View Full Version : Study Finds Public Fed Up With College Costs.

02-17-2010, 02:02 PM
Study Finds Public Discontent With Colleges

Published: February 17, 2010

Most Americans believe that colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students, according to a new study. And the proportion of people who hold that view has increased to 60 percent, from 52 percent in 2007.

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Post a Comment on The Choice At the same time, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said that colleges should use federal stimulus money to hold down tuition, even if it means less money for operations and programs.

The study, a joint project of Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, also found that most Americans believe that colleges could admit a lot more students without lowering quality or raising prices, and that colleges could spend less and maintain a high quality of education.

“One of the really disturbing things about this, for those of us who work in higher education,” said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, “is the vote of no confidence we’re getting from the public. They think college is important, but they’re really losing trust in the management and leadership.”

According to the study, “Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety on Cost, Harsher Judgments on How Colleges are Run,” a growing share of Americans believes that college is essential to success — 55 percent, compared with 31 percent in 2000. But at the same time, a dwindling share — 28 percent, compared with 45 percent a decade earlier — thinks college is available to the vast majority of qualified, motivated students.

“People are increasingly seeing themselves caught between these two trends,” said John Immerwahr, a senior research fellow at Public Agenda and an author of the report. “It’s a new kind of misery index. This is really important, and it’s really inaccessible.”

The report is based on a December telephone survey of more than 1,000 Americans. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.05 percentage points.

The report found some areas of optimism. Nine in 10 Americans say it is somewhat or very likely that their own high-school-age child will attend college, and the majority believe that almost anyone who needs financial help to go to college can get loans or financial aid.

But 83 percent said that students had to borrow too much money to pay for college.

In “Iron Triangle,” a 2008 study of 25 college presidents, Public Agenda and the center found that most saw an unbreakable link between the cost of running their operations, the number of students they can educate and maintaining educational quality.

To serve more students or offer higher quality education, the college presidents said, would require more money — and conversely, cuts in their budgets would inevitably translate into either a smaller number of students or diminished educational quality.

According to the new report, the public disagrees.

“It’s nice to think that we can have guns and butter, but it’s not that easy,” said Terry Hartle, the senior vice president of government and public affairs for the American Council on Education. “The public is not always right.”

Too much of the butter is just rancid lard. Get rid of most of the courses that have no bearing on Western Civ, business, medicine, or the sciences. Make the Lesbian Poetry classes that remain upper division courses. Ensure that every undergrad degree can be completed within 4 years. Use testing on incoming students to eliminate kids who can't do college-level work. Throw out quotas.

There! I just saved higher ed about 10 billion dollars.
NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/education/17college.html)

02-17-2010, 02:25 PM
Oh come on, Ginger. How are college students to be prepared to function in the real world without these indispensable courses (http://www.degreetutor.com/library/choosing-degree/weird-classes)?

1. The Phallus

Occidental College offers the course as part of its "women/gender studies" major, showing up in part three of the course schedule in "topics in gay and lesbian" studies. The class touches on different aspects of the phallus, from different historical opinions to emphasis on the relationship to race and gender. For those of you who are unaware of what the phallus is, it's another word or symbol for a certain part of the male anatomy (the one that has its own brain). Oh yeah, that's exactly what we are talking about.

2. Art of Walking

Many college students have to do a lot of walking during the course of a day, but many don't get college credits for it! Not so ay Center College located in Danville KY. There, professor Ken Keffer teaches a class entitled "The Art of Walking" during the winter break. In the class (as well as a book entitled "The Art of Walking With Kant"). In Ken's class, he discusses how walking has become a lost mode of transportation in a world full of cars and other means of getting around. Lessons are based on Keffer's fascination with beauty and art, and how walking relates to them.

3. American Degenerates

The title of the class may throw you off a bit, as a "degenerate" is usually used as a negative connotation to describe an inferior person. Yet it's that inferiority that is the subject of the course. Brown University offers the American Degenerates course as part of its English curriculum as a way to look into the processes which help shape one's identity. American literature is used to look at how the idea of finding one's identity has changed over the years since the United States emerged as an independent nation.

4. Exploration of Blackness

The same college that brought us The Phallus strikes again with yet another controversial class. In the Exploration of Blackness, students will look into future implications of current issues in the black community instead of merely studying the trials of the past like most courses do. Occidental refers to the class as a "breaking from the mold", as much of the discussion and subject mater in the class is merely subjective and up for debate.

5. Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism

An interesting spin on the subject of racism, Mount Holyoke College's Whitness: The Other Side of Racism, examines the aspects of racism that are often overlooked in the subject. Professor Sandy Lawrence states that the class is a great way to see that "racism still exists and that dismantling [it] will take the work of all of us." The course often takes a look at the advantages that white people receive as a result of racism rather than looking at the typical aspects of the subject.

6. Queer Musicology

In the list of musicology courses available at UCLA, you'll find one listed simply as "queer". The graduate course is considered to be dated from the 1990's and is used to to teach how music may actually sound different based on sexual preference, both of the composer and of the listener. Much of the class is based on concepts from a 1994 book entitled "Queering the Pitch: the gay and lesbian musicology" by Phillip Brett, which evolved from a paper he had written back in the 70's called "Benjamin Britten's music in terms of gay identity".

7. Comparative History of Organized Crime

That's right gangsta; what better excuse will you have years down the road when you get arrested for your own involvement in crime then "I learned it in college!" Williams College in Massachusetts offers the Comparative History of Organized Crime in its History curriculum, where you'll have the ability to learn all about how organized crime started and it's rise to power and fame (and many tussles with the law) in the 20th century.

8. Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism

Gandhi would be proud. Swarthmore College "Peace and Conflict Studies" program offers the "Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism " class to teach us about peaceful confrontation. Topics covered in class include deconstructing terrorism to see how and why it happens, understanding "cultural marginalization", the process of how different cultural groups are separated from more dominant social groups and how and why they become terrorists. Nonviolent solutions (based on past successes) for the future are also discussed.

9. Cyberfeminism

No, it's not a college course from the future. Students involved with Cornell University's "Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies" program can enroll in Cyberfeminism, which discuses feminism and how it has related to the emergence of new technologies over the past 25 years. Visual arts play a big impact in the course, including cyberfeminism in magazines, video games, and interactive media. History of cyberfeminsm art and it's relation to other feminist movements of the past are also discussed.

10. The Horror Film in Context

A little weird, but hands down one of the coolest courses to take on the list. Taught by professor Aviva Breifel at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, "The Horror Film in Context" looks at why our society is so fascinated with not only horror films, but with death in general. "Horror films often deal with the decimation of people who look very much like the audience members who are watching these films. And it's really interesting to think about why people are so fascinated with seeing images of violence".

11. Taking Marx Seriously: Should Marx Be Given Another Chance?

If you are not aware, Karl Marx was a philosopher and revolutionary who introduced his "marxism" theories of social economics and struggle in the 1800's, which ultimately influenced many forms of communism later in the 20th century. The course "Taking Marx Seriously" at Amherst College takes a look back at Marx' philosophies and teachings, and questions whether the communist regimes that grew and fell based on his teaching really understood the or were just poor representations of what Marx stood for.

12. Death and The Nineteenth Century

If you haven't noticed, most of the themes of our list deal with either sex or death, two concepts that everybody is obsessed with (but no one likes to admit!). At Purdue, you'll have the opportunity to take your fascination with death to the next level with "Death and the Nineteenth Century", which looks at the issue of morality in specific novels and poems that deal heavily with death. Each author discussed in some way dealt with death through their writing, and looking deeper into their works may showcase how one deals with death through literature.

13. The Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia

Another course related to sexuality, this class would have been on our radar by itself, but gets extra attention because it's limited to the University of Pennsylvania's "Russian Studies". The "Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia" takes a look at 19th and 20th century Russian literature about adultery. Study of these novels will allow the student to compare the aspects of adultery within the texts alongside the society that read them.

14. Maple Syrup

Believe it or not, Alfred University in New York has been the home of "Maple Syrup - The Real Thing". The class looks into the profession of making maple syrup and how little has changed in the production of maple syrup. The processes used today are very similar to the methods used by the Native Americans, in a world where many of our products are created in factories or altered from the way they were in the past. Expect to create and enjoy different recipes and dishes both in the class and on field trips.

15. European Witchcraft

Some of the history courses available at Oneonta College maybe a little different than you are used to. Who would have thought you could spend an entire class studying witches? Their "History of European Witchcraft" course will take you back in time to a place where witches were the real deal (or so people thought, anyway). Aspects of study include how witchcraft rose during the middle ages to the backgrounds and mind sets of those who were accused to the accusers themselves.

16. Philosophy and Star Trek

While all the cool kids are learning about death, sex, and walking, you can bet all the geeks and nerds won't be left out of their own weird college classes (though they'll probably tell you it's completely normal!) Georgetown Universities' PHIL-180 is a science fiction fan's dream come true - "Philosophy and Star Trek". In the class you'll have the privilege of comparing many philosophical themes of the past along with similar themes echoed in the Star Trek television series, and dwell on aspects of time travel and other possibilities that may or may not exist.

17. Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles

Finally, the University of Wisconsin has a course that would make my mother want to go back to school. As part of their "Women's Studies" major, you can dive into the intense lives of some of television's most popular soap operas in "Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles". The course study deals with how these programs effect the family and work lives of the people who watch them. Also, the class compares the themes and values of these programs with their prime-time counterparts.

02-17-2010, 02:58 PM
What a great country! Only in the U.S. could you get the opportunity to spend $25 K a year for a class in subsistence farming techniques. :rolleyes:

02-17-2010, 03:21 PM
What a great country! Only in the U.S. could you get the opportunity to spend $25 K a year for a class in subsistence farming techniques. :rolleyes:

See I told you share cropping is making a come back. :p

02-17-2010, 06:09 PM
This guy flunked out of The Art of Walking.


02-17-2010, 06:20 PM
This guy flunked out of The Art of Walking.

More like he flunked out of The Art of Drinking. :D

02-17-2010, 06:33 PM
More like he flunked out of The Art of Drinking. :D

Ha! They should hire me to teach that course, I have a PhD in that field of study. ;)

02-17-2010, 06:50 PM
Ha! They should hire me to teach that course, I have a PhD in that field of study. ;)

Don't we all? ;)

02-17-2010, 06:53 PM
Don't we all? ;)

Hey, if you steal my tenure, why I'll... :(

02-17-2010, 06:55 PM
Hey, if you steal my tenure, why I'll... :(

I'm a better shot than Amy - just sayin'.

02-17-2010, 06:58 PM
I'm a better shot than Amy - just sayin'.

Oh dear.

02-18-2010, 02:30 AM
Cutting the stupid classes would be great, too bad universities are run like branches of big government rather than business.

I think the reason why college education is so expensive is simple. It's the price the market will bear. The more government subsidizes education costs through grants, guaranteed loans, and now the notion of forgiving portions of student loans, the higher the price will market will bear. Each university wants the biggest piece of the government grant pie it can get it's hands on. This money, brought in through artificially inflated tuition, is then used to finance that Lesbian Poetry class, and the more interesting Art of Drinking class.