AI Will Shrink The University

Jun 28, 2024

With all the AI attention on teaching and tutoring, with major budget challenges ahead, and with most of the spending outside the classroom, colleges need to embrace AI in order to shrink.

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The Financial Responsibility Emperor Has No Clothes

Jun 21, 2024

The demise of University of the Arts demonstrates that current financial guardrails aren’t working. Colleges and universities at risk of not making payments or payroll should not be able to make up for that fundamental weakness with another financial metric.

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Interns Take A Star Turn

Jun 7, 2024

Outside of brand-name schools, failure to bake relevant work experience into postsecondary programs is a recipe for anachronism. It’s time for colleges to get serious about internships.

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What Seafood Towers Tell Us About College Majors

May 24, 2024

Seafood towers are not only a good way to run up a restaurant bill, they’re also a good way to understand majors. If it doesn’t have at least two tiers, restaurants shouldn’t be selling it as a seafood tower. Likewise, if majors don’t have two tiers, colleges shouldn’t be offering them.

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Victims Of The “Googlification” Of The Classroom

May 10, 2024

Higher education’s go-along, get-along attitude to the Googlification of the classroom is yet another example of colleges doing the easy thing rather than the right thing for students.

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Fateful FAFSA Failure

Apr 27, 2024

The FAFSA failure is a talent problem that sheds light on the higher education system FAFSA props up. Degrees shouldn’t be the only pathway to managing contractors for a federal agency or moving a 40- year-old COBOL form to the Cloud, and definitely not the only subsidized path.

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About Ryan Craig

Ryan is a Managing Director at Achieve Partners and was formerly an MD at University Ventures. Ryan’s commentary on where the puck is going in education and workforce regularly appears in the biweekly Gap Letter, Forbes, and Inside Higher Education. He is the author of the book Apprentice Nation: How the "Earn and Learn" Alternative to Higher Education Will Create a Stronger and Fairer America (2023). He is also author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College (2018), which describes the critical importance of last-mile training and the emergence of bootcamps, income share programs, staffing and apprenticeship models as preferred pathways to good first digital jobs and was named in the Wall Street Journal as one the Books of the Year for 2018. Ryan’s first book was College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education (2015), which profiles the coming shift toward competency-based education and hiring. Ryan is a co-founder of Apprenticeships for America, a national nonprofit dedicated to scaling apprenticeships across the U.S. economy and is a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.

Previously, Ryan led the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus. His prior experience in higher education was at Columbia University. Ryan also founded and built Wellspring, a national network of boarding schools and summer camps for overweight and obese children, adolescents, and young adults. He began his career at McKinsey & Co.

Ryan received bachelor's degrees summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School.


With millions of unfilled jobs, technology skill requirements advancing at a breakneck pace, tens of millions of workers out of position relative to what employers are seeking, and postsecondary education and workforce development systems that have largely refused to budge, we need unprecedented innovation in order to rekindle the American Dream of continued growth and shared opportunity. While traditional colleges and universities must play a leading role, the socioeconomic solutions we need won’t only come from higher education, but from a range of public, not-for-profit, and private actors, and via new pathways that may not be immediately recognizable as education or training.

The biweekly Gap Letter, successor to the UV Letter (2011-18), aspires to keep readers apprised of the latest ideas and developments in higher education and at the intersection of education and employment with a perspective that aims for candid and never boring. Thanks for your consideration.

- Ryan Craig

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