Every year, the New York Times, and other magazines, run stories about the college admissions game. It's always alarmist. The stories are about how incredibly hard it is to get into college. On the contrary, higher education has become increasingly accessible over time, even though competition is fierce at the most prestigious schools. Here are some relevant facts:
1. Out of thousands of colleges, only about 100 are actually competitive. That is, only about 5% of colleges will reject more students than they accept. Anybody who wants to go to college can. Charles Manski’s College Choice in America is the classic text on this subject (click here).
2. The higher education sector is growing within this country and around the world. More people are getting more education everyday. Consider the following article (click here – subscription needed) in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education. Mongolia is experiencing a college boom. In the last few years, four universities have opened their doors in the capital of Ulan Bator. The founder of one university was inspired by the Khans!
3. The for-profit education sector is growing. The University of Phoenix, just to choose one example, provides adult education for thousands. I don’t think the for-profit college will ever displace the non-profit university, but it fills an important niche that liberal arts colleges and research universities don’t cover.
The story of higher education continues to be one of expansion and growth as whole, even though individual campuses may have trouble attracting students and generating income. While it is doubtful that any individual will receive the imprimatur of an Ivy League school, most people, if they so desire, have access to an incredible range of options.