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Part 9 of my Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2013 series

This trend is one of the few this year that I haven’t explicitly covered in years past: what’s happening to “the credit” – the credit hour, accreditation, and so on. What counts for credit? Who counts these alternatives? What are they worth?

This trend is, of course, intertwined with the hype about MOOCs and competency-based education, along with the ongoing concerns about the cost of higher education, the explosion in student loan debt, and the demand that “everyone go to college.”

For those keeping score at home: in the Fall of 2013, postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.5% from 2012. Enrollments fell at four-year for-profit institutions (down 9.7%) and two-year public institutions (down 3.1%), although they did increase slightly among four-year public institutions (up 0.3%) and four-year private non-profit institutions (up 1.3%). Some of this is no doubt cyclical, as enrollments change as opportunities outside of school grow or shrink. But the diploma gap between high-income and low-income students continued to grow (54% of students from high-income families born circa 1980 completed a college degree compared to 9% of those from low-income families). And opportunities for the college-educated and the non-college educated alike seemed circumscribed in an economy that feels pretty grim.

Debt Nation


The average student loan debt (that is, for those students taking loans – roughly 7 in 10) hit $29,400 this year. (Here’s a breakdown state-by-state of who’s graduating with debt.)

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Audrey Watters


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