Blog Post #1 March 9, 2018- Why Gratis University?
Our current higher education system in the United States is a house of cards just waiting for the winds to blow it over. Due to the costs of private and even our public institutions students are leaving with mountains of debt which follows them like carrying their dormitory mattresses on their back for fifteen to twenty years and sometimes longer. Financing all of your college through loans will usually run an average of around $22,000 per year or $88,000 for four years. At a typical loan percentage rate of 5.75% we are talking about paying back $147,000. What are you getting for your education? Obviously, having a college education and even a graduate degree, are becoming the normal ticket for entry into higher paying jobs in the United States and around the world. Yet many students leave undergraduate colleges with little hope of finding adequate work to begin paying back these loans. Default rates on student loans are skyrocketing with estimates in a range between 17% and 27%.
If You Want a Recreation Center, Join an expensive Exercise Club or Gym; It's cheaper than going to college: What are some of the things you are paying for at a good private university? Having been to some college presentations designed for high school students and even some tours of both public and private colleges, one of the main things I see that is different from when I went to college in 1970 is a country club type atmosphere. Wonderful food choices, great recreation centers with world class swimming pools, bowling alleys, ice rinks and ball fields. In big universities you often get the fun of watching "amateur" sports teams compete with other schools around the country. You also have clubs and activities for every imaginable interest. The academic side usually involves some large lecture hall classes during your Freshman and sometimes Sophomore years (sometimes not even taught by professors, but rather by teaching assistants) followed by small classes in your major with good contact with professors. The benefit of the social atmosphere of a college can be anywhere from great to awful for a student, depending on the student and the school.
Gratis is NOT for Everyone: Can Gratis University replace all of what you would find at a good private or public university? Probably not, and we are not even suggesting Gratis is right for everyone. What Gratis is interested in replacing is what makes sense to you as a student. You become your own guide, creating your own relationships with professionals, retired educators, mentors and other students. You create learning experiences based on more traditional academic pursuits including online lectures, books, research and writing, all of the academic things you might do at a university. You also create learning experiences based on projects and real world experiences including jobs, internships, apprenticeships, shadowing, travel, service learning and acquiring particular skills. You also blend both of those types of learning. In the end you create an electronic portfolio documenting your experiences with examples of your writing, projects, creative work and references. You tailor everything to what kinds of outcomes and careers you have an interest in pursuing. Upon completion, you exit with an impressive digital record that will knock the socks off of a prospective employer. All of this can be done for free or a fraction of the cost of most colleges and universities.
Preparing You for the Real World: Why would such an education look so good for a prospective employer? First and foremost, putting together this type of education is much more challenging than going through a list of prescribed classes and passing tests, writing papers, and following traditional avenues. You must have outstanding executive functioning skills to be successful at Gratis, which is why we are not for everyone. If you can't get yourself up to go to a class, then perhaps we are not for you, although some people can't get up to go to a class because it doesn't spark a passion or they work better in the afternoon or evenings. Perhaps Gratis and a self-directed education would change you! Secondly, if you design the right package of experiences you will leave your education with work-related skills and become an excellent problem solver. A Gratis education is much more than an academic trek; a Gratis education gives you the experiences to excel in our world!