Price-Match Guarantee! In another sign of the commoditization of higher ed degrees, some private and public colleges now match tuition rates of competing schools, according to Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal. WSJ cites the example of Pennsylvania’s Robert Morris University (among others), which matches the prices of local public schools and sweetens the offer with an additional $3,000 scholarship. As universities adopt the sales tactics of retailers, we look forward to seeing how schools apply Walmart-style “Rollbacks” or perhaps discount certain courses for Amazon’s Prime Day.

Law of supply and not-really-a-lot-of demand: Speaking of rollbacks, good-quality schools such as Drew University, Sweet Briar College, Birmingham-Southern College and others have steeply reduced their tuition “sticker prices,” as observed by the Hechinger Report. In some cases, the reduction in advertised prices simply reflects the actual prices which students end up paying after receiving various discounts, so there is no real cost reduction involved. Other schools, however, have truly reduced prices in response to increasing competition for a dwindling population of college-seeking adults.

In Miami, the Associated Builders and Contractors group reports that 95% of  job seekers who engage with its (nonprofit) organization are placed into well-paying blue collar jobs. “There are shortages in every trade,” says an ABC chapter president. According to The Miami Herald, south-Florida plumbers, brick masons and the like commonly reap $55,000-75,000 annually, plus benefits.

As a welcome counterpoint to the ubiquitous “Top n” lists ranking colleges and universities, the Observer digs into national data to give us the “Top 10 Colleges Whose Graduates Hold the Highest Student Debt.” At the top spot in this list of shame is the New School College of Performing Arts, whose graduates carry an average debt of over $77,000.

What does paying off that type of debt look like? Personal finance writer Tim Devaney describes his struggle to pay off $60,000 in student loans: his savings efforts included sharing a one-bedroom apartment with four others, as well as riding his bike as an UberEats delivery man. If only he had known Nicki Minaj…

In New Jersey, Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester county plan to merge to form Rowan College of South Jersey. Votes to approve the merger are pending, and we’ll be interested to see if these schools avoid the acrimony which frequently accompanies these situations.

Our friends at the non-traditional Wayfinding Academy report that their third student cohort has completed orientation, and meanwhile the school is enjoying a “transformative” period as they “move from a start-up to an established organization.” The school, which initially launched with crowdsourced funds, recently raised an additional $60,000 through a Gofundme campaign.

Timing is everything! Crypto-currency market-maker Coinbase reports on “The Rise of Crypto in Higher Education”: almost half of the world’s top universities offer courses in cryptocurrency or blockchain technologies. Coinbase also provides informative charts of various crypto prices, including this helpful view of the one-year performance of Bitcoin: