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Will universities become obsolete?

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The argument is that universities have become too expensive, from bloated administrative costs, tenured professors who do not teach, and student amenities that approach the standards of luxury hotels. On the other hand, the internet with its possibilities for live conferencing and video streaming can convey the same knowledge at a mere fraction of the cost. To be sure, there are benefits of a traditional, residential college education, but these are not so great as to justify taking on mountains of debt. So, it is inevitable and probably a good thing that universities be replaced by online courses.

This argument is increasingly put forward by people with good judgment (although rather selectively: I do not see anyone arguing that high schools or medical schools should be replaced by the internet). But what should a Catholic think about it? I can only tell you what I think about it, as a Catholic in higher education.

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