Student Debt: What's Been Driving College Costs So High, Anyway?
Kirwan says cost-cutting must become a priority for more higher ed institutions – and he sees technology, like the systems he has used to redesign courses, as a big part of the solution.
"This is an absolutely critical moment for our nation," he says. "We are at risk of losing our competitive edge.... Every other enterprise I know of in America, except maybe symphony orchestras, has been able to find ways to use technology to lower their cost structure."
Callan agrees, but adds that the student-loan crisis should be a call to rethink the higher-ed finance system in a more fundamental way.
"In this country, every generation has paid for the bulk of the education costs of the generation that came behind it, through taxes or parental support," he says. "Now we're saying, 'you're on your own, pay for it out of future earnings,' even though there's not a lot of confidence that those earnings will be as good as in previous years.... Is this really the way we should fund education in this country?"