We’re happy to report that we have launched Sphere College Project’s first three courses in Asheville; we are excited about the possibilities that they bring for increased community engagement. The courses begin in two weeks; please tell everyone you know (we’ve put them up on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=88784573248).
We’ve opted to launch this as a soft opening, running the courses on a donation basis to raise funds for our Minority Contractor Mentorship Program. Sphere will always provide educfree, and pation on a sliding scale. While we believe that education should be eople in need may even earn a stipend to undertake schooling, this type of system will only thrive when people who have the means to pay do so. If you are able to pay, then, feel free to donate a larger sum of money; this will help us offer these courses for those who cannot afford as much.
Speaking of money, and the cost of education, it is well advised by many to consider the real “costs” and value of a modern education. It is shocking to learn that national student debt is $1.3 trillion today, and that the average student graduates with $37,000+ in student debt, sometimes without job prospects. The cost of a traditional higher education today continues to outpace the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In fact, since 1985, college tuition has risen by 538% compared to a 121% increase in the CPI (Deloitte University Press). Additionally, college enrollments peaked in 2011. What does all of this mean? It means fewer people will be able to actually afford college. The ones who cannot afford it but still want to attend will go deeply into debt to afford it, possibly affecting their lives forever.
What else? You will begin to see more and more colleges and universities across the country floundering. In fact, earlier this month, my colleague Bryan Alexander noted in his blog that Saint Joseph’s College , a private, Catholic liberal arts institution in northwestern Indiana, announced that it will “suspend all activities” after this academic year, due to financial difficulties. It turns out that these financial difficulties amount to some $100 million. And, Bryan says, this will not be the last. (https://bryanalexander.org/2017/02/08/indiana-college-to-close/)
Given all these realities, it might be worth it to ask yourself, “What is the most efficient pathway to what I want in life?” Exploring this question with a mentor – in advance of engaging in a form of higher education – could well save you time, money, and heartache. This is the kind of mentorship that Sphere can do. There are others in the community that can help, too.
Now is the time to be as clear as you can about what you want to do, or to find courses you can take within your means, like the ones we are offering at Sphere.
See you there!