A look at the new education delivery

To the editor:

Wanted: 1,000 students to enroll at Franklin Pierce University and Conval Regional School District.

In last week’s Ledger-Transcript, the editor addressed the need for FPU to make some budget changes due to lack of enrollments, increasing costs and need to adjust staff. The editor signaled concern that 12 positions were cut.

On the same page, I wrote an article addressing the growing threat of shrinking enrollment — and sky rocketing costs at Conval.

What’s going on here? It’s easy to see the problem, but solutions aren’t easy to come by.

It could well be that small colleges are being hammered by the new online degree schools. Right here in New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University has set a goal to increase enrollment to 51,000 students in a short time. One of my grandsons is working for the university. It could be this online delivery option and new approach to delivering education is hitting home now.

When we take 51,000 students out of the normal flow, somebody will feel it, be it in New Hampshire or anywhere else. The cost differences are dramatic. Students may be driven by tuition costs and ignore the Ivy League reputations.

If Harvard and Yale start doing the same thing or accept these online degrees for entrance to their master’s programs, it will be some change.

It really hit home with me. If online learning is good for FPU, and maybe Harvard or Yale, maybe it’s time to prepare high school graduates for the future online approach to deliver an education.

I can’t believe the education delivery change is taking place right under my nose. I thought it might happen in five to 10 years, but now?

Again looking for causes. Why is Conval enrollment plummeting? Bigger families must find high-paying jobs. There are few of them here. Population numbers hold steady, but enrollment continues to drop.

The FPU experience is breathtaking to me. I hope we can learn from the dilemmas before us.

Fran Chapman


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