“Tim Cook is fighting the sky-high cost of a college education by constructing his own school here without expensive buildings or well-paid deans. Classes are taught in local coffee shops. The administrative staff of two works in a church basement. The Saxifrage School, Mr. Cook's two-year old experiment, is seeking to upend the traditional notion that college students need a sequestered, ivy-covered campus—and will endure the price tag that comes with it. He is gambling that for a nominal tuition—$395 a class—they will use the public library, the neighborhood YMCA and existing apartment buildings to study, play and live in.” [more inside]
New York Times:
Mr. Duncan also said the department planned to develop a process to allow any student — whether from Corinthian or elsewhere — to be forgiven their loans if they had been defrauded by their colleges. A special master would be appointed within three weeks, department officials said, to create procedures to apply for relief that are “durable, not just for Corinthian but beyond.”Previously, previouslier. [more inside]
I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me. Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones. Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.
In 1967, Ronald Reagan began a revolution in education by altering the scope and purpose of California's public universities: A higher education should prepare students for jobs. Full stop.
In the Basement of the Ivory Tower. A 2008 article about a place where the dream of sending every American to college has an ugly encounter with reality.
President Obama posted a Facebook video today, and will formally announce tomorrow in Tennessee a plan to provide any American student with good grades two years of community college, for free. Tennessee is the president's last stop on his pre-State of the Union tour. [more inside]
Washington Monthly has attempted to identify America's worst colleges.
Screens generate distraction - biologically impossible to resist - in a manner akin to second-hand smoke. Allowing laptop use in class is like allowing boombox use in class - it lets each person choose whether to degrade the experience of those around them. [CITATION PROVIDED] I've stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction.
College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go. Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid. The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college. Continue reading the main story “Any private scholarship given at the end of senior year is intrinsically disconnected from the college application process,” Dr. McCullough said, “and it doesn’t have to be.” - The New York Times takes a look at Questbridge, "which has quietly become one of the biggest players in elite-college admissions." (SL NYTIMES)
In China, there are now more than 200 Waldorf elementary schools, filled with the children whose parents are looking for a more child-centered alternative to the test-driven state education system. Why can't Chinese schools be more like American schools? Meanwhile, in America, Stephen Pinker argues that Harvard and other elite universities are wasting their resources on athletes and musicians, and should select students by standardized test scores, the way Chinese colleges do. Why can't American schools be more like Chinese schools?
Students who did as little as possible during college continued to drift after graduation [more inside]
I don't always ignore your emails, but when I do, it's because the answer is on your syllabus. "In my effort to teach students appropriate use of emails, my syllabus policies [had] ballooned to cover every conceivable scenario -- when to email, when not to, how to write the subject line -- and still I spent class time discussing the email policies and logged hours upon hours answering emails that defied the policies. In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more." [more inside]
The most striking feature of the Direct PLUS Loan program is that it limits neither the amount that a school can charge for attendance nor the amount that can be borrowed in federal loans. "This is, for a private-equity firm, a remarkably attractive arrangement: the investors get their money up front, in the form of the tuition paid for by student loans. Meanwhile, any subsequent default on those loans is somebody else’s problem—in this case, the federal government’s." [more inside]
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a small non-profit school, has gained a reputation for its adoption of for-profit marketing and operating techniques, relying on prolific advertising and a faculty of low-paid adjuncts to teach its online courses. More recently the school earned the unenviable title of "The Amazon of Higher Education". [more inside]
”Practicing openness and making oneself radically vulnerable is not only scary, it is the opposite of what we are taught to do within the logic of the contemporary university (and society more generally). Our marginalization, meager pay and lack of job security, along with the attacks on professors by students and the administration’s refusal to back up even tenured professors, all contribute to a culture of paranoia and enmity (among administration and faculty, among tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, among professors and students). Even when we manage to maintain our commitment to our students (and we do), the university seeks to capture this affective relationship and use it to further exploit us when we ask for fair wages or better conditions with the reprimand that ‘we are doing this for the students and not the money.’ Just as the practitioners of modernity gutted the erotic and sold us the pornographic, administrators attempt to gut the material and affective conditions of teaching and sell us ‘passion.’” Dr Priya J. Shah: "My Last Day as a Professor."
Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
Who Gets to Graduate? "If you compare college students with the same standardized-test scores who come from different family backgrounds, you find that their educational outcomes reflect their parents’ income, not their test scores."
Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin made headlines this week for having the honor of being accepted at all eight Ivy League colleges, as well as Duke, Stony Brook University, SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University. This is the essay he credits with a big part of his success.
I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
Inside a For-Profit College Nightmare (SLSalon)
Bloomberg has been publishing a series of articles on the misdeeds of the fraternity system in the U.S., particularly how Greek organizations "dodge liability for mayhem at their local chapters, oppose anti-hazing bills in Congress and pressure colleges to drop restrictions on recruiting freshmen as pledges. Colleges face litigation from fraternities and the withholding of donations by wealthy alumni." [more inside]
The Course of Their Lives. While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.) [more inside]
Academics are farmers and intellectuals are hunters - and the hunters may be the future of the liberal arts, writes Jack Miles.
Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal. "The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education - saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy."
Don't go to art school. Why it's a bad idea and what you can do with the money instead.
"Students are told, reassuringly, that there is no such thing as failing the Accuplacer or the COMPASS. But there is: students who score below a certain number, or “cut score,” flunk the test for credit-bearing work." The consequences can be dramatic.
Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well... [more inside]
A MOOC on planning and running MOOCs run by a leading MOOC company has spectacularly collapsed [more inside]
Educational Attainment and Underemployment "The number of college graduates is expected to grow by 19 million, while the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree is expected to grow by fewer than 7 million. We are expected to create nearly three new college graduates for every new job requiring such an education. Currently, more than 20 million college graduates are underemployed—working in jobs requiring less education than they have, but that number will likely soar to nearly 30 million in the coming decade as a consequence of the number of graduates growing by 12 million more than the number of jobs."
"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."
This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us." 300+ outraged comments (and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US. [more inside]
Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
Last year, The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art publicly admitted it was in dire financial straits and raised the idea of charging tuition for the first time in 110 years. The students responded in an appropriate manner. But now as the specter of tuition becomes closer to reality the students took a more drastic option: Since Monday, eleven undergraduate students have expertly barricaded themselves inside the top floor of the New York college. They talk about what they want. They even get pizza. [more inside]
"Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?" Young entrepreneurs are ditching college in droves, seen by some as a bad investment while dropping out is a "badge of honor" in Silicon Valley, whose lionized heroes include Zuckerburg, Jobs, and Gates - all college dropouts themselves.
In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.Napster, Udacity, and the Academy - about how online education startups are changing the notion and practice of higher education - by Clay Shirky (previously)
McGill could lose $90 million from PQ decision to scrap tuition increases. The administration is not amused.
Many people say that a law degree enables the holder to do virtually anything. Am Law Daily explores the logical fallacies behind this statement.
Discover Magazine posted a couple of blog entries about the law school scam as a cognitive bias and why law school tuition isn't more dispersed.
A Conversation With Bill Gates About the Future of Higher Education at the Chronicle of Higher Education. As always, Bill is honest and interesting as he talks about new developments and how they fit into a realistic view of the next 10-20 years of higher ed.
A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.
More Universities Should Shut Down Their Computer Science Programs
With the number of LSAT test takers in sharp decline, has the law school tuition bubble finally burst?
Tom Monaghan had a dream: To create a law school and surrounding community that would adhere strictly to Catholic values. Things have not gone according to plan. [more inside]
A student group has a novel idea to reduce college costs: pay nothing up front, instead paying out 5% of their income to the UC system for 20 years after graduation.
There has been an increasing outcry over the bleak job prospects facing law school graduates. Paul Campos, author of the "Inside The Law School Scam" blog, argues that continued high enrollment at law schools may be due to "lemming psychology".
Our Universities: Why Are They Failing? The New York Review of Books has a lengthy review of several books about problems in higher education, pulling together the various causes that ultimately lead to universities failing to educate students. [more inside]