Transparency in Texas

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.

—Anton Chekhov

Academia is a funny place, an expensive amalgam of mind-bending innovation and mind-numbing tradition. On one hand, schools like MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and others are pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Armed in some cases with massive endowments, curious students, and enthusiastic professors, they are pioneering essential research into an array of fields. On the other hand, many schools' stifling internal policies and politics drive faculty, administrators, and students to drink. Old habits die particularly hard in higher education, and many institutions have been loath to adapt to contemporary trends.

And let's not forget the elephant in the room: skyrocketing costs. College tuition rates have long been rising at twice the rate of inflation. The Project on Student Debt reported that, as of October 2012, the average amount of student loan debt for the Class of 2011 was $26,600, a five percent increase from 2010.*

Subsequently, total student debt in the United States now exceeds $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.1 What's more, that debt is concentrated toward those least able to pay it. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that households whose net worth is under $8,500 hold over half of all student debt.2

Against this backdrop, something has to give. Education is ripe for disruption. In the past five years, we've seen the rise of Massive ...

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