing because unfortunately, there's probably hundreds or thousands of other people who teach the same thing.
But if it is, I have some unique thing to offer the world that no one else has to offer. And that is what, you know, innovation is made of and what you can build a brand on. And but if you're teaching the same thing that every other person is teaching in a slightly more interesting way, I'm not sure that that's a moneymaker. You know, there was somebody on the chat said something about we have to think about Synchronoss versus asynchronous delivery.
And I think that's really important. I feel like we're sort of mixing all these things up in or online as if it's the same thing as, you know, as this, as if it's the same thing as classroom, when really the class of the discussion section of ten that is done online versus in the classroom costs pretty much the same to to make that happen. You know, maybe you don't need the room and people don't need to travel, but it's still from a labor.
You know, if you have a high cost faculty member from a labor standpoint, and I think we can get a lot better about making use of that combination. As Professor G. Said, the hybrid of you can do a lot. You can do lectures that are that are recorded or that are mass lectures and do discussion sections in other kinds of ways. And I think that the current the Kovik covid has opened up those opportunities more just by forcing everyone to learn quickly how to do Zoome and things like that.
But that's been a positive.
My question is around accreditation. So now more than ever, so many universities are offering programs and courses being taken online only or some hybrid version of that. So I want to know, what does accreditation look like for the future? Do you see it changing?
And if so, how is it accreditation really? At the end of the day, just a weapon of mass and transhipment among people who see a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. And I mean, that's that's what I believe the good news is you're starting to see universities that are so desperate for capital, like the University of Pittsburgh, they've partnered with Outlier, which is our calculus, has been taught the same way for the last hundred years. Calculus is a seven billion dollar business in the United States, at least.
Calculus courses cost kids seven thousand seven billion dollars a year. So we're going to teach it at two hundred bucks. And we've got the University of Pittsburgh to award accreditation or units such that you can transfer into a more expensive university and arbitrage almost like what you do, a junior college two years and going into a university, it feels to me like accreditation is nothing more than, you know, a guild. Do we need accreditation? What's our what purpose does it serve?
This is all you know. OK, I'll jump I'll jump in here or say I have a lot of issues with accreditation, but I think accreditation has been extremely important to this country and it's critically important to to higher education. You go out there and you go look at some of the at least pre covid, some of the storefront colleges that are not accredited. It is not pretty. The for profit schools pardon me. I mean, mostly the for profit schools.
Well, yeah. I mean, there they are often for profit schools, but a lot of for profit. Schools are accredited, it's different to creditors than the ones it's often different creditors than the ones that that accredit the traditional colleges and universities. But there's nothing about accreditation that prevents colleges from accepting credits from students taking a taking courses that have been offered in creative kinds of ways. And I think accreditation accreditation has been really important to preventing, especially the federal government, from asserting direct control over higher education.
The only thing that stops the federal government has been the only thing. Exactly. And that and right now with the president, we have we really need accreditation as a as a separation between between the federal government saying, you know, here's here's what it takes to be a quality institution and instead having it be higher education itself that sets those definitions. There's a lot of flexibility, a lot of things we can improve about it.
But I would be really cautious about opening things up and I would just add that accreditation in the same way that it doesn't prevent a college from taking credit. It doesn't mean that they have to. So you could be accredited and you don't they don't have to. I mean, that's it's a bad side of it. But, you know, Harvard and University of Massachusetts are both accredited by the same creditor. Harvard could say we don't want to take your credit from UMass.
Even if they're so, that's still there. Does it solve that problem in the other direction either?
That's a good point. All right, next question. I'm a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, and there have been recent reports put out by analysts and professors discussing the future of universities, one being Mount Holyoke College. So my question is, if you can provide some advice for those universities and how they can financially survive this pandemic while still providing quality education at a decent price, especially now that we're all online, I think that's become a huge issue.
So that and also how universities can support international students more and also middle class families because they tend to get the lower end of the stick. They make enough to send their kid to college, but not enough to pay full tuition and yet still don't receive the financial aid they need and often have to struggle to come up with the funds or have to send their child to a cheaper school because the schools don't really have any mercy on us. Zakharova. Goodness, I think there are a lot of pieces in there I'm trying to pass out, I would I would start with the end where she talked about middle income students.
And I think a lot of students feel this way. I would say, though, unless you're very wealthy, it is hard to pay for college. And I think that's the challenge. And sometimes people see, like financial aid going to the poorest kids. It's like I even if my family could afford to, like, get me to college, I wouldn't have rather been, you know, so desperately destitute, poor that I needed, you know, a full a full ride scholarship.
I wouldn't have rather had that, you know, that background. It's just the case that I don't have enough to be able to really afford this. So we're really in a situation where the majority of families I funding reports when I was at the foundation that showed like how affordable, how it was and what does it actually mean. And like by any general standard of what you would think is reasonable for people to come out of pocket, even if it was, you know, you had to save up for some time.
Most families could not afford the average tuition. And I think that is when you showed some of the statistics earlier in the pushback you get. I think a lot of colleges want to say that they're affordable and they say, you know, you know, it's not sure your tuition isn't. Everybody's tuition is at sixty thousand or seventy thousand dollars. But the thing that you have to remember is even if your net tuition and fees and room and board and all of it packed together is really quote unquote, only twenty thousand others are quote unquote, only fifteen thousand dollars.
Most families in America do not have an extra 15 or 20 thousand dollars to give. And that's just the stark reality, especially since family incomes haven't really risen when you're adjusting for inflation. So that's just I think we haven't really come to grips with the fact that most people in America cannot afford college. Most people in America don't have enough in their savings account. Most people in America don't have enough to live on if they were to lose their job for six months.
Most people in America don't have adequate retirement savings, and so they certainly don't have anything extra after they should have done all those things to help their kids pay for college. And unfortunately, sometimes what they do is they'll cash out their retirement, they'll cash out these other things. They'll forego things to help send their kid to a fancy pants college. And and that is what's crushing us. So we'd have to have a solution. Unfortunately, I don't have a solution, but I do just want to acknowledge and I sometimes think that people in higher education want to gloss over the reality that most people can't pay for college.
It does feel as if there's a danger zone, though. And there's so lower income kids from low income households faces so many obstacles before they even get to the point of applying to college. It does feel, though, I mean, I was a Pell Grant kid. I applied to school with thirty eight thousand dollars in total household income. And the system or you see, did a really good job of helping me financially. And I remember some of my peers whose parents made a good living, but not a great living.
That college seemed to be more of a strain for them because they they didn't qualify for financial aid. It seems like there's this danger zone in the middle in terms of the students question around what can be done. The thing that really disappoints me is if you think about who's taken the hardest hit in terms of industries through covid-19, it's essentially industries where you consume the product standard and are sitting shoulder to shoulder. So restaurants, sports, hospitality and education.
But if you look at the other industries, they've shown tremendous agility in terms of delivery, remote apps and quite frankly, cutting costs. They immediately furloughed people. They immediately fired people. They immediately said this is our new reality. And my impression of the academic and kind of industrial complex is we all want to pretend this isn't happening and we don't want to cut costs and we want to pretend we want to make strident statements that we're welcoming students back to the campus and everything's going to be the same.
Send in your tuition checks that we haven't had an honest, open conversation with our our consumers. If if I could have a magic wand and say, what should we be doing, I think we should reduce costs 10 to 30 percent across the board or a crisis is a terrible thing to waste every 10 or 20 years of an industry has to cut costs. It's actually a good thing we haven't done it in 40 years. And also to go to the parents and say your kid's experience is going to be impaired.
There's no doubt about it. We're cutting tuition by. 15, 30, 50 percent lean on alumni to help out and have an open, honest conversation, but this is consensual hallucination that we look forward to welcoming the kids back. And to me and by the way, at NYU, we're raising tuition three and a half percent because nothing's wrong. And it just strikes me, as every other industry is facing the music and education isn't. And I think it's only I think denial is exceptionally expensive and only makes our children bigger and more easily shattered in the next few weeks.
Bob or Anastasia, any thoughts? Well, I mean, I agree, although I would say that a lot of schools are furloughing a lot of people right now. So I don't I don't want the community thinking that everybody is fully employed in higher ed. A lot of institutions are making really hard choices. I've talked to clients who are trying to decide what percentage of people are going to go on furlough, and that was in April. So it is happening.
I will say it tends to be happening at the schools on your list that I can't remember the nomenclature now, but are in the struggle or challenged more than I would say the NY use and and other institutions. But I think you're right. I mean, I think like every other industry and look, Kyra, it doesn't even like to be called an industry. So I have a feeling I'm going to get some pushback. And even calling it that, they're going to have to make some hard choices, whether it's systemic choices or they have to just deal with the current crisis depends on the institution.
Right. Scott, we've talked about that. Like, you know, the schools that are going to thrive may have to do short term cuts, but I don't think they're going to cut their faculty numbers dramatically over over the long term. I just don't think that's going to be what their play is. I think other institutions are going to have to make those hard choices. Bob, any thoughts? I agree.
There's a lot of denial going on. I think the competitive pressures are really problematic, especially among a lot of the residential colleges where they feel that they will have that decline in enrollment. If they don't make that they don't make it seem like they're going to be in person when the reality may well be that they cannot be in person. And and kind of go back to the anti-trust issue. The U.S. Department of Justice has been ridiculous over the past couple of decades of preventing colleges from working together to do what's right for students and to do what's right for diversity.
And this is a number another example where they probably would have would get in trouble if they tried to get together and say, we're all going online instead of all of us trying to keep. Let's just all announced that we're online for the coming semester. Nobody's going back to school.
Yeah, Google is not a monopoly, but that picture is right. OK, so next question. Hi, Scott. My name is Amir and I'm here from San Francisco, California. I was just curious to know what your thoughts are in terms of like opportunities for growth and innovation in higher education. Is it around, like, obviously fundamentally redesigning the business model? Is it the delivery of education? Is it like the social experiences or and so on and so forth?
So I'd be grateful if you could provide some context there and a stage. I have some thoughts. Why don't you kick us off? Oh, yeah.
I mean, the thing that that's struck me during this whole conversation is we are really focused in most of our conversation right now about the what most people think of as a college student. Right. The 18 to 22 year old who's going to a leafy campus somewhere. But where I think the greatest opportunity and what can really bring the greatest good to the American economy and and is really focus on what higher ed generally calls the nontraditional student, which is defined as either someone who is outside that age band.
So let's say a twenty five year old, someone who already has a family, someone who's working and someone usually who has a few college credits somewhere but never quite got across the line or only took a semester. I think that's where the opportunity really lies, both in terms of increasing access as well as really changing the world and the the the economic opportunity for a lot of people. And there are places that are working on that, but they tend to be, you know, not well funded community colleges.
You know, you can talk about how the state has really withdrawn from that. But there are also some interesting online only places that really focus on that. And they tend to be the ones you see on TV. Right. So there the southern New Hampshire's, the Western governors, the Grand Canyon. I think that space is is an interesting one and one that can do a lot of good. Now, full disclosure, Western governors, I've worked with them, but, you know, they are I didn't know this, but they're the number one teacher of science teachers in the country right now, and they're doing it at a remarkably cost effective way.
Right. They are charged thirty five hundred for six months of study and as many courses as you can get through during those six months. You know, so I think there are some real opportunities in this space. And I want to let Scott. But I may have taken you off, not where you wanted to go. But I think that's something that's really interesting.
I think there's a lot of, you know, out of crisis comes a lot of opportunity, hopefully on the public side. I think that's a real big opportunity for public schools to rethink their business model and get back to this notion of much greater admittance rates, educating a lot more students at a lower price to you know, it's easy. You see everything to the lens of your own experience. I went to undergrad at UCLA and Berkeley Graduate School for total tuition of seven thousand dollars.
The reason I'm here and literally the reason I'm here right now. So the generosity and vision and innovation of California taxpayers and the regents have you see so returning to some of that innovation, focusing on our role as public servants, dramatically increasing admit rates and decreasing costs, I think there's an enormous opportunity to rethink what college should be. Should it be a certification around vocational programming? There's, you know, as as as everything in our society, the people are really getting kicked in the gut here, our middle and lower income people, because what universities have had to literally close down the vocational ones, because I can teach brand strategy on Zoome, but it's difficult to teach.
Someone had a welder how to place a syringe on Microsoft team. So and some vocational schools have been fantastic up lubricants for kids from lower and middle income households. So the more of a European approach to education, I would say, and then in the private sector, there's just going to be extraordinary capital creation here because the willingness of students, the willingness of parents to pursue lifelong learning, different types of accreditation and different types of certification and just the ceiling, a price that's been set by education, has created so much opportunity around being able to come in with a me too product.
There's I mean, if I were a young person, there's two industries I'd want to be looking at right now. I'd want to look at how technology interfaces with health care and how technology interfaces with education. So I think there's tremendous opportunity both on the public side and in the private sector. Zacchia, Bob, do want to add to that. And I would just say with a thing that you mentioned about health care and higher education, I think actually there are a lot of similarities.
And I would go back to something you said at the very beginning, which is, you know, we have the some of the best colleges. But I would say to something Bob mentioned, we also have DeRisi, some of the worst and I guess I haven't traveled everywhere, but it's the same thing with health care. We have some of the best health care, but some of unfortunately, the same people. It's lower income people. Middle income people.
Have some of the worst health care experiences, they don't get the fancy hospital with all the stuff the black mothers in inner cities don't get the maternity ward with all of the birthing center and all of the stuff. And so the disparities are very similar in both systems. The payment structures are very they're not always similar, but they have a third party payer problem and they have a very opaque payment structure that has government interference. That makes it a very difficult kind of industry to reduce costs.
And I think health care is more confusing than that. You're right on that front, which is a hard thing to do, but it's very similar in that we have some of the best. But it obscures the fact that we also have some of the most challenging places. And the way to reduce costs in both is really hard because of how the payment structure is situated. I think there's big opportunities, really, in every part of higher education, I think some of the designing online, the ace asynchronous type education, ways of engaging people with different subject areas, thinking about it, of ways that people can learn and earn that that credit that that can be that can be transferred is there's a critical need for that, especially for someone who who has a background in technology.
And then I would also go to advising. So especially for disadvantaged families, low income communities, they end up being preyed upon by low quality colleges, mostly because the only person they can talk to is the person who ends up being a recruiter for one of those colleges. There are not advisers. They can go to rich folks to hire these these counselors to help them figure out how to get into an Ivy League school. But when a low income family in Pittsburgh is trying to figure out what college can I go to, and really they should probably go to the community college down the street that has a great vocational program that the person they end up talking to talks them into something to into taking out a loan to go to a for profit college doesn't serve them well and figuring out how to address those advising needs would do a great service.
OK, so I have a couple of questions for the panel. I have an 18 year old who's got into got into a good school. It's going to cost. You know, room and board, 50, 60 K, maybe some financial aid, some loans, but it's going to cost our family 40 K, we make a good living, but we're not rich. And Tulane is saying, or whoever it is is saying it's going to be all online, do they take sick, do they take the fall semester off or do we pay the 20 or 30 grand for them to take some classes from from what's now my office and used to be the kid's bedroom.
OK, thanks very much. I am going to not answer just because we have colleges in New Jersey, I would say I don't have any children of my own yet. We'll have one soon and then 18 or so years from then. So I could say what I would do and what my parents did with my parents were very different kind of parents. I got into a bunch of colleges, thank goodness. And they were the ones that said, you know, hey, we don't have any money for you.
I mean, we weren't like we weren't poor, we were middle class, that I don't know what they did with everybody. I think they're fantastic parents. They were just like, yeah, we went to college on scholarship. So you should figure out where you're going to go with scholarship to and and so I think they're always there. A lot lower cost options than Tulane. Tulane is a great school. I have no doubt that they have tried to improve their online offerings since the spring.
Hopefully they have spent all summer improving the quality of their online. But I would say I know that in New Orleans there are a number of public colleges and community colleges that may offer the same introductory content. And I would see about whether in general, whether it was this is frankly advice I always give to people, whether it's a pandemic or not, that there's a lot of again, it gets to what are you getting from the name brand? Is it really all that or are there other options that you could get the same content from and get the same outcome?
So it's a personal decision based on whatever you think. But there are certainly ways to get the freshman year educational content for far cheaper than thirty thousand dollars year. You have a bright future in politics. Well done. Well done, Bob or Astaire's. And I thought I might as well take the year as a kid, kind of I'd say leaned in while she didn't take a position, she kind of leaned it in the direction of there are some cheaper option.
So let me go the other direction to say that, you know, look, if you're if you've basically raised your kids with the idea that, OK, we're going to spend a quarter of a million dollars for you to go to a fancy elite school, and here's the one you got into and the class of whatever war we're in now, two thousand twenty four. You know, there's a lot to this, not the way I went to college, but there's a lot to like being a part of that class and having the experience that that class of students had as freshmen and all the way through.
And if you kind of put the money out there, the school's going to be putting a lot of money and time and effort to try to figure out how do we make this an OK experience. And it will be different from anything that's ever happened at the college before. And they will be able to be a part of that experience. And so give it a shot and maybe the next semester or next fall, they'll then have the residential experience with these people that they only knew online.
So, you know, I think they're both perfectly fine decisions. As long as you're fine with spending the money on the what might be low quality and disappointing education. But an interesting experience nonetheless.
Yeah, I mean, I think it also depends on what your options are in terms of like, can you take will they let you defer or is this your one shot to get into this particular school and how much does that matter to you? I mean, there are so many factors that go into this. I wouldn't want to tell any given individual a blanket statement. But I do think, you know, and I've talked to some people, some people have gotten into schools that they never thought they could have gotten into this past admissions cycle.
And they are all in because they don't want to give up that opportunity. Right. And I'm not saying that's right or that's wrong, but I really think you have to think about that as well. If this is your one shot and Tulane is your dream school and I'm sorry, we're using Tulane, but whatever the school is, that might be worth it. But on the same. But I also think, yeah, there are plenty of lower cost options as long as you think you're going to do well enough at that place to get the opportunity to get into such a school.
Because I do think. Given the way students are reacting and I'm hearing this all over, returning students are, even if their school is not open, they are moving back to that school city, supposedly the real estate market right around you, right around the D.C. universities. You cannot get an apartment because so many students are trying to get there and they're setting up their own pods and setting up their own cohorts. And and they want to be with each other in a setting.
So, you know, if this is your shot, I'm not sure you're going to get that shot again next year. I would just say in general, my advice to people is not to not to have a dream school. And this is why. Right. I don't have kids, so I've never had to say that to somebody. But I just say, like, if you're if you're set on going to one place that one gap and you're to have multiple reality shows where they can have you buy the components and you can't choose anywhere else.
So if you're open to a bunch of different places, that's in general like if you're buying something, if it's like you have to have this or have nothing else. And schools know how to determine. They have algorithms to determine whether you are willing to pay thirty five thousand dollars or thirty thousand dollars, forty thousand dollars based on how many other schools you apply to the kinds of other schools you apply to. So the more you are actually open to saying it doesn't matter if I go to this school or that school or whatever, the the more you have a leg up in that.
And I totally agree that the distinguishing characteristics between a lot of university you get in your head where you want to go is a kid. There is no there isn't that big a difference between a lot of the places we're talking about. Right. Especially so I agree with you. So I'm not suggesting you should do it. I'm just telling you what I'm hearing in the market from a lot of people, a lot of leaders, I would say educational institutions.
I would point out, though, that, OK, so UCLA, Cal. And you went to Princeton, right? Yes. And you went to Vanderbilt, where you go to school? I graduated from Berkeley, but started at University of Oregon. OK, so we all went to the Tier one schools. And I find that when people start recommending that they look into lower cost options, it's usually from people who went to Tier one schools. I still think economically the parents, until it's your kid, the parent figures out a way.
Unfortunately, what I'm saying I'm not saying don't have I have multiple dream schools, but I think that smart don't you don't get hung up on anyone. That's that's what that's what my advice. That's a recipe to get rejected. That's recipe to get your heart broken. It's almost as if that school sense is that you just want them and they realize what I mean. That's what I mean. It's crazy. Unfortunately, though, I do think we we live in a bit of a caste system where the bad brand is just so important that parents ultimately end up deciding to go to whatever is the best brand.
As Anastasia said, as indicated by U.S. News and World Report, which has become this incredibly powerful arbiter.
So I want a brand drives so much of what human beings do. I think not recognizing that is also potentially dangerous. Right? I mean, Scott, you do this all the time. You talk about luxury, branding and luxury. Right. And how much human beings are driven by that and by status. Why would we expect human beings to act differently when it comes to higher education, which is a lifetime brand that you get to wear if you graduate?
So I also think not understanding human psychology and behavior around this stuff, we're not that different when it comes to higher ed as it comes down. I don't want to compare it to a Lamborghini or whatever, but, you know, yeah, it's there. It is a high it is a high class problem, though. Yes. Because the majority of people in America who graduate with a four year degree graduate from colleges that we've never heard of, they're not even heard they colleges.
They are the they are the universities. They are the Montclair State universities. They are the Georgia state, not the University of Georgia or the Georgia Tech. They are the Georgia Southerns and West Georgia State University. So I just want to acknowledge that. And they are great and they feel that most middle class is made up of people who went to colleges like that, many, many executives of big companies. That's where they went to school. So it's not even that you can't enter the elite and make a lot of money in life from a college like that.
So and I want I want you guys to think about this, I'm going to make a couple of predictions and I would like each of you to make a couple of predictions about higher ed. So my first prediction is that we're going to have hundreds of universities begin this death march. I think that the cartel of higher ed increasing prices with no underlying increase in innovation, the cost structure, the electrification of the campuses, I think and there's this new, if you will, recognition that there are other paths or at least being open to other paths is going to result in.
Call it the tier three universities being thrust into just utter chaos. And it feels like it's been happening for a while, but it's about to accelerate. I love that Larry Summers quote that it's surprising how long things take and then shocking how fast that can happen. I think we're about to enter the shocking phase of higher ed. And then my second prediction is that we're going to have numerous universities after an outbreak decide to send their kids home. I think that and I'm not asking any of you, I'm not an epidemiologist, but that's not going to stop me from talking about things that involved epidemiology.
I think that the risks that universities are taking with a cohort that has proven to be super spreaders and high density in a product, in a social atmosphere, that high density within a cohort that for tens of thousands of years has been taught. This is the time in their life they're supposed to be doing anything but distancing that. We are just begging disaster around some of these smaller college towns. So in some destruction and disease. My two predictions, Anastasiya, you're a happy, happy, happy Scott man.
I think there will be disruption, but maybe it's the historian in me. When Gutenberg came out with the printing press, universities were in full panic mode that their business model and they didn't call a business model was going to be destroyed because content could now be read by a much larger percentage of the population and content could be distributed. Right. It didn't happen. So I don't saying we're in the same position. I think covid is going to push schools that were already in severe trouble over the edge.
That is clear. How many not quite sure. What will happen is the strongest schools are going to separate themselves even more. And I think state universities are going to be in a real crunch because of giving tax revenues. It's going to come down again, their contributions from states. And I think they actually could be the most interesting places in terms of innovation. And if more places go, do, let's say, like the Penn State online University of Maryland global campus, I think those are the places where you're going to see a push.
But I think more places are going to survive them than most people think. The super spreaders, I don't know what to say about I mean, I think that's really I'm very concerned about the health impacts of the virus, especially with what we know about who's most spreading, which is right now younger students, younger people in general who are congregating together. I'm very worried about what Anastasiya just said about students who whose classes are online, whose schools have said that it's not safe to be in person together and they are still coming and trying to figure out how to get the human connection portion of that, which makes combating the virus so hard.
But it really does worry me about how we can finish this off in the long term. So this is like a statement about health and less about higher education, but it concerns me greatly. And I think the colleges that aren't thinking about every aspect of how to use all of their resources to encourage students not to do things that spread. So you need to be having an orientation that gives people education and knowledge about like how the virus is spread and what you should be doing to prevent yourself.
You need to be giving them orientation kits that have mass and encouraging tasking from my other, like, non hybrid pets. Now, that stuff does does worry me a great deal if we're not doing the appropriate things to protect. So I will just end on on that note that I think we do have some doom and gloom in our future. And folks that are not kind of savvy to that are not accepting reality about what may happen when people begin to gather.
We'll have to close once they have a lot of spread on their campuses. Bob, I think you're absolutely right on on that. And then on the financially struggling schools, I think the number of schools that we will see close in the next year or so will probably be in the triple digits. I think we can't say I don't think there's any formula to tell us exactly which ones it will be. There are so many variables. And I think but though, from a student perspective, I'm thinking back to the Mount Holyoke question earlier, that if you're attending a respectable college, you shouldn't worry too much about the potential foreclosure because it's a respectable school.
Even if it does close or merge, the units will transfer. You'll be OK. OK, Bob Chairmen's Smith Alasania says. Crosswhite, thank you so much for your participation today. Thanks to everyone for dialing in or for zooming in. This is obviously a very nervous and tense and stressful time. We hope you are well, the one thing. Another thing I would offer is that I think the debate we're having here is different and should not be conflated with the K through 12 debate.
I think this debate around college is a meaningful disappointment for a lot of kids. But I think the K through 12 debate is a profound has a profound impact on households and that's an entirely different calculus. And I wouldn't want anyone here to construe our comments as having some sort of blanket viewpoint on K through 12. That's a different talk show. So with that, with the fine print, if you want more information or you want to go, if you want to download the sheet, please go to Scalloway Dotcom.
If we can be helpful, please send in an email. I'm pretty easy to track down or send one to the prop Prof. Galloway side, but we appreciate your time. We hope you and your kids are safe. We look forward to getting back to a state of normalcy where we can all spill into adulthood and safe and joyous places and get our hearts broken and have those hearts heal stronger and find wonder in things we had no no idea we'd have any interest in and go to great football games and see fall unfold before our eyes.
That was not very poetic. But regardless, we appreciate your time. Stay safe. Thanks very much, everybody. Take care.