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The Economics Of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, And Highly Selective Education

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  • Caroline Hoxby

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    (Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    I consider how online postsecondary education, including massive open online courses (MOOCs), might fit into economically sustainable models of postsecondary education. I contrast nonselective postsecondary education (NSPE) in which institutions sell fairly standardized educational services in return for upfront payments and highly selective postsecondary education (HSPE) in which institutions invest in students in return for repayments much later in life. The analysis suggests that MOOCs will be financially sustainable substitutes for some NSPE, but there are risks even in these situations. The analysis suggests that MOOCs will be financially sustainable substitutes for only a small share of HSPE and are likely to collapse the economic model that allows HSPE institutions to invest in advanced education and research. I outline a non-MOOC model of online education that may allow HSPE institutions both to sustain their distinctive activities and to reach a larger number of students.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 13-024.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:13-024

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    1. Han Kim, E & Morse, Adair & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Are Elite Universities Losing their Competitive Edge?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2012. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Working Papers 18626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Melitz, Marc J., 2005. "When and how should infant industries be protected?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 177-196, May.
    4. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2012. "Does Generosity Beget Generosity? Alumni Giving and Undergraduate Financial Aid," NBER Working Papers 17861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Clotfelter, C. T., 2003. "Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-120, April.
    6. Grossman, Gene M & Horn, Henrik, 1988. "Infant-Industry Protection Reconsidered: The Case of Informational Barriers to Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 767-87, November.
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