A New Model for Containing College Costs: The Lean College

Higher education tuition and the accompanying student debt escalation have not resulted in the promised return on investment that once sustained them. The root cause of these annual increases is an engrained sense of entitlement engendered by mission statements that too often fail to have any direct relationship to institutional purpose and goals. Institutions seem to accept that ever increasing operating costs fueled in large part by federally-funded student loans and larger infusions of taxpayer money are givens and hence uncontestable. This conceptual paper proposes non-traditional business plan for a new genre of baccalaureate institution: the Lean College (LC). It will be an ultra-low operating cost institution. It will be guided by a narrowly-focused mission statement and governed by its primary stakeholders. It will be organized and managed to deliver a value added curriculum.

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