The student loan debacle — because that’s exactly what it is — will have an impact beyond its damage to the finances of the hapless borrowers. It will also increase pressure on the post-secondary education system to deliver more measurable benefits in relation to costs. In other words, jobs.
We can debate all we like, the value of a “liberal” education. The reality is that the next generations of students (and their parents who are footing the bill) will be a lot less interested in going into hock for the rest of their lives in return for a diploma that doesn’t qualify them for good jobs in the real world.
This is already starting to happen. Watch for more pressure on the universities to cut or eliminate the “softer” programs, and to take a meat cleaver to costs associated with abstract deliverables like “inclusiveness” and “diversity” — in other words, the whole bureaucratic structure that supports political correctness. Then add the pressure of increased competition, online learning, credentials more narrowly focused on specific skills, and we’re headed for considerable upheaval in the post-secondary world. All of which will be gleefully tracked right here.