Some universities to offer $10,000 diplomas in response to MOOCs

| Blog Articles | Share:  

Free online courses have made an impact on the academic world and now state-funded universities are beginning to respond with more affordable diplomas of their own. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)  companies such as Coursera, and Udacity are being used by millions of students and it seems as though traditional state-funded are responding to the new educational model by offering more affordable degree options.

A recent article on the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights a piece of legislation introduced within the California legislature that proposes subsidizing public universities in order to offer students the opportunity to complete a four-year degree for a total of $10,000. Florida Gov. Rick Scott also called for his state’s legislators to design a similar program for the Sunshine State and Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed the same solution in April of 2011.

These statewide plans for more affordable degrees could be representative of a trend towards decreasing cost and increasing access to higher education, brought to broad awareness by the rise of MOOCs. The surge in popularity and enrollment in MOOCs highlights students’ desire for lower cost in pursuing education. USA today

has also written on this proposed legislation stating that calls for cheap degrees could help foster an overdue shakeup in higher education. As institutions contend with disruptive technologies, such as MOOCs, they could be forced to reduce tuitions. The same article also gaged the modern cost of a four-year degree, saying the grand totals for tuition, room and board at a major university average about $90,000. That amount has increased by about 70 percent in the last decade and 700 percent since 1980, according to data gathered by USA Today.
It is worth pondering whether or not this sudden drive to legally mandate the cost of education is one of the birth-pangs of the effect that MOOCs and their popularity are going to have on higher education in general. This could be the financial revolution that so many college administrators initially worried about in the early days of MOOCs.