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> a need for degrees as a signal for baseline competence/barrier to entry

The signal is valuable. The unnatural barrier to entry is, at best, unethical.

Ideally, the barrier to the opportunity to earn the credential would not exist. It should be available to everyone worldwide.

Individual research positions should be applied for. Certain practical skills must be taught in labs, etc. But the vast majority of intellectual effort in a Harvard degree should already have all its coursework and testing available to everyone, and at reasonable cost. Otherwise it is not an open competition, it is an institution promoting socioeconomi status.

I think that's part of the issue as it relates to the article. If that accreditation becomes available to anyone, it loses its elitism and erodes some of the value signal.

That may or may not be why some of the elite schools open up their courses but not their accreditation online. It may not be in the institutions best interest to be as open as the ideal you describe.

Yes, and especially as charities that are effectively subsidized by Joe Everyperson taxpayer, they should not be left off the hook.

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