As college costs rise rapidly in most places, Texas and Florida are trying to implement something that has become a radical notion: a degree that costs only $10,000.Texas governor Rick Perry announced this goal for his state last year. (Perry was inspired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who had remarked that online learning ought to make it possible for students to pay just $2,000 per year for college.) In November, Florida governor Rick Scott announced that he, too, wanted to see state colleges offer bachelor’s degrees for $10,000 or less. In Texas, ten colleges have signed on (some of them working together in a partnership), while in Florida, twelve colleges — nearly half of the 23 four-year colleges in the Florida community-college system, which includes both two-year and four-year institutions — either have developed proposals or are in the process of doing so.
Considering that the nation’s public colleges cost $13,000 per year on average for tuition, room, and board, while private colleges cost an average of $32,000 a year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ 2010–11 academic-year numbers, Texas and Florida colleges have their work cut out for them. But there is plenty of demand for cheaper degrees: Some 57 percent of Americans think students are not getting enough value for the money they spend.
What can't continue, won't. The market adapts.