Because of the problems with the higher-education bubble, proposals are being suggested for new types of institutions. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has suggested a “hotel” (with students living together but using online lectures instead of professors), while a counter-proposal by Peter Augustine Lawler suggests locating a college in a small town where rents are cheap (see here) and off-loading the many functions now offered by colleges and universities to private firms. For example, there is no reason why a college needs a gym. If the students want it, I’m sure a gym can be built nearby that will accommodate them. This means that those who are uninterested in a gym or are not interested in the type of gym the school wants won’t have to pay for something they won’t use.
One problem with Lawler's proposal is that it would offer no sciences; it is nothing but the lberal arts. He suggests that those who want science classes could take them at a community college. For some such a college would be wonderful, but people of that age are constantly changing their minds. (One of the virtues of the American system as opposed to the European system is that in Europe people are tracked early and must even choose their major before entering college, a system that just offers too little flexibility.) Those who start this type of college who decide to go into medicine, say, will be forced to quit and go elsewhere. And this happens quite a bit. I attended the local university, as did about one-fourth of my high school class, and I saw what happened to people. Those interested in the sciences (like me) ended up in the humanities, and those interested in the humanities ended up in the sciences.
There were also those who barely made it into college, but who came alive intellectually once there. They went on to get advanced degrees, in one case a Ph.D. I don’t say that that is a problem for Lawler’s proposal; I merely offer it as a fact that many want to deny.