Book Discussion: College Disrupted, The Great Unbundling of Higher Education

For today’s blog post the book, College Disrupted, The Great Unbundling of Higher Education by Ryan Craig will be discussed in relation to concerns for college bound students. Craig is the Founding Managing Director of University Ventures, a private equity fund focused on next-generation higher education companies. He also founded Wellspring Academies where I served as Executive Director in Brevard, NC. Craig’s insight into higher education is unmatched, and his book provides valuable information on the trends in higher education with some important points for college-bound students.

Craig states that the Great Unbundling of higher education is underway. “Unbundling” refers to, in simplistic terms, the unbundling of the four R’s: Rankings, Research, Real Estate, and Rah! (sports). Craig points out that rather than being penalized for spending in these areas, colleges and universities are rewarded in terms of rankings based on amount spent. He foresees the advent of double-click degrees and the rise of competency management platforms, and he predicts the end of the crises of affordability.

So what value do students currently get from an investment in higher education? Craig points out that we have the highest level of matriculation in the world with 70 percent of US high school students attending college. Overall, only 55 percent of students at four-year institutions and an astounding 29 percent for two-year colleges graduate. Some state universities graduate fewer than 25 percent of students within six-years of enrollment! While we have the highest level of matriculation, we also have the lowest level of completion.

Craig’s points here can illustrate the importance of making the proper college selection and why the investment in an educational consultant can be one of the best investments a parent can make. Ensuring your child is matched with a college or university that will position them for success is critical. College bound students often take an idyllic view of their chosen schools without considering potential pitfalls. Craig relays an account of how Sarah Palin, while attending five institutions before finally graduating, initially made the ill-informed decision to matriculate to University of Hawaii-Hilo in order to enjoy the Hawaiian sunshine. Unfortunately Hilo is on the rainy, volcanic side of the Big Island with fewer than 40 days of sunshine per year- resulting in her transferring after the first semester. In my practice I see many students poised to make similar mistakes, but with a relatively small investment in a consultation students can avoid potential catastrophes.

Another issue raised by Craig in his book is the concept of “avoiding the pause.” In a study out of Florida State University, it was found that 94 percent of community college students in Texas pressed pause on their studies at least once, and only about half ever restarted. A second pause pretty much spells death as only 5 percent or less of those who pause for a second time ever restart. Avoiding the pause is another concept that illustrates the importance of picking the right school the first time around.

Students should not only consider the location of the school but the difficulty of the coursework but also majors offered, extra-curricular activities, graduation rates, tuition costs, and a multitude of other factors which relate to the likelihood of success of the student. Students need to go to college with the intent of finishing and avoid the “pause.” The best way to ensure the success of a student is to get a second outside opinion for best placement with a reputable Independent Educational Consultant.

You can purchase Craig’s book off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/College-Disrupted-Unbundling-Higher-Education/dp/1137279699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426598280&sr=8-1&keywords=ryan+craig