Disruptive threats nearly always start with an attack on the large sources of profit. In the newspaper industry, the first real blow was not the replacement of the traditional newsroom as we initially feared: it was the erosion of classified revenue that paid for the newsroom by companies with weird names like eBay and Monster.
In higher education, the real threat won’t be a frontal assault on core degree programs, but the erosion of the most profitable continuing education courses and graduate programs. Coding bootcamps aren’t likely to expand their focus to challenge the preeminence of the degree any time soon. But the explosion of non-accredited programs is beginning to threaten the MBA. They have proven that they can iterate quickly and deliver a more modern learning product at a fraction of the price. Higher education will never be replaced, but the most profitable courses will be attacked, creating revenue implications that have a ripple effect across institutions.