BigBallinStalin wrote:Non-profit education is not excluded from free markets.
And, the line between non-profit and for-profit is vague because both maximize profit--albeit through different means. Both must deal with their price of tuition in competitive markets, so regardless of the non-profit v. for-profit means, let's address the most important issue of education.
The main concern is the price. If it's too high, then potential students get excluded from a higher quality education. And although scholarships for filtering out potential may not sufficiently cover ALL or most students who deserve by merit that lower price, then we must consider another aspect which raises the price of education: costs of business--e.g. brick-and-mortar business models, uncertainty of future reputation mechanisms, and government regulation.
So the next step in my arguments would address:
(1) lowering the price by eschewing--on the margin--the costs of brick-and-mortar models. (By 'on the margin', I mean the optimal business model may be "10 tons of brick-and-mortar per student" or 5 tons, or 0 tons--i.e. brick-and-mortar might not be necessary at all).
(2) "But, BBS, online education or some mix may be disreputable!!!" Many universities offer online classes--but do require some % of on-site classes, so a mix is acceptable in today's world. In tomorrow's world, perhaps 100% online degrees from reputable professors plus a particular certificate and "proof of learning" (e.g. example of one's writing) would be sufficient. This would require news means of production and would involve overcoming many obstacles/uncertainties (reputation problems to name one), but given a free market, the possibilities expand.
(3) Government regulation can unintentionally narrow that scope of discovery. (Also, some reputation mechanisms, e.g. from various organizations which exchange their 'stamp of approval' upon meeting their (un)necessary standards, originate within the market and can produce unintended consequences). Although that may be the case, markets in general are much more flexible than government bureaucracies, the 'give-and-take' of politics, voting markets, etc.
Dammit. An unforeseen shift... online classrooms. So many wondrous things can happen - reduction in numbers of teachers; increased teacher salaries as demand for the highest quality teachers becomes the norm... damn you BBS! DAMN YOU!