From Scarcity to Abundance: Achieving Quality-Assured Mass Higher Education

Peter P. Smith


The United States is in a bind. On the one hand, we need millions of additional citizens with at least one year of successful post-secondary experience to adapt to the knowledge economy. Both the Gates and Lumina Foundations, and our President, have championed this goal in different ways. On the other hand, we have a post-secondary system that is trapped between rising costs and stagnant effectiveness, seemingly unable to respond effectively to this challenge. This paper analyzes several aspects of this problem, describes changes in the society that create the basis for solutions, and offers several examples from Kaplan University of emerging practice that suggests what good practice might look like in a world where quality-assured mass higher education is the norm.


quality, scale, outcomes, assessment, technology as differentiator and enabler, marginalized populations


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