Despite the political backlash and uncertainty for the macroeconomy brought upon by their plan, the Biden Administration remains steadfast in its argument that it is a vital step for Americans in the ultimate goal of solving the student debt crisis. Moreover, they believe it to be an efficient and sustainable solution — they maintain that because of the high default rates for student loans, the actual cost of the debt forgiveness plan will be lower than the theoretical expectation; however, the specifics of that value have proven to be difficult to calculate.
Downward trends in enrollment have had a ripple effect at institutions across the country. As decreases in enrollment continue, schools are feeling pressure to keep tuition affordable. Although inflation has pushed up the prices of most goods and services, the necessity for more students has incentivized institutions to keep tuition prices relatively low.
The cost of education has increased by over 100% in the last 20 years—a much higher rate compared to most other industries. This increase in the cost of education is paralleled by the increasingly widespread mentality that you need a college education in order to earn a good living. While this may generally be true across many industries, a college education does not reap the same value for every individual.
The online education industry is expected to experience rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic since the majority of schools are closed. The leading online education companies such as Chegg, Coursera, and Udacity may have promising long-term growth due to the COVID-19 lockdown, but they may not be optimal investments as of now.
The pandemic has left many industries helpless, but edtech-based companies have been witnessing their sales skyrocket as the outbreak came to be a blessing in disguise for the industry. Let us take a look at how COVID-19 has acted as a game changer for edtech.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one key demographic may remain home even after the quarantine ends: women. Since the start of the pandemic, women have been leaving at a rate 4 times greater than their male counterparts. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 617,000 women left the workforce in September 2020, compared to 78,000 men. This great disparity isn’t just a consequence of gender inequality in the workplace. It’s a result of the forced division of labor between men and women in nuclear families, pressuring women with children and other family obligations to prioritize the needs of others over their own professional fulfillment.
Higher education is a lucrative industry. Millions of students funnel billions of dollars into universities to not only attain an undergraduate degree but to also live the so-called “college experience.” But just like every other industry, it has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and students are rethinking whether the virtual, online college experience is worth the high price tag.
As Berkeley students, we’ve had our fair share of instructors. There are those that assign easy write-ups, or notoriously hard papers. Some remember the thought-provoking discussions or the fascinating science demonstrations they saw in class. But a large proportion of these instructors are lecturers, not professors. Every year, they struggle with low pay, a demanding workload and the possibility of not getting a job the following semester.
Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) is a video conferencing software which has been widely adopted by businesses, schools, and other institutions as a means of communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. Relatively unknown prior to the pandemic, its convenience (45-minute meetings are free) and friendly user interface have led to Zoom skyrocketing in popularity from around 10 million users in December 2019 to over 200 million users in March 2020, solidifying its domain amongst competitors such as Discord, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.
UC Berkeley’s policy decisions this past spring around remote learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic elicited a wide range of reactions from my peers. One of my classmates, Dick, was ecstatic as he opted for the Passed/Not Passed grading option for all of his classes—saving his GPA from completely tanking. Many of my graduating friends, on the other hand, were despondent as their last semester at Berkeley was cut short, leaving them prematurely saying goodbye to all their friends and the place they had called home for four years.