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COVID 19 and college next year...an excellent blog post

sbdad12sbdad12 278 replies13 threads Junior Member
Finally, a blog post that represents what many of us have been thinking about the cost of a college education these days. This is so well written. I want this guy to teach my kids.

Some highlights I love:

C+ E + Ex / Tuition
C = Certification (the lane you are put in post graduation based on the brand/school you attended, i.e., a caste system)
E = Education (learning and stuff)
Ex = Experience (fall leaves, football games, getting your heart broken, throwing up)

-Schools charging $50,000/year or more (Brown, NYU) have value propositions that have been rendered untenable overnight. The elimination of the university experience is similar to SeaWorld without killer whales. Yeah, we get it … free Willy, but I’m not paying $450 to see otters and penguins. Also, we’re not paying $54,000 for Zoom classes.

-Leadership at high-tuition universities are sounding eerily familiar to a CEO during a disastrous earnings call who, in the face of a stark reality, attempts to paint an optimistic vision of the firm’s future to keep the stock from crashing.

-Fifty percent online courses is tantamount to a doubling of the physical campus and returning admission rates back to what they were in the eighties, a time when the unremarkable sons of single immigrant mothers from lower middle class households were given remarkable opportunities.

https://www.profgalloway.com/post-corona-higher-ed-part-deux
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Replies to: COVID 19 and college next year...an excellent blog post

  • SJ2727SJ2727 2705 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    ... back to what they were in the eighties, a time when the unremarkable sons of single immigrant mothers from lower middle class households were given remarkable opportunities.

    Not quite sure how to interpret this, do you mean as compared to - say - the prior long history of unremarkable sons of rich and influential households being given remarkable opportunities?

    I did like this quote from the blog:

    “ A $50,000 “experience” tuition is a comorbidity during Covid-19. ”
    edited May 29
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30768 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Good stuff. Thanks.
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  • sbdad12sbdad12 278 replies13 threads Junior Member
    SJ2727 wrote: »
    ... back to what they were in the eighties, a time when the unremarkable sons of single immigrant mothers from lower middle class households were given remarkable opportunities.

    Not quite sure how to interpret this, do you mean as compared to - say - the prior long history of unremarkable sons of rich and influential households being given remarkable opportunities?

    I did like this quote from the blog:

    “ A $50,000 “experience” tuition is a comorbidity during Covid-19. ”

    I think the author means that with admissions rates the way they were back in the eighties, people from lesser means had a chance to do something with a college education at very good colleges. Now, you have to be really special just to get into many schools. To be very special, you need the means to do so, like test prep, summer camps, inventing a cure for cancer, etc. Good luck doing so if you don't have the resources.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2597 replies14 threads Senior Member
    The author omits one of the points that support their main thesis, but, at the same time, will keep colleges from implementing the steps they propose.

    One of the central reasons for the increase in tuition is an increase in bells and whistles, as well as extending student support services. Colleges have gyms, much better dorms, extended educational and emotional support systems, etc.

    Students who are studying from home of course don't need these, and will keep on paying for them. So they are indeed overpaying.

    HOWEVER (a BIG one), these bells and whistles and students support services cannot simply be eliminated for a year and then reinstated. The gyms and dorms need upkeep so that they don't become unusable (mold in the vests, dust collecting everywhere, etc. As for services - the salaries for these people are a huge expense, and these people cannot be fired for a year and then rehired when colleges reopen. This is not corporate America, in which people can be dumped like so much trash, when they are no longer profitable for the top people. Moreover, these offices take years to put together, and firing everybody means that the same office will take years until it is fully functional.

    Yes, for Fall 2020 and possible Spring 2021, many services will be curtailed, and the experience will not be the same. However, for the experience to be available in the fall of 2021, the university needs to incur the vast majority of the costs of a regular year. that is why they cannot afford to cut tuition.

    Eliminating tenure will not save costs, all that it will do is make faculty vulnerable to political pressures. In fact, tenure saves a lot of money. Academia cannot compete with industry for the best faculty by paying them more. Tenure provides faculty with the ability to do the research that they want, not the research that the CEO has decided is important for that years quarterly profits. If colleges eliminate tenure they will either have ti pay faculty A LOT more, or they will only be able to hire faculty who cannot otherwise get jobs. These are the people who are training the future doctors, engineers, teachers, psychologists, politicians, etc. They should be better than the people who they train, not universally worse. Tenure saves lives (and I am not joking).

    He is a faculty member at a business school, which runs very differently that the rest of the university. Unfortunately, he seems to have neglected to look at what is happening in the rest of the university before opining about it.

    Online classes are not as good as FtF classes, even for large lecture halls. Online classes do not provide the opportunity to walk up to the professor after class and speak to them, or walk down the hall and speak to them. It does not allow simultaneous listening to lecture while having an aside with your neighbor. In fact, it eliminates neighbors and the extremely important social interactions that occur even in large lectures.

    Yes, we will likely need a certain number of online teaching, but the idea that an online university and the replacement of classes with MOOCS is more effective that FtF classes has been debunked.

    Moreover, one of the most important lessons that people like the author should learn from this last semester is that students don't like online classes as much as they like FtF classes. The students also do not feel that online classes are as effective as FtF classes.

    After colleges go back to "normal", most students will almost certainly not choose schools which have a majority of classes online if they have such a choice.

    The author's prediction of tier 2 an tier 3 schools disappearing also demonstrates that they do not know what is actually going on outside his bubble. Public schools do not need endowments. These account for 2/3 of all students attending a 4 year college and 99% of all students attending a 2 year non-profit. They will stay open because they are supported by the state, and because they are relatively cheap - the average tuition at a public university is about $9,000 for in-state. So long as enrollment continues, the university continues, unless there is a state administration intent on dismantling the state higher education system, in which case, having a huge endowment wouldn't help.

    UNM, which is ranked #218 by USNews isn't going to close any time soon, nor will Kent State, nor will U Houston, Texas Tech, UMass Dartmouth, Bowling Green, U Colorado, Old Dominion, etc, all which are ranked below #200, yet none is in any danger of being closed. U Wisconsin Whitewater, U Western Washington, etc, etc, etc.

    It is not "tier" which will determine whether a private college closes either, it is endowment and enrollment. Lake forest College (#92, 1,500 enrollment, $90 million endowment) is in much more danger of closing than Goucher (#112, enrollment 2,100. > $200 million endowment).

    Not only has the author neglected to look outside his own school at other schools in NYU, he seems to not have really looked out of his NYU bubble at the colleges and universities attended by the vast majority of students in the USA.

    In fact, he ignores the students who attend Community Colleges entirely, even though there are more of them than there are students attending all private colleges and universities of all tiers.
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