Exiting the University System

Exit is a fundamental right. Balaji Srinivasan, angel investor and entrepreneur, outlines this concept in a talk at Y Combinator in 2013. We exit institutions to show that the status quo does not work for a subset of people.

Exit has been fundamental to building major institutions that exist today. The Founders of the US exited British rule to build an alternative that aligned with their interests. Uber was an exit from the taxi institution. Travis Kalinick was not satisfied with the taxi infrastructure in San Francisco, so he exited to create a new alternative.

Exiting is important because it is a form of voting. Those who exit are voting with their feet. Sometimes you can change things from within and fight for a better system using your voice. However, sometimes building an alternative solution yields better results.

It’s time to exit the University system. Universities in the US have put a generation into $1.7 trillion of crippling student debt, and they have not delivered on their promise.

Exiting the University system doesn’t mean ending Universities tomorrow. Universities are critically important to our society, offer a great service, and get many things right.

Rather, exiting the University system is a gradual vote with our feet to find alternatives to learn, build relationships, and build real skills to be productive members of society.

Exiting the University system is difficult. Reading this post may not incite a positive reaction. Many of us have alma maters that we care about and love. We had great experiences, grew into adults, and made friendships that continue to today. Also, Universities are ingrained in American culture. People love college football teams and entire towns are built around universities.

However, building alternatives is a way to build a better future for the next generations. It is a way for us to show that existing institutions must address the high cost of education that has been burdened on a generation.

When alternatives compete with existing solutions, they force the existing institutions to change and get better.

The best way to enact change is to flood the market with alternatives that provide similar or more value to the user.

There are many examples of these alternatives that will pave the way to a better future. They are already being built. Sora Schools is an online alternative to high school. Praxis is a college alternative that builds skills and a network. Coding Bootcamps with ISA models like Lambda School and Algorizin offer skills training that land you a job. MyMBA is an alternative to business school that focuses on online relationship building.

Exiting Universities is a vote with our feet to build a better future that is more accessible.

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