One thing I believe should change in (American) university is tuition; although I don’t know how feasible it is. The other day I was on Facebook, and my high school teacher from the States posted that he finally paid off his student loan, after like twenty years.
I’m privileged enough that my parents paid for my tuition. As an international student, if I don’t have proof of funding for my college education, be it internal (from me myself or from my family) or external (from a grant or scholarship), I won’t be issued an I-20, or permission to study in United States. This country initially made of immigrants seems to have great fear of foreigners trying to stay here illegally.
As an international student, it is also illegal for me to work outside of campus, and obviously on campus work is not profitable enough for me to be financially independent. I graduated college one year early because I felt bad spending their money as an adult and didn’t want to rely on them any more.
Even now I look back on how much my parents put on my education, I still feel ridiculous. Higher education is important and it changed a lot of aspects of my life, but is it worth so much money? If I was back at age 15 and making the decision of attending an international high school to prepare myself for studying abroad or a traditional high school, I will 100% chose the latter. This “debt” to my parents also affected a lot of my life decisions – I can’t be unemployed or do jobs that make little money but important (like high school teachers); they’ve spent 2 million yuan on me. I have to do things that make it worth.
When MOOCs first came out I thought it would be the future of higher ed. I mean, a lot of universities are doing their own online classes. Under this quarantine classes are forced to transform into an online format, and some of them are working just fine. If in the end one is enrolled in college and taking most classes online anyways, what is the point of paying so much tuition?
But turns out MOOCs are not working that well. Coursera provides paid, verified certificate for course completion, but probably not a lot of companies acknowledge that. The intro classes are fine, but hardly any advanced level classes. One needs to actually work in a lab for some science classes. Face-to-face communication between the professor and students are important for seminars. There is still a long way to go for MOOCs.
As far as I know Virginia Tech is not issuing refunds of spring tuition to students, because “instructional costs have gone up after the university moved nearly 6,000 of its classes online“. Business Insider outlined a bright future of higher ed: “it’s (tuition) only going to get worse.”