The US higher education system is the biggest and best-funded in the world, accounting for 2.7% of GDP.
It's system of lecture-style learning, heavy investment into research and mixed private-public funding is one that much of the developed world is moving to emulate, but is this a good thing?
OECD countries spend 1.6% of their GDP on higher education, up from 1.3% in 2000. If the move towards the American model continues, this number can be expected to rise too .
The problem with University
However, recent studies have suggested that this increased spend isn't resulting in better educational achievement, and therefore is unlikely to contribute to economic growth. For example, one study demonstrated that 45% of US students made no academic improvements during their first two years of University.
Instead, rising costs are more of a sign of employers' approach to hiring. Employers know that Universities have stringent selection processes, hiring based on which institution a candidate attended is largely just piggybacking off this process as opposed to truly caring about what a person learned during their time at University.
Top Universities know this, and therefore feel empowered to raise their tuition fees because they know that their name is important, and a degree from them is scarce.
This results in a market-dynamic in which Universities can raise prices without improving educational output.
All of this is to say that the US model suffers from a problem of misaligned incentives.
Digital Disruption - Bringing incentives back into line
The digital revolution hasn't happened yet in education. The education industry lags behind many sectors for similar reasons to healthcare - as important social and public institutions there are considerable barriers to innovation.
However, innovation is coming. New technologies will provide the missing piece of the puzzle and, many hope, will finally solve the problems of improving access to education, educational outcomes and workforce skills.
Tutellus is one startup that seeks to solve these problems and, in terms of the new technologies that make this possible, it's blockchain technology that will power its success. The Tutellus platform integrates students, teachers and employers around the shared incentives of properly preparing learners for a given job or career.
Students get access to high quality courses, teachers keep the large majority of the revenues their courses generate and companies get access to a ready pool of willing candidates.
The native token of the Tutellus blockchain is TUT, which aims to build on these existing incentives through staking, governance and loyalty bonuses for platform participants. Tutellus xxx, yyy believes this will be key to the long-term success of the platform:
"The Tokenomic system of a blockchain platform gives companies the opportunity to fully leverage their incentive model towards achieving real network effects. If participants win, everybody wins"
Ultimately, it's a superior incentive model that gives startups the opportunity to truly disrupt education. The real challenge is persuading employers to move away from the name-signalling economy of the current system and to look elsewhere for markers of quality candidates.
Tutellus has partnered with Cryptonomos to conduct its ICO. The presale begins on May, 10, the main sale on June 12, 2018. An early bird bonus of 10% will be made available to early participants.
DISCLAIMER: TUT public sale will not be open to citizens, residents or green card holders of the USA (including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and any other protectorate of the USA) or other representatives of the USA For more information or to participate in the ICO, head to www.cryptonomos.com!