Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Clinton Says Moocs May Be the Way to Build a More Efficient US System: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Clinton Says Moocs May Be the Way to Build a More Efficient US System: News

Article excerpt

Former president tells Chris Parr that online courses could drive down students' costs.

The way higher education is delivered in the US needs to undergo a "dramatic change", which could be driven by the accreditation of massive open online courses, according to the nation's former president Bill Clinton.

At public colleges and universities, the cost of tuition has been rising above the rate of inflation for more than a decade, and although the federal government has increased its funding for students in a bid to reduce levels of student debt, this has been negated by a drop in average family incomes.

"A lot of people will have student debt that goes beyond the federal student loan programme. I think the only sustainable answer is to find a less expensive delivery system," Mr Clinton told Times Higher Education.

"You're going to see a dramatic change because we simply can't continue to have the cost of university education go up at twice the rate of inflation every decade when wages are flat and aid programmes are not keeping up."

Pointing out that student debt in the US had risen by 58 per cent in the past seven years, Mr Clinton said that the "next big step" in driving down tuition costs could be "figuring out some way of validating the merits of these online courses".

"A lot of universities are now participating in online courses, in Moocs... the whole delivery system is in the process of changing, and there has to be some way of saying which online courses give you what you need to know to be certified," he said. …

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