Paradise Found?: The Disruption and Diversification of Funding in Higher Education

Paradise Found?: The Disruption and Diversification of Funding in Higher Education

Edward Lehner (Bronx Community College, USA) and John R. Ziegler (Bronx Community College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9257-0.ch007
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This chapter conceptualizes a process for cryptocurrency to diversify traditional methods of higher education funding in the United States. Cryptocurrency funding augments traditional revenue streams and shifts the discussion of education costs from expenses to a more robust conversation about innovative avenues to wealth generation as a potential solution to fund the mission of American higher education. This chapter acknowledges the central concerns of higher education funding as it explores these arguments as legacy discourses rooted in career preparation, accessibility and affordability, and arguments about the need for a broad-based education vs. more technical skills training. Further, an alternative model to current higher education funding models is presented, and if deployed, this asset class could help to serve education needs by funding research, students, and the academy through an illustrated conceptual framework for funding.
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Higher Education As A Human Right And Its Alignment With Career Outcomes

Viewing higher education as a human right does not mean that it cannot simultaneously benefit the nation and the individual. While Keller (2006), for instance, who examined an international sample of countries, concluded that lower levels of education should be financially prioritized, she also avowed, “College enrollment rates and expenditures thereon are important to political rights” (p. 32). Further, McMahon and Oketch (2013), examining citizens of the United Kingdom, quantified higher education’s effects on individuals’ life opportunities, arguing that higher education is a type of inalienable right and therefore must be accessible and affordable if industry is to access a pool of qualified and well-trained applicants. Similarly, McMahon (2009) maintained that a generous higher education funding policy directly correlates with the public good and a modern human capital approach, an approach through which he argued for considering and valuing not only the market but also the nonmarket benefits of higher education. McMahon (2009) reminded us that higher education confers advantages beyond the economic, which can affect the welfare of households and communities, including of future generations.

Existing scholarship that examines human capital theory and its relationship to the economic growth of the nation state notes that in the U.S., citizens’ well-being, as well as the well-being of the nation state itself, is highly interconnected with the state’s investment in human capital (Clemes, Hu, & Li, 2016; McMahon, 2009; Neher, Patterson, Duffield, & Harvey, 2017). However, Jemielniak and Greenwood (2015) highlighted a growing neoliberal cast to social and economic policy related to higher education, policy which tends to underfund important projects for development of human capital in disadvantaged classes. For example, The Pew Charitable Trusts (2015) observed that since the Great Recession, federal funding for higher education continues to decline, placing a growing financial burden on the states and ultimately, on individual students and families. Leachman, Masterson, and Wallace (2016) reported that these increasing burdens and the concomitant decline in funding are now fixtures of the reality facing higher education leadership, and the almost certain persistence of these conditions is underscored by the fact that after nearly a decade of economic growth, educational funding has yet to reach even pre-recession levels.

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