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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

Scoring my COVID Predictions Part 3 – A Shift in Education

Johnny Depp running from student debt
The cost of college should be coming down based on technological innovations

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Mark Twain

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelo

Prediction 3 – High school and college education will adopt a lower cost online model. With notable exceptions!

My thesis for this prediction was that colleges need the constant inflow of tuition payments, and all but the top tier schools would adopt remote learning as they realized the profit potential. With constant demand for their services, colleges could reduce tuitions and deliver a remote education without all the overhead. I further predicted that top tier schools would NOT do this because it would dilute the brand.

I got this right, with a caveat! As with my earlier predictions, I failed to take human nature into account. With rapidly increasing college tuition prices, I saw this as a great opportunity to simultaneously deliver low cost/high quality remote learning while also assisting students who were taking on enormous debt for the education.

Remote learning has expanded.

One of my daughters finished her Master of Science in Nursing almost completely online, and another daughter completed her BA from a top tier school. Both of my other daughters were able to take online courses for their undergraduate degrees from top state schools. Were these low-cost options? Nope. They were paying essentially the same rate as they would for in person instruction. While it was more convenient, all of them complained about the quality of instruction and the interaction with their professors. Furthermore, they didn't understand why they were paying the same price as in person tuition.

Neither do I.

What about top tier schools? Can I get an MBA from Harvard online? Nope. What about Princeton or Stanford? Nope. Although all are happy to provide you with an online course with a certificate suitable for framing! Apparently the allure of high online profit margins is one that can't be resisted, regardless of the size of your endowment. Harvard's $40 billion can only go so far!

As predicted, online education is greatly expanding at the undergraduate and graduate levels, however that is not translating into decreasing college tuition costs. Also as predicted, the Ivy League schools are not joining the online revolution for graduate degrees because it risks diluting their brand.

What a shame.

Higher Education could be made attainable for a much larger segment of the population if we leveraged technology to make undergraduate school more affordable. I wonder why politicians aren't talking about that?


The PMI® Talent Triangle® is evolving. The current categories are Technical Project Management, Strategic and Business Management and Leadership. That is evolving to Ways of Working, Business Acumen and Power Skills. It is a fascinating change, and one that I’ll cover in a future post.


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