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College pricing pressure


Brenda in MA
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I know our state college tuitions (still cheap) have gone up due to less state funding. I don't dispute the credit as state funding has truly gone down.

 

Our public high school (and schools around us) also have seen costs go up (health care, retirement, heating costs, etc - all non-negotiables) and can only raise taxes so much as per state law. Faculty meetings have been filled with "how are we going to meet budget" talks. Teachers who retire are seldom replaced. Class sizes have gone up. Classes with fewer than 14 students will no longer be offered. All field trips have to be self-supported. Ditto that with state sports competitions. And I could go on. Sure, we have been staying in budget without raising taxes (equivalent of tuition) more than we can, but at what cost to the students? Perhaps none for some of them, but it's a great cost to many of them.

 

I know many colleges have been accepting more overseas (often full pay or close to it) students. I can't blame them. There's only so much cutting one can do without truly affecting the education. Few get rich working in a college and the vast majority of colleges are non-profit. Those with large endowments are fortunate. Those without it may crumble. In desperation they may not be increasing tuition to keep the perks (smaller classes or whatever), but then I suspect they'll start losing out on the students who were drawn there due to the perks.

 

Personally, we're wary of schools who are having financial difficulty as I've seen what schools need to do to try to combat it. It's a tough call. Personally, I agree that some perks just aren't necessary (new gyms, great dorms, super food, etc), but those perks do draw in students (try to tell an 18 year old or many parents that it's all about the education and you won't find many listening ears - except on this board - most LOVE the red carpet and ARE swayed by it). But cutting the budget by cutting programs can also hurt dramatically. It's hard to see a "win" except for those who want "a" degree at low cost. While that's all that's needed for many jobs, it's not that great for those truly wanting an education in their field.

 

I'm not fond of tuition increases, but I prefer them to dramatic cutting. Plus, if merit and/or need based aid increases, then selecting schools carefully can continue to help those of us who absolutely can't be full pay.

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Thanks Brenda. The article you linked is one in a series the that WSJ is doing on the cost of college. I thought this one was interesting. The article begins with a comparison of the cost of a state U for a parent now compared to when that parent was a student a few decades ago:

 

The big difference between now and then: Though Colorado taxpayers now provide more funding in absolute terms, those funds cover a much smaller share of CU's total spending, which has grown enormously. In 1985, when Mr. Joiner was a freshman, state appropriations paid 37% of the Boulder campus's $115 million "general fund" budget. In the current academic year, the state is picking up 9% of a budget that has grown to $600 million.

 

Of course, one may question the reasons that the budget has risen so dramatically...

 

Back to Brenda's post: my son's college is guilty of annual increases in the comprehensive fee (tuition, room and board). I don't expect that to change.

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Elsewhere on the boards, it was recently suggested that one of the reasons tuition has outpaced inflation in the last ten years is because health care costs and the cost of energy to heat the buildings have outpaced inflation.

 

I took issue with the statement, but gave up trying to defend my position. I will here. Come on folks, we teach economics, don't we? Demand drives prices.

 

Think about your own budget. Many of our budget items have gone up in this house over the last twelve months. Does that mean that dh can/should approach his boss and say that he deserves a raise because it costs more to run his house? No! People don't get raises because they argue that their electric bill at home has gone up. People get raises because the company they are working for wants to keep them from taking their marketable skills elsewhere. The demand for the employee drives the price of the employee.

 

(Government policy and union rules can shift these principles. But these are general principles.)

 

If there are fewer students who want slots on college campuses or there are fewer students who can come up with the $$ to pay for the slots, then the price for those slots is going to have to come down.

 

The reason the cost of college has skyrocketed is that the money to cover that cost has been available. College costs start to outpace inflation dramatically when the bankruptcy laws shifted. (Think 1984. Seriously. Think about the post-1984 ramp.) Banks were now eager to loan money to anyone with a pulse. Demand rose.

 

After that folks started to have equity in their home that they could tap. So they could afford college. Demand rose.

 

And there were lots of kids graduating high school. Demand rose.

 

The price of college is based on demand. The administrators can try to cloud the issue by crying poor-mouth and saying that they have no choice except to raise prices to meet their rising costs. And no, I'm not arguing that their costs aren't going up. I'm sure they are. Costs are going up all over. And yes, the easiest way to close the budget gaps here at my kitchen table would be to tally them all up and present the bill to my husband's boss. "Here, this is how much more I'm going to charge you this year."

 

But in the end, that's now how this really works. Demand drives price.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

Add the addition of state lottery funding tuition. That is when we really started seeing a huge jump in costs.

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Of course, one may question the reasons that the budget has risen so dramatically...

 

 

Based on my experience in ps and seeing what has happened with my Alma mater plus similar colleges, costs went up for two reasons. The first are those non-negotiables we have already mentioned (health care, heating, inflation, etc). The second was simply wanting more - newer, more updated (sometimes to code) dorms, new science buildings, better food, more green technology, whiteboards instead of blackboards, computers and other new technology, tutors and other free academic assistance, smaller classes and/or recitations for the large classes, etc.

 

One can argue each and every one of the non-negotiables. Personally, I think most have made college "better" (though I do think some have gone overboard).

 

I suppose it's akin to a family on a budget. Once that family has an increase in their budget they tend to upgrade many things - some were really "needs" that had been put off (esp dorms up to code), some are definite pluses overall (new and up-to-date technology keeping up with what they are teaching) and some are merely wants (that new gym).

 

If the family then loses that increase, yes, they can decrease their budget (back to mac & cheese), and some things can naturally decrease (how many new gyms do they need?), but if they start cutting some of the others, how many students will continue to go there? I see colleges that can't keep up closing or merging. There's just not much use for old technology and those other perks really do attract many students. That's why many schools added them - not so much that they needed them, but having to keep up with College A in attracting students. A short visit to lower cost schools vs higher cost schools can demonstrate those differences. There are oodles of students who immediately cross a school off if the buildings seem old and outdated. They have other choices.

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Based on my experience in ps and seeing what has happened with my Alma mater plus similar colleges, costs went up for two reasons. The first are those non-negotiables we have already mentioned (health care, heating, inflation, etc). The second was simply wanting more - newer, more updated (sometimes to code) dorms, new science buildings, better food, more green technology, whiteboards instead of blackboards, computers and other new technology, tutors and other free academic assistance, smaller classes and/or recitations for the large classes, etc.

 

One can argue each and every one of the non-negotiables. Personally, I think most have made college "better" (though I do think some have gone overboard).

 

I suppose it's akin to a family on a budget. Once that family has an increase in their budget they tend to upgrade many things - some were really "needs" that had been put off (esp dorms up to code), some are definite pluses overall (new and up-to-date technology keeping up with what they are teaching) and some are merely wants (that new gym).

 

If the family then loses that increase, yes, they can decrease their budget (back to mac & cheese), and some things can naturally decrease (how many new gyms do they need?), but if they start cutting some of the others, how many students will continue to go there? I see colleges that can't keep up closing or merging. There's just not much use for old technology and those other perks really do attract many students. That's why many schools added them - not so much that they needed them, but having to keep up with College A in attracting students. A short visit to lower cost schools vs higher cost schools can demonstrate those differences. There are oodles of students who immediately cross a school off if the buildings seem old and outdated. They have other choices.

 

 

Ancient dorm rooms were not wired for a refrigerator, microwave and a plethora of electronics in each room. While many parents complain that modern students live in luxury on campus, it seems that it is parents who send kids off with a car load of small appliances beyond the needed laptop.

 

When I was in grad school at a well known public university, the chemistry building underwent a major upgrade. Labs there were no longer considered safe. Many older buildings were not handicap accessible. An elevator is an expensive addition--not only monetarily but also in terms of space. Offices or classrooms are lost when an elevator is installed as an afterthought.

 

One of the major construction projects that occurred when I was a student on that campus was a huge new sports facility. Supposedly this was constructed without student funds but after the sports complex opens, who pays for the lights and air conditioning? Personally, I would like to see less emphasis and funding on big time college sports, but that is another kettle of fish.

 

About the food thing...It does not bother me to pay a bit more for my son to have access to healthier foods. I raised the boy on rBGH free milk. His college serves it as well as some locally grown produce (in season), local meats and fair trade coffee. To me it is a positive statement that his college is committed to the local farmers and local economy--despite that this might not be the cheapest choice.

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Michigan is down to supporting U of M at only 16% public money. There is talk this will drop again for 2013/2014. It's practically a private institution. Over the years they've gone from 40% or more in public funding as a state school to this. The cuts were often with little warning and dramatic in size and so that left them "holding the bag". In that instance, there is little to do but raise tuition and hope for the best. MSU is in the same frying pan.

 

Of course Michigan is doing an outstanding job of practically bragging for the world to see that it does.not.care.a.lick.about.education. The parents don't either. I talk to so many people that couldn't give a fig about what's happening that it makes me sick. Our local PS will average 40 kindergarteners per class this year and teachers will have one hour of help from a teacher's aide each day. That's it. How many of us can take 40 children, many of whom are only 4 years old, and have them reading by the end of the year. Managing the zoo, that's all it will be. A K'er teacher I know actually refers to herself as the zookeeper.

 

I am very concerned about the price of post-secondary education - even medic school has gone up 30% in two years and other licensing programs have followed suit as their costs skyrocket and their help from the public sector has dropped dramatically - it is going to come back to haunt this state when either all of it's young adults flee the state for better situations or income tax revenue continues to drop since without training and further education of some kind, a minimum wage job for years on end is all the future these kids have.

 

Occasionally, I see one of our state institutions make a fairly awful decision to upgrade the red carpet to woo students. But, in nearly every case, tuition hikes are used to just keep them from eliminating programs or downgrading and ruining their reputation and ranking. U of M, MSU, and MTU are all tier 1 schools with the first two in the top 70 and U of M very high in the rankings all around including internationally. It sure would be a shame to see them fall off that map. However, they will soon reach a precipice. They were once the big name state schools, world class, that low income and middle class kids could afford to attend and be very proud to do so with great jobs waiting for them when they exited because of the quality of education and the huge number of corporations involved in their educational activities...internships, practicums, research, you name it. I don't know how much longer they can hold on financially and maintain that status, hand out merit aid in large amounts, and make the bottom line affordable to so many students. Frankly, I'm very frightened for what that means for the young citizens of my state.

 

However, if demand drops, if students leave, if private institutions pick up the slack and start offering seriously generous aid, if other states begin offering Michigander kids nice financial aid packages - look out U of M, Ohio State or U of O might be barking at your door for your potential freshman class - that may force the state policy makers to take a good, hard look at what they've done (strip mining support) to our top ranked state schools. Maybe then, the situation will reverse itself. If this is addressed appropriately and tuition hikes become very small or are completely abated for a couple of years, this will force private institutions to be more careful about their price increases as well as they compete for students. Two of my boys may enter the college force too soon to benefit from this, but I think there is a chance my 12 year old could be on the receiving end of a more sane four year package cost with a bit more generous merit offering.

 

Faith

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One of the major construction projects that occurred when I was a student on that campus was a huge new sports facility. Supposedly this was constructed without student funds but after the sports complex opens, who pays for the lights and air conditioning? Personally, I would like to see less emphasis and funding on big time college sports, but that is another kettle of fish.

 

 

 

Oh, yes, you preach it Jane.

 

I better not get started. I could rant the live long day about the cost of the sports programs at not only colleges and uni's, but at the PS down the road. The third year of all foreign languages was cut, the music department was cut, and all of the AP's eliminated, as well as increasing kindergarten class room size to 40 students and only one hour of teacher aide assistance per classroom each day, BUT the sports budget saw a 20% increase and the school adminstrator was given a fully decked out cadillac to drive to work.

 

Faith

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i have a love/hate relationships with the high-quality goodies on campus.

 

These are some recent positive changes that we have seen made on campuses we know:

 

* A new science center? Awesome -- better facilities for research, extra space for students to participate in research, etc.

* Smartboards instead of white boards? My kids have explained to me how they have improved classroom teaching.

* Air conditioning in the dorms? Yup -- heat in the South isn't only a June- August thing.

* Campus-wide wifi? Yes!

* A new performance center? Much as they sound decadent, in order to have a decent music/theater program, you need a good place for performances!

 

But then there are the other over-the-top things -- (we have seen all of these at actual colleges)

* Climbing walls. Really?

* Super-elaborate brickwork in the walkways?

* Mahogany and glass "fishtank" rooms with electronic shades for privacy in the science center?

* Dorm suites with TWO full bathrooms per suite so there are only two people per bathroom even though there are four people per suite?

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The 8th graders in our district go on a weekend trip. Every year. They have done this forever. For some strange reason, that never seems to get dropped from the budget. Seriously? Drop that! If only so you can stand there and maintain some kind of credibility when listing all the other things the district needs more money for with a straight face.

 

Two or three years ago all field trips of any sort had to be self-funded from outside groups. It was one of the first things cut from the budget.

 

I don't mean to be cold-hearted in this one. But you mentioned that teachers who retire aren't being replaced. Yes, and those who are left behind - are they being asked to work extra hours, think 10-12 hours per day, sometimes six days a week, in order to cover those lost folks?

 

Well... teachers that used to have 25 or so students in their class now have 30+ (up to 34). Do you seriously think all the grading (in general, but also for those extra students) happens during school hours? Do you think it's just as easy to control a class of 25 as 30+? Do you think all students sit there nicely at their desks paying attention and eagerly do the work? What about questions or individual attention? There's no overtime pay either.

 

So - when you have these discussions at work, and everyone just concedes that kids aren't going to get an education that was a good as they were getting before, consider this: what would you do if the market demanded that you give them an education that was BETTER than the one they were getting before? With fewer workers and a smaller budget? What then? Oh BTW: If you don't, your school might go out of business and your job is going to disappear! What then?

 

Are you unaware of NCLB? Seriously? We ARE being demanded to give kids a BETTER education than they've had before. Parents expect technology and great scores/grades. Our school is slightly below average for our state - and doesn't meet the new standards to the point where we are under state review and could soon be losing our students to other schools that might accept them (not that there are many better choices around here...) so we are under incredible pressure to bring scores up, but to do so with less (copies, books, field trips, etc). We often wonder what is going to happen... because yes, it is an impossible task.

 

Americans have been conditioned to expect the best for little or no cost. We've had credit cards to get the best and haven't worried at all about the bills. Now the bills are coming due, but few accept the idea that they can't have it all. Instead, they want more.

 

And, of course, little Johnny or Jill are hardly putting forth much effort in all of this (in general). But it's the teacher's fault. They need to also entertain and motivate the darlings - without doing it by giving low grades. I think that's a continuation of our entitlement generation.

 

But knowing what the problem is doesn't change the problem. Everyone is open to suggestions of how to change that.

 

Ancient dorm rooms were not wired for a refrigerator, microwave and a plethora of electronics in each room. While many parents complain that modern students live in luxury on campus, it seems that it is parents who send kids off with a car load of small appliances beyond the needed laptop.

 

When I was in grad school at a well known public university, the chemistry building underwent a major upgrade. Labs there were no longer considered safe. Many older buildings were not handicap accessible. An elevator is an expensive addition--not only monetarily but also in terms of space. Offices or classrooms are lost when an elevator is installed as an afterthought.

 

One of the major construction projects that occurred when I was a student on that campus was a huge new sports facility. Supposedly this was constructed without student funds but after the sports complex opens, who pays for the lights and air conditioning? Personally, I would like to see less emphasis and funding on big time college sports, but that is another kettle of fish.

 

About the food thing...It does not bother me to pay a bit more for my son to have access to healthier foods. I raised the boy on rBGH free milk. His college serves it as well as some locally grown produce (in season), local meats and fair trade coffee. To me it is a positive statement that his college is committed to the local farmers and local economy--despite that this might not be the cheapest choice.

 

 

:iagree:

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i have a love/hate relationships with the high-quality goodies on campus.

 

These are some recent positive changes that we have seen made on campuses we know:

 

* A new science center? Awesome -- better facilities for research, extra space for students to participate in research, etc.

* Smartboards instead of white boards? My kids have explained to me how they have improved classroom teaching.

* Air conditioning in the dorms? Yup -- heat in the South isn't only a June- August thing.

* Campus-wide wifi? Yes!

* A new performance center? Much as they sound decadent, in order to have a decent music/theater program, you need a good place for performances!

 

But then there are the other over-the-top things -- (we have seen all of these at actual colleges)

* Climbing walls. Really?

* Super-elaborate brickwork in the walkways?

* Mahogany and glass "fishtank" rooms with electronic shades for privacy in the science center?

* Dorm suites with TWO full bathrooms per suite so there are only two people per bathroom even though there are four people per suite?

 

You and I are very much in agreement. I'll add that I consider better food options a positive thing too.

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Oh, yes, you preach it Jane.

 

I better not get started. I could rant the live long day about the cost of the sports programs at not only colleges and uni's, but at the PS down the road. The third year of all foreign languages was cut, the music department was cut, and all of the AP's eliminated, as well as increasing kindergarten class room size to 40 students and only one hour of teacher aide assistance per classroom each day, BUT the sports budget saw a 20% increase and the school adminstrator was given a fully decked out cadillac to drive to work.

 

Faith

OK. Let's get started.

 

We hear all the time about how much money football or basketball can bring to a school through television revenues. But it also needs to be noted that the highest paid salaries on campuses after that of the president are those coaches. How much do those programs cost schools when all is said and done? I have never seen a detailed analysis that includes everything from the operational cost of facilities to the tutors provided for elite athletes. Complaints about the costs of Title IX abound, but I can't imagine a female fencing team bankrupting a school.

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Quickly on high school sports. Our district cut middle school sports. Pre-cut, the total budget for middle and high school sports was just $250k for 3500 students. It takes more than that to pay for just three minivan w/aide bus routes during the main school year. Sports is not the issue at the high school level.

 

It is at ours. Every district and every state is different. At our local PS, the sports budget is larger than the math and science department budget combined. They have cut three kindergarten teachers in the last five years making the average class now 38-40 with no full time aide, but hired two coaches whose version of teaching "history" is watching a lot of movies and letting the classes go wild, at salaries much higher than the k teachers were making.

 

So, in my district, absolutely sport is the bad dog!

 

Faith

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Just curious Janice, but are you aware that hubby has his own business that is the main support for us? And public school teachers are also taxpayers?

 

We see both sides pretty easily. From your first post on the subject you seemed to think we do not (and ps teachers in general do not, but most I know have their other half in the private sector).

 

There may be areas like Heigh Ho's where budgets and taxes continue to rise, but it certainly isn't happening here on either the business or the ps end of things. The teachers don't complain any more than our business friends do. Raises? Many have gone without for years. Health costs? Each year the contribution goes up while the coverage goes down. It's not really different except, perhaps, in certain areas.

 

The "do it anyway" crew is going to be the group who has to figure out it isn't going to happen. Good luck outsourcing overseas. Good luck getting the unemployed to do any better. Charter schools are trying, but most don't do any better when you look at the results. Sure, a couple do well (so do some ps), but can it be duplicated elsewhere?

 

Little Johnny and Jill come into the picture because if they would take initiative, one teacher could easily handle 50 - 200 kids (think college class sizes), but colleges can fail those who don't perform (and get a higher academic crew coming in to start with). Public schools don't get to do these things (iffy on the failure part). We can't expel students without providing them an at home education (talk about costly).

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Our public school teachers and staff received just over a 5% raise in salary each year, with no decrease at all in bennies (big increase in cost to the public as 1. the health care went way up due to the Cadillac plan that has no out of pocket expenses other than a single digit copay for Rx; and 2. staff members young adult children were added to the plan).
Locally we have to hear about how hard it is for the educators in this town to do more with less WHILE THEY ARE STILL GETTING RAISES.

Peace, Janice

 

Your states are different than mine.

 

North Carolina froze teacher pay--no raises for merit or cost of living--for five years. I believe that this past year the state gave them a one percent raise. The result? One of my family members with five years of teaching experience under his belt was making as much as a first year teacher. He has moved to administration which is too darn bad because he was admired for his teaching skills.

 

Janice, you wrote:

No, we don't just want more. We need more for less. This isn't so much about want as need. That's the problem. NEED! For less..... (Or we take our money elsewhere. Why is that such a tough concept? It's what businesses have been dealing with for some time now.

 

Many manufacturing businesses squeezed blood from turnips by sending manufacturing overseas or by eliminating full time positions for part timers or contractors without benefits. Personally I don't want to see either of those extremes entering education. (I made a decision to quit teaching at the local CC because of the abysmal pay for adjuncts. Not worth my time.)

 

For as long as I have been involved in post secondary education, I have heard complaints about the bloat at the top. Back in the '80's, deans had computers before the math and statistics profs did. They had large and well furnished offices while we lowly instructors squeezed multiple desks into corner offices that resembled custodial closets. We growled to no avail.

 

We had the pleasure of hosting one of my son's friends for dinner and a game night last night. This young lady is 21 with a degree and no debt. How did she do it? Dual enrollment in high school back when NC had free dual enrollment at the CC. She commuted from home to the regional university. She did not buy text books. She used the copies in the library which meant that she was on campus when that facility opened. She worked every weekend, every break, all summer for a small business that was willing to work around her schedule. When people write that it can be done, I will nod and say yes it can be. But it must be said that this regional uni had our young friend's intended major. And NC public unis remain lower in cost than those in many other states. (Just heard on the news this morning that the UNC system wants to change the formula for the proportion of instate/out of state students to include more of the latter. This for more revenue.)

 

I have no solutions. Janice, you want more and want to pay less. How would you achieve this say at the college your oldest attends?

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Look closer at the health care costs for all the personnel, as well as your litigation, special education, and transportation costs. What slice of the pie are each of these, compared to the stipend that the coaches and teacher-moonlighting-as-refs-and-ticket-takers get plus that portion of the compensation for the athletic director that that is allocated to sports instead of phys ed? My district has a one hundred million a year budget. The sports program is a drop in the bucket, and exists only to keep middle class parents from subdividiing their homes into apartments and moving into a better district. The pool is there for teaching low income students the life skill of how to swim. Its cost is entirely paid for by club swim team parents, with the exception of the roof which is negligible on an annual basis.

 

 

Again, your district is very, very different from mine and we aren't in the same state. I can appreciate that sports isn't a big drain on your local PS budget. It is on mine.

 

I won't regale you with the numbers, suffice it to say, the sports coaches got raises, the school is funding new bleachers - the old ones aren't in bad shape either - but the AP calc and physics teacher lost his job due to funding cuts. The sports teams do not fundraise in the community. There are no sports fees of any kind. However, the band boosters committee has to raise the entire amount every year for the salary and benefits package for the band director or no band.

 

I am sure your school district is run very, very differently from mine. Judging from what the parents who attend school board meetings have to say, many believe high school football is more important than math.

 

Back to the original though, it was really more about college sports. I'd like to see a cost-benefit analysis for U of M and MSU. In the Michigan economy, it's getting pretty difficult for these two institutions to fill their stadiums and it's a known fact that merchandising as dropped off considerably. Several of those "Campus Den" places in the malls have gone out of business. Additionally, some of the similar type stores around MSU's campus, but privately owned, have also fallen by the way side. A Lansing newspaper reported online sales were down. It makes me wonder if these colleges can continue to make the case that sports is a big money maker. Given what the coaches make, the unbelievable support staff required to keep it all humming, the travel budgets, the personal tutors (many of U of M and MSU athletes have a tutor for every subject independent of the college resource centers), maintenance, utilities, liability insurance, etc. I am skeptical that they are continuing to profitable. I've seen a huge number of restaurants - the kind that served beer and had ESPN and what not going every day - out of business. The last time we were at campus, the number of empty commercial buildings was shocking.

 

Faith

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Tuition at our local CC is $500 per course. $900 for a science course.

 

 

Tuition at our local CC cost us $750/course and $900 for the science course. We paid full freight.

As far as the free college, don't get me started. I had to pay the full shot for my kids to dual enroll. Not one cent of discount. In NJ if you are in the top 15% of your class, you can go to your CC for free (then onto the state uni w/ a $7,000 scholarship). FREE at the CC! This program is not available to homeschoolers.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe in NJ homeschoolers are completely unregulated and often say they do not want to be part of the system - resisting regulation (generally with pride from what I've seen on this board). It seems the system has let that happen all the way. In PA, those who abide by our homeschooling regs are eligible for state scholarships. Those who do not, are not eligible. It makes sense to me.

 

But seriously, where do we get the extra $1,750. Where?

 

 

And this is the question everyone wants to know - from the business owner to the college prof to the school teacher. This is why I say that things will need to change (not meaning just college pricing). There is only so much that can go on that credit card bill. How it changes (and keeps anyone happy) is beyond me. I just watched a news clip on CCTV about Greece - it's not pretty.

 

For now, colleges that are worthy will continue to do well getting top students from both here and abroad. Others will likely try cutting costs, but then will reap the "problems" that come with doing so and will likely end up merging or folding.

 

I just plain think that is the future. Same with business. Public schools? That's a different issue if we continue to want free education for all. Citizens are going to have to decide what level they want and how much they are willing to pay for it. Affluent areas may do well. Average areas (like mine) are likely to suffer, but will something better come along? I find it doubtful. The economic/academic divide may continue to rise.

 

My advice to all is to SAVE for college AND work for top scores/grades. Then look at options and choose carefully for the student as not all colleges are equal in content or aid offerings. Try for a "best fit" and have back up plans (safeties). Students with top stats still have financial safeties at some guaranteed merit aid schools. They aren't top 50 schools, but some aren't awful either. If my guy hadn't gotten a better offer from a non-guarantee school, he'd have been happy at one and gotten his degree. Low or middle income students without top stats can try for some score optional schools, unusual extra curriculars, or just try some of the 100% need schools and hope for the best. Loans are very likely part of the picture, but when one is considering an "investment" in their future, some loans (NOT 100K worth!) is not unreasonable. Both hubby and I had student loans from our college days and they were paid off within 5 years. We've reaped more from the degrees since.

 

Community colleges can be an option for some - then transfer. Compare carefully because many of the best scholarship options at schools are only available to incoming freshmen. My two in college would have done worse financially with this option. My youngest may end up needing this option (the difference is their scores).

 

There is no "one answer fits all." Many on here have documented paths that have worked for them. Read them. Glean from them. Do your homework (guidance counselor homework slanted toward your student vs general). Then hope for the best. I'll be rooting for you! If the best doesn't happen - go with Plan B. There should always be a Plan B.

 

For those of you who can be full pay - that's great - I'm truly not envious. I'm glad some can support the colleges in their effort to give us an educated population. We plan to continue donations after my kids graduate to the schools my guys have chosen so they can continue to give both merit and need-based awards to deserving students. This country got many of its great schools due to gifts from those who could afford it (even the University of Rochester, but thing of Carnegie Mellon, Vanderbilt, etc). Granted, I may not agree with how each and every $$ is spent, but overall, I'm in support.

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Can I mention something I don't see in this thread? I agree with Janice that supply does drive pricing in college.

 

She pointed out there has been a high demand for college degrees which drove prices up overall. Remember this may vary geographically and with state vs. private schools due to local variations, but in the whole market demand was high and the price tag for a college education went up.

 

One of the things that drove that high demand was access to student loans. And much like the mortgage market we've gotten to a point where if a student wants a degree that some loan company will fund it no matter how foolish that degree is in terms of getting a job. We've all read those articles and commented on the girl who had $100,000 in debt for a degree in women's studies and can't find a job and oh by the way she wants to live in San Francisco and other articles about those like her who got into huge debt for a degree that won't be able to pay off that degree.

 

So how do we stop that process of folks getting large debt for a degree that doesn't merit it?

 

My opinion is that we need to allow students to default on loans; even go bankrupt and get out of them if necessary.

 

Then we can let the market sort out the educational winners and losers. And by that I don't mean the individual students but the colleges where graduates get jobs will continue to be able to get loans, same for specific degrees, if it can pay off the loan then they will get it. But students will no longer be able to get loans for foolish degrees if the loan companies have to pick up some of the risk because the loan companies will quickly figure out what degrees can pay back the loan.

 

Now, some of you maybe horrified because this will mean degrees like philosophy and other liberal arts degrees might not get loans, but I suspect that some students will figure out how to still take liberal arts classes and get a degree that will allow them some ability to pay back their loan. Further I suspect that over time loan companies will also figure out which liberal arts degrees pay off as well and not just loan money for business and engineering degrees.

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Candid, you do make a valid point about the student loan industry. Just like the mortgage scandals of 2008/9, there is some serious issue here with overextending credit to naive borrowers. It's actually worse than the morgage industry because people could default. They would lose their houses, but they didn't have to totally drown. The banks had a physical thing they could repossess. Student loans - no asset to appreciate, sell, or repossess and a young, gullible buyer. With laws exempting these loans from being discharged through bankruptcy, it's a big scam.

 

At some point, regardless of bankruptcy laws, it will have to end. You can't suck blood where there isn't any so if the student doesn't make payments, they don't make payments. You can threaten will collection agencies all you want, but these are unsecured debts so you can't take their houses - which they don't have if their credit rating is tanked - their cars, their food, their laptop, or whatever. In many areas, judges are loathe to even award garanshee of wages over student loans and if unemployed, there isn't anything to take anyway.

 

I wonder when that big bubble will break?

 

Faith

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Hold on, folks. We cannot blame the rising costs of higher ed on the cost of parking in NYC or the suspicion that I family receives SSI undeservedly.

 

We can point fingers at the various factors contributing to rising costs, but the question that I personally would like to see answered is "What are You willing to give up?" if costs are to be reduced.

 

I offered one huge starting point: reduce the magnitude of college athletics. Gwen had a couple of ideas including frills like climbing walls or individual bathrooms in dorms. I also said that I am willing to pay more for quality food.

 

What else?

 

I am willing to pay more for my son to attend an LAC with professors as instructors--not grad students--and small class sizes. But my son would not be attending this school without merit aid. That means that I'll be paying back via donations to the endowment for many years to come so that others have the same privilege as my son. (Note: I give an annual donation to the LAC that was generous in funding my undergraduate education too.)

 

I am willing to see a shift of priorities at the state level where more money goes into the UNC and CC systems to keep state education as affordable as possible for the middle class. What goes underfunded to make this happen? Programs that other people probably think are more important than education.

 

Candid mentioned student loans. There is one extreme case that was in the media about the NYU grad with $100K in debt who was now working as a photographer in San Francisco. The mean student loan debt is something like $25K. The extremes are a small percentage of people like the aforementioned or people with med school debt. Is elimination of student loans for liberal arts degrees really a necessary step given the mean amount of debt? Personally I would prefer to eliminate the use of government loans to for-profit colleges. Students at these schools have a much higher rate of default.

 

Anyone else have anything they would be happy to sacrifice to lower educational costs?

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Anyone else have anything they would be happy to sacrifice to lower educational costs?

 

 

Lowering costs -- I agree with looking at the sports programs to make sure they aren't a cost sink to the school. My guess is that some of the bigger sports programs actually bring money into the schools.

 

Eliminating frills like climbing walls, dorms with extra bathrooms, etc. is a good idea, too. I would suggest that schools look heavily at administration and see who they really need. Over the last few years, my son's college added "class deans" -- one for each class -- freshman, soph, juniors, seniors. I'm not exactly sure what these folks do -- maybe look after kids that are having trouble? Since my son has never met these people and he also doesn't know what they do, I would suggest eliminating these positions. This school also has many residence directors in each living area, and extra RAs that are supposed to help kids who need academic help. I'm not sure what these folks do either. Since the school also has a tutoring center (which I'd keep), I think the extra residence people could go.

 

I also agree with Candid -- let people discharge private educational loans in bankruptcy The banks will stop lending to folks who won't be able to repay large loans, and kids will have to choose cheaper schools or take some time off to work between semesters. I would keep the no-bankruptcy on the federal loans that have an undergraduate total loan limit of about $30K. People still need to be able to borrow sometimes, and you don't want every graduate declaring bankruptcy.

 

Brenda

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Hi Candid, Yes, this is where the issue is. And this is where it gets dicey. One of the initial reasons for the guarantee for the lenders made sense in the beginning. Poor kids were being denied loans because there was no collateral. Wealthy kids could get the loans because their parents would secure the debt. But poor kids could not. So if you were poor, you couldn't borrow the money you needed. Hence the law: it made the system more egalitarian. But of course, there was now a safety for lenders. Which provided an unexpected consequence. Listen, this whole thing is documented elsewhere. Extensively. This connection between bankruptcy laws and the rise in lending and the rise in cost is well-documented elsewhere. Unraveling it presents a bunch of challenges. So yes, Candid, it makes sense to address it. But if you look into it, you'll find that it's just not as simple as it seems. There are tentacles. Unrelated, but a good example of the weirdness - can you guess which folks are prime candidates for credit card companies? Who are the folks they are marketing to the most ardently? Folk who just finalized their bankruptcies. Doesn't make sense. Until you find out why. Then you realize that you don't understand the game. Peace, Janice Enjoy your little people Enjoy your journey
Hold on, folks. We cannot blame the rising costs of higher ed on the cost of parking in NYC or the suspicion that I family receives SSI undeservedly. We can point fingers at the various factors contributing to rising costs, but the question that I personally would like to see answered is "What are You willing to give up?" if costs are to be reduced. I offered one huge starting point: reduce the magnitude of college athletics. Gwen had a couple of ideas including frills like climbing walls or individual bathrooms in dorms. I also said that I am willing to pay more for quality food. What else? I am willing to pay more for my son to attend an LAC with professors as instructors--not grad students--and small class sizes. But my son would not be attending this school without merit aid. That means that I'll be paying back via donations to the endowment for many years to come so that others have the same privilege as my son. (Note: I give an annual donation to the LAC that was generous in funding my undergraduate education too.) I am willing to see a shift of priorities at the state level where more money goes into the UNC and CC systems to keep state education as affordable as possible for the middle class. What goes underfunded to make this happen? Programs that other people probably think are more important than education. Candid mentioned student loans. There is one extreme case that was in the media about the NYU grad with $100K in debt who was now working as a photographer in San Francisco. The mean student loan debt is something like $25K. The extremes are a small percentage of people like the aforementioned or people with med school debt. Is elimination of student loans for liberal arts degrees really a necessary step given the mean amount of debt? Personally I would prefer to eliminate the use of government loans to for-profit colleges. Students at these schools have a much higher rate of default. Anyone else have anything they would be happy to sacrifice to lower educational costs?
Lowering costs -- I agree with looking at the sports programs to make sure they aren't a cost sink to the school. My guess is that some of the bigger sports programs actually bring money into the schools. Eliminating frills like climbing walls, dorms with extra bathrooms, etc. is a good idea, too. I would suggest that schools look heavily at administration and see who they really need. Over the last few years, my son's college added "class deans" -- one for each class -- freshman, soph, juniors, seniors. I'm not exactly sure what these folks do -- maybe look after kids that are having trouble? Since my son has never met these people and he also doesn't know what they do, I would suggest eliminating these positions. This school also has many residence directors in each living area, and extra RAs that are supposed to help kids who need academic help. I'm not sure what these folks do either. Since the school also has a tutoring center (which I'd keep), I think the extra residence people could go. I also agree with Candid -- let people discharge private educational loans in bankruptcy The banks will stop lending to folks who won't be able to repay large loans, and kids will have to choose cheaper schools or take some time off to work between semesters. I would keep the no-bankruptcy on the federal loans that have an undergraduate total loan limit of about $30K. People still need to be able to borrow sometimes, and you don't want every graduate declaring bankruptcy. Brenda

 

I think Brenda has a good starting point, which is to set the amount which lenders are protected lower. Which would give poor families access to college but not access to third tier private schools with poor returns on investment. High end, expensive schools like the Ivies will pay most or all costs of poor students and even some state universities do offer guarantees for lower income families to receive all costs covered.

 

But much wiser that a student can only take out a loan for a new car vs. a new home.

 

BUT the amount of the loans taken whether small or large does drive money into the system and drives overall costs up. But a cap would slow growth down.

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OK. Let's get started. We hear all the time about how much money football or basketball can bring to a school through television revenues. But it also needs to be noted that the highest paid salaries on campuses after that of the president are those coaches. How much do those programs cost schools when all is said and done? I have never seen a detailed analysis that includes everything from the operational cost of facilities to the tutors provided for elite athletes. Complaints about the costs of Title IX abound, but I can't imagine a female fencing team bankrupting a school.

 

I once saw a list of how much sports programs bring in. For top 25 schools in major sports, it's a ton - far more than the cost of expensive coaching. My Alma mater went from being nothing in football to fairly regularly being in the top 25. The amount of money the college gained was incredible - and much of that was funneled into new academic buildings, other sports and scholarships. I have no regrets with how much they pay their coach. Locally Penn State makes a ton off football too (even with their latest issues). But, schools do need to be careful with how much they spend on sports. MOST do not make a profit and getting into the top 25 can be tough. Lesser known sports rarely turn a profit.

 

Look closer at the health care costs for all the personnel, as well as your litigation, special education, and transportation costs. What slice of the pie are each of these, compared to the stipend that the coaches and teacher-moonlighting-as-refs-and-ticket-takers get plus that portion of the compensation for the athletic director that that is allocated to sports instead of phys ed? My district has a one hundred million a year budget. The sports program is a drop in the bucket, and exists only to keep middle class parents from subdividiing their homes into apartments and moving into a better district. The pool is there for teaching low income students the life skill of how to swim. Its cost is entirely paid for by club swim team parents, with the exception of the roof which is negligible on an annual basis.

 

I'm with you on this one. Sports do not add a ton to our budget, but nonetheless, some of what they did have has been cut and is now funded by support groups. It's still the community that is paying for it, but I suppose one can argue it's those who care about it in the community. Fundraisers abound here. Fortunately, most are local companies (food, clothing) instead of cheap imports.

 

Hold on, folks. We cannot blame the rising costs of higher ed on the cost of parking in NYC or the suspicion that I family receives SSI undeservedly.

 

Well, I wasn't meaning it was just those two things. To me, it's that costs (overall) are rising while the amount one can spend is not - without either raising tuition or taxes pending which type of school we are talking about.

 

We can point fingers at the various factors contributing to rising costs, but the question that I personally would like to see answered is "What are You willing to give up?" if costs are to be reduced. I offered one huge starting point: reduce the magnitude of college athletics. Gwen had a couple of ideas including frills like climbing walls or individual bathrooms in dorms. I also said that I am willing to pay more for quality food. What else?

 

Honestly? There's little else I would cut. I don't think dorms need to be super snazzy nor do I feel gyms need to be top of the line - therefore, we did not rank those highly when considering schools and chose accordingly. We also didn't need top level sports, so it was a non-factor for us. However, investment into research or a better overall education I highly support. That is rather pricey.

 

I also agree with Candid -- let people discharge private educational loans in bankruptcy The banks will stop lending to folks who won't be able to repay large loans, and kids will have to choose cheaper schools or take some time off to work between semesters. I would keep the no-bankruptcy on the federal loans that have an undergraduate total loan limit of about $30K. People still need to be able to borrow sometimes, and you don't want every graduate declaring bankruptcy. Brenda

 

I like this idea! Have loans available for all students who want them - but up to a point before they are dischargable in bankruptcy. If loans are not available, you've cut off the vast majority of kids from my school. Most can't even do CC without loans. I also think students getting aid should have some loans in order to have skin in the game. I just don't agree with huge loans.

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Thank you, Jane. I think you understand where I am coming from. The cost of parking has NOTHING to do with the cost of education. It should be about supply and demand - not about rents. For dd, we have chosen a school with a non-existent sport program. FUNCTION OVER FANCY. When I started my first business, I found a broken door at the lumber yard - solid door with a smashed corner. I bought it for a few bucks from the scrap pile. I assembled two saw horses, and I mounted my new "desk" on them. A great, big, huge, VERY functional desk for almost NO money. Function. Not fancy. I can't tell you how many folks looked at it as odd. It seemed to me to be the most natural thing in the world.

 

I'm wondering if you should visit our house... ;)

 

The place where my family spends our vacations has an outhouse. It works. Not fancy. But it handles the problem.

 

We do not own a vacation place of any sort.

 

[When dh and I were first married, we bought a cheap couch. I have not bought a new couch since. We are currently on our third used couch. The "good" lawn chairs in my back yard were garbage picked. There are only three, not four. But they are the "good" chairs cause they have the nice cushions. *grin* There are two tables in my house - one in the kitchen and one in the "dining room". I paid for neither, they were both cast-offs. There are nine chairs around the two tables. Three off them were purchased. The others were garbage picked. The three I bought? I paid $20 for all three chairs on craigslist. As you might guess, they are gorgeous pieces of furniture. NOT. But all nine chairs hold our hind ends when we sit at the table. Viola! Perfect. If I'm so intently focused on the big stuff, you can imagine how much I care about the glamour of the extras: lamps, end tables, book shelves, carpets, fine dishes, etc.

 

We're still on our first couch, though we also now have a loveseat we were given for free. Most of our other furniture except one bookcase and one chair were given to us as hand me downs. Some we exchanged at used furniture places. Our table was bought at an auction.

 

OK. Here goes: HIGHLY paid professors who are paid to TEACH not do research. If they can get the students to come to office hours, they should get bonuses. If they assign papers, they should get bonuses. If they offer essay exams, they should get bonuses. If their students learn more than other students - proved with common exams - they should get paid more. And I would be willing to pay for the higher cost.[/i] Decent labs with working equipment. NOTHING fancy. Safe, but functional. No fancy gyms. Nothing. NA DA!!! If a private company wants to build a gym on campus and charge a gym membership, then great. There are gyms here in town, but I don't get a membership unless I pay. My kid can jog if she wants exercises. If she wants to work and buy a gym membership, she can. Dorms? Basic. Safe. Functional. Think back to when I went to college. Broken furniture in the common room? We sat in cheap lawn chairs that we brought from home. Food? Boring but healthy. Lots of vegetables. Whole grains. Etc. Boring presentation. Eat it or starve.

 

I suppose these are personal decisions as I like that middle son goes to a school specializing in research. I don't feel it's up to the professor to encourage my kid to come to office hours nor do I want them to have bonuses because they assign more papers. I'll leave the instruction plan up to them. I also really want fancy labs that can teach him all sorts of modern techniques. Those were major decisions for us in our consideration. I'm glad middle son has good food options (oldest is at a less expensive place and the food is not as good - we both wish it were better). The gym and dorms I agree with. There isn't anything fancy about where either of mine go as far as dorms are concerned, but they do need to be kept up to code IMO, and that doesn't happen for free. Those wanting more up to date dorms pay extra for them - as it should be IMO.

 

I just plain think that is the future. Same with business. Public schools? That's a different issue if we continue to want free education for all. Citizens are going to have to decide what level they want and how much they are willing to pay for it. Affluent areas may do well. Average areas (like mine) are likely to suffer, but will something better come along? I find it doubtful. The economic/academic divide may continue to rise.

 

You said, that public school is different. Then in the next sentence you said that the public will have to decide what it wants and how much it is willing to pay. So schooling is like business? You get what you pay for? If you want more, you pay more. If you want less, you pay less. That seems like a contradiction to me: you just said school is different.

 

Public school is different because, unlike businesses or colleges, they can't just merge or go out of business. However, like anything from business to family budgets, only so much can be "bought" for the money they have in their budget. The public needs to decide what is important and what can be cut. Our school HAS been cutting what they feel can be cut for a few years now, but we still need to slice more off. That's where the issues now are. The school can't just close up shop. I, for one, am not at all happy with what's going to be on the chopping block next (classes getting less than 14 in them - like our shop classes and some top level electives for the college bound). Those do serve useful purposes. I also am partial to liking up to date books (within 20 years or so for most subjects). Science and history change. English and math might be ok with older books.

 

][/b] The tiered college system is just one more tool used by the wealth to justify the gap - whole 'nother topic. We can save it for another day.

 

That is another topic. School A is not equal to School B IME, but different schools are best for different individuals.

 

 

My advice to all is to SAVE for college AND work for top scores/grades.

 

Once again, not trying to be a contrarian here, but how is this possible? If everyone takes your advice, how will the advice help anyone?

 

Saving (if possible) obviously helps one be able to afford college. It's not always possible and it doesn't always work (we lost > 100K of what we had saved for college), but to say one shouldn't save for a big ticket purchase if they can is just plain wrong IMO. Kids can work for top scores/grades. It's fairly well known that studying prep books increases scores for most students and it definitely helps if one has learned what is supposed to be on the tests to start with (vocab, grammar, math, etc). Some resist saying they, "don't want to teach to the test." That's their right, but it seldom helps with merit aid (exceptions are out there for some). Like it or not, most merit aid has a significant score segment to it. Guaranteed merit aid (at places like U Alabama - where the aid can go lower than an EFC) comes with scores all the time. High stat kids have much better odds both getting in and getting aid if aimed toward the right schools.

 

I really don't see tuition going down at many schools and those who do lower it make me wonder if they will survive or not in the near future. I'd like to think increases aren't going to be as plentiful as I think many have already made their significant upgrades and are into maintenance, but who knows? Applications to many schools are up (partially due to more international students). Those getting fewer apps are offering less that students (or parents) want and could end up in trouble. I foresee a pruning, but I don't really see tuition going down at surviving schools.

 

Tuition has risen significantly. I don't think anyone denies that. Having done several visits over the past few years I, personally, can see where a bit has improved due to those increases. Personally, I'd love to go to college myself (as an undergrad) now! Of course, I enjoyed it back when I was there too... but comparatively, there is so much more offered now from food to research.

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Ideally? OK. Here goes: HIGHLY paid professors who are paid to TEACH not do research.

 

I just want to comment on this one point, which I find a very short sighted suggestion.

Professors who teach AND do research bring a completely different perspective to the university. The difference between schools where faculty only teach and schools where faculty are involved in active research is remarkable (I would never send my STEM interested kids to a school that is not a research university). The students benefit from being at a research university even as undergraduates- directly by being involved in undergraduate research, indirectly, because of the different atmosphere. And not to forget, you'd lose the most talented and innovative scientists as instructors, since they would not be willing to give up research.

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One big reason for rising tuition at state schools is the loss of public funding.

 

At the public university where I teach, over the past three years, state support has been reduced by about 25 percent. Today, state support represents only 23 percent of the university's total revenue. In 2001, the state provided 41 percent of our revenue. This means that since 2001, state funding, as a percentage of total revenue, has declined by nearly half – or 44 percent.

Since 2001, enrollment has increased by 54 percent (Btw, the number of instructors on campus has increased by only 7.25 percent)

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Professors who teach AND do research bring a completely different perspective to the university. The difference between schools where faculty only teach and schools where faculty are involved in active research is remarkable (I would never send my STEM interested kids to a school that is not a research university). The students benefit from being at a research university even as undergraduates- directly by being involved in undergraduate research, indirectly, because of the different atmosphere. And not to forget, you'd lose the most talented and innovative scientists as instructors, since they would not be willing to give up research.

 

I fully agree. It's one thing we really saw when we visited schools, but I will admit this is only for those students interested in research (like my guy). There are some out there who only want to learn "what already is" vs "seeking the unknown." The former are not interested in research Us. The latter really should be at one - either state or private.

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U of M, MSU, and MTU are all tier 1 schools with the first two in the top 70 and U of M very high in the rankings all around including internationally. ...... Frankly, I'm very frightened for what that means for the young citizens of my state.

 

 

Unfortunately the Tier 1 schools will be able to attract lots of foreign students to make up the deficit. My home government sponsors scholars to Tier 1 schools annually.

 

"

 

INSTITUTIONS WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF FOREIGN STUDENTS

 

 

 

Institution City Total

 

 

 

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor 6,382

 

 

 

Michigan State University East Lansing 6,209

 

 

 

Wayne State University Detroit 2,216

 

 

 

Western Michigan University Kalamazoo 1,487

 

 

Michigan Technological University Houghton 1,152"

 

Source: http://www.iie.org/R...y-US-State/2012

 

40 children in a kindergarten class is crappy. California has a max limit of 33 per class for kindergarten to 2nd grade.

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I never said no research.

I am saying that I would want there to be professors who are paid to teach and are rewarded for good teaching.

Freshman and sophomores need good teachers.

I never said no research.

 

You said " paid professors who are paid to TEACH not do research. "

If you do not pay the professor for doing research, i.e. base his evaluation on the quality of his research as well as the quality of his teaching, you will not attract quality scientists as instructors.

As it is, a university position already pays substantially less than this scientist would earn elsewhere. Unless you reward research as well, you will only attract people who would not be good enough to get a job in industry, not people who forgo that higher salary because they have a passion for research combined with teaching.

 

 

Oh, and I forgot to comment on this:

Decent labs with working equipment. NOTHING fancy. Safe, but functional.

 

So how will students learn to work on modern, "fancy" equipment? Let me assure you that we are quite adept at using 70 year old materials and devices in our introductory labs and that we are capable of illustrating basic principles using equipment from the 30s. But for anything but basic introductory courses, students can not learn to operate modern equipment if there is not any.

I have yet to see the fancy student labs somewhere.

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Based on my experience in ps and seeing what has happened with my Alma mater plus similar colleges, costs went up for two reasons. The first are those non-negotiables we have already mentioned (health care, heating, inflation, etc). The second was simply wanting more - newer, more updated (sometimes to code) dorms, new science buildings, better food, more green technology, whiteboards instead of blackboards, computers and other new technology, tutors and other free academic assistance, smaller classes and/or recitations for the large classes, etc.

 

One can argue each and every one of the non-negotiables. Personally, I think most have made college "better" (though I do think some have gone overboard).

 

I suppose it's akin to a family on a budget. Once that family has an increase in their budget they tend to upgrade many things - some were really "needs" that had been put off (esp dorms up to code), some are definite pluses overall (new and up-to-date technology keeping up with what they are teaching) and some are merely wants (that new gym).

 

If the family then loses that increase, yes, they can decrease their budget (back to mac & cheese), and some things can naturally decrease (how many new gyms do they need?), but if they start cutting some of the others, how many students will continue to go there? I see colleges that can't keep up closing or merging. There's just not much use for old technology and those other perks really do attract many students. That's why many schools added them - not so much that they needed them, but having to keep up with College A in attracting students. A short visit to lower cost schools vs higher cost schools can demonstrate those differences. There are oodles of students who immediately cross a school off if the buildings seem old and outdated. They have other choices.

 

I am really torn in reading this. I know the truth of it and yet it is hard not to think that all the lovely bells and whistles in the world won't make up for a substandard education.

 

It also reminds of a conversation my husband and I had years ago with a young man and his wife who were selling us their car. He was from Lebanon and could not understand American expectations for school. He felt like we wanted it all, music, art, pe, and on and on. At that time in his country, you did everything you could to get to school to learn to read, write, and do the math and that occasionally meant taking a bullet as he had done when he was 12. I am not sure why, but that disconnect always stayed with me.

 

I also struggle with the disconnect at our local public high school where older texts can't be replaced, but walls can be painted with specialty-tinted paints which are hard to maintain and a graphic designer was paid an unmentionable amount to redesign the logo.

 

If we can't go backwards in the never-ending process of buying up newer and bigger bells and whistles in education, where will we go?

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Ancient dorm rooms were not wired for a refrigerator, microwave and a plethora of electronics in each room. While many parents complain that modern students live in luxury on campus, it seems that it is parents who send kids off with a car load of small appliances beyond the needed laptop.

 

When I was in grad school at a well known public university, the chemistry building underwent a major upgrade. Labs there were no longer considered safe. Many older buildings were not handicap accessible. An elevator is an expensive addition--not only monetarily but also in terms of space. Offices or classrooms are lost when an elevator is installed as an afterthought.

 

One of the major construction projects that occurred when I was a student on that campus was a huge new sports facility. Supposedly this was constructed without student funds but after the sports complex opens, who pays for the lights and air conditioning? Personally, I would like to see less emphasis and funding on big time college sports, but that is another kettle of fish.

 

About the food thing...It does not bother me to pay a bit more for my son to have access to healthier foods. I raised the boy on rBGH free milk. His college serves it as well as some locally grown produce (in season), local meats and fair trade coffee. To me it is a positive statement that his college is committed to the local farmers and local economy--despite that this might not be the cheapest choice.

 

Jane, I think this is where I discuss our state university's much-vaunted student athletic building that cost as much per square foot as a New York high rise. Yes, the building was donated, but I can't help but think of what it costs to maintain said building for a very small fraction of the student population. If only I could be convinced that sitting on Italian leather seats would make my children smarter, I might buy some for here. Someday, it will be like a Newport mansion-a white elephant that no one can afford, but that the state is stuck with. But you can be sure some college right now is planning on how to build an even bigger, fancier student athlete complex.

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The great thing? As demand for diplomas from these schools drop, these frills will automatically disappear. Non-revenue producers disappear in a tightened economy.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

 

I would like to believe that this is true, but I am not so sure it happens that way. People don't like to give up their pet projects, their vanity projects and they definitely don't like to take their fingers out of the athletic pie or the textbook pie, or whatever the flavor of the moment is.

 

When my dd took AP European History, the textbooks were falling apart. I actually purchased a like-new one for $4-5 on Amazon. Two years later, my son is taking the same class. No texts because there are not enough to go around or enough to survive another reading. Fifty students receiving photo copies of chapters each week. There will be no money for books next year or the year after that. The class needs something like ten books to fill the need. On a recent filed trip. the teacher and I were discussing the situation. I had already located another 6 texts that were priced at under $10 for "very good." We could probably fill the gap for a little over $100. The books would be there for the next couple of years, and we'd probably have to add a few books each year to restock. It would buy them time.

 

Thinking outside the box is very unpopular with some administrators. "What would the taxpayers think if their money was going for used textbooks?" Well, I am a taxpayer and I purchase used textbooks. Is there a problem there?

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Little Johnny and Jill come into the picture because if they would take initiative, one teacher could easily handle 50 - 200 kids (think college class sizes), but colleges can fail those who don't perform (and get a higher academic crew coming in to start with). Public schools don't get to do these things (iffy on the failure part). We can't expel students without providing them an at home education (talk about costly).

 

 

Creekland, my youngest wanted you to know that before returning to the public school system, he thought it was the teachers who were failing the students. Now, his experience is that many students could care less about an education and put forth little effort.

 

When I have met with some of our high school teachers, I have been thanked for making the effort to contact and meet with them. They don't really see all that many parents come in with questions or concerns.

 

In private schools, elementary grades are often at 30 students with little problem, but then they can be asked to leave if they do not do what is required.

 

We have a system that is broken on many levels, not just an economic one.

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It also reminds of a conversation my husband and I had years ago with a young man and his wife who were selling us their car. He was from Lebanon and could not understand American expectations for school. He felt like we wanted it all, music, art, pe, and on and on. At that time in his country, you did everything you could to get to school to learn to read, write, and do the math

 

And this is what I meant when I said the public is going to have to decide what they want for their tax dollars because tax increases to have it all is not sustainable and the prices are not likely to be going down. I don't think it's going to be pretty. Everyone thinks their desire is a need whether it be sports, elective classes (art, music, non traditional math/science/history, etc), honors classes, special ed classes, or whatever. At least in our district, "fluff" is already gone. We're at barebones on copies, textbooks, extra curriculars, even janitors (positions have been cut, some students clean and rooms are not cleaned daily - not even trash pick up). Next year classes with less than 14 students enrolled aren't happening unless dictated by the state (special ed). Soon it will have to be something major - a whole segment of something.

I also struggle with the disconnect at our local public high school where older texts can't be replaced, but walls can be painted with specialty-tinted paints which are hard to maintain and a graphic designer was paid an unmentionable amount to redesign the logo.

Yeah, we don't have that... I'd wonder about any district making that decision. At least where I live I think the powers that be who are controlling the budget seem to have brains.

 

What is so terrible about having some professors kicking around who are paid the big bucks to focus on teaching? Are you saying that institutions shouldn't reward some teachers for being over-the-top teachers while letting the ones who are over-the-top researchers focus on research?

 

There are colleges where no research is done and some with limited research (usually LACs or smaller state schools). People can choose those if they wish to. Some are probably less expensive.

 

Look - I was asked to state what I would value.

I didn't want to, but I was trying to honor Jane.

(Seriously? You think I did that to get into a pissing match with Creekland over who has the worse couch. Oh. My. Word.)

And I'm not backing down. I would like to see some teachers who are mega-rewarded for being the most influential, the most, that-guy-changed-my-life, he made-me-see-the-subject-in-a-whole-new-light, I-will-never-be-the-same teachers.

 

I don't see this as a pissing match. I do see it as each of us (posting) having a different opinion and debating it - pros and cons. I mentioned what I did about our house, place, and couch (and business, etc) because you seemed to have a picture of us (stereotype?) that is incorrect and I wanted to fix it. I see debate as good. It can be the first step in fixing a problem or it can be merely a way to vent when it's something that isn't likely to be fixed. Or... it could be both.

 

 

Fancy? Can you say, "The ____ is in upside down." The HVAC equipment was mounted in the lab on a board with P-Touch labels. But every school builds a formula one car.... too bad most of the kids aren't going to spend their careers building race cars. A LOT of them are going to be stuck writing HVAC manuals. That are wrong.....

 

Around here those who want HVAC tend to head to Tech schools or community colleges. It's a good path for the right kids. My cousin is one of them.

 

Seriously.

I'm almost out on this thread.

I've had two glasses of wine.

And I'm getting tired of trying to defend myself.

 

One of my best friends is back on deck with brain cancer.

AND I CAN'T DEAL!!!!

Life S*CKS BIG TIME TODAY!

 

And now I feel like a bad person for getting up in everyone's grill.

But the layers of the onion are collapsing.

In so many ways that don't make sense.

 

Time to build something new.

 

I'm out.

 

Peace to you all tonight,

Janice

 

:grouphug: If it helps, I know at least I see this more as a debate than a pissing match. It really shouldn't be a "guilt-producing" thing at all. We may be the Hive, but we don't have to be of one mind. Since I live rural, I get a bit of my mind-stimulating conversation (outside of family) with this board. I don't want anyone to feel guilty over a differing opinion! :grouphug:

 

I would like to believe that this is true, but I am not so sure it happens that way. People don't like to give up their pet projects, their vanity projects and they definitely don't like to take their fingers out of the athletic pie or the textbook pie, or whatever the flavor of the moment is.

 

When my dd took AP European History, the textbooks were falling apart. I actually purchased a like-new one for $4-5 on Amazon. Two years later, my son is taking the same class. No texts because there are not enough to go around or enough to survive another reading. Fifty students receiving photo copies of chapters each week. There will be no money for books next year or the year after that. The class needs something like ten books to fill the need. On a recent filed trip. the teacher and I were discussing the situation. I had already located another 6 texts that were priced at under $10 for "very good." We could probably fill the gap for a little over $100. The books would be there for the next couple of years, and we'd probably have to add a few books each year to restock. It would buy them time.

 

Thinking outside the box is very unpopular with some administrators. "What would the taxpayers think if their money was going for used textbooks?" Well, I am a taxpayer and I purchase used textbooks. Is there a problem there?

 

Our budget folks are in the process of deciding whether copies or books are cheaper. We used to have books (still do for many classes), but they're wearing out so copies have been made the last couple of years for some classes. This year they are comparing those costs. I have no idea if one can donate books or not or if they would consider used books as replacements. I'd need to ask. Like you, I tend to buy used for myself and my kids.

 

Creekland, my youngest wanted you to know that before returning to the public school system, he thought it was the teachers who were failing the students. Now, his experience is that many students could care less about an education and put forth little effort.

 

When I have met with some of our high school teachers, I have been thanked for making the effort to contact and meet with them. They don't really see all that many parents come in with questions or concerns.

 

In private schools, elementary grades are often at 30 students with little problem, but then they can be asked to leave if they do not do what is required.

 

We have a system that is broken on many levels, not just an economic one.

 

Same here, except we have parents who care that junior is failing. They don't tend to put the blame on junior as it's always the teacher's fault even if junior missed several days and never did homework or made up tests. To fail a student here the teacher needs tons of documentation AND has to give junior extensive chances to make up things - opportunities other students don't have. It happens (easier with parents who don't care), but it's certainly not common.

 

Our school is anticipating massive difficulties with the Class of 2017. That's the year students will need to pass some Keystone Tests in order to graduate... but that's a whole 'nother issue. I should be out of the district by then. If all goes well, I'm leaving when youngest graduates (class of 2014), but time will tell.

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Janice, let me issue a public apology if my posts led to hurt feelings on your part. That was not my intention.

 

Believe it or not, I see my role in this world as a consensus builder. This is why I like to have discussions that attempt to lay out constructive ideas to move forward. Apparently I failed big time on this go around.

 

I am sorry for your friend. Had Creekland not copied that post I would not have seen it.

 

Folks, this problem is not disappearing so I do believe there is good reason for those of us who are intelligent and have a dog in this fight to speak up. In fact, there are a number of women on this board who would be great in political office--although they would probably not want to deal with the malarkey of it all. Sigh.

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Janice,

 

I just want to tell you that I actually agree with most of your points. I do think that demand increases price. It is that simple. As far as funding....in my state the people voted to pay more taxes to increase the schools funding. I don't believe this is going to happen at all. I could be wrong....so I wait and see.

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You said " paid professors who are paid to TEACH not do research. "

If you do not pay the professor for doing research, i.e. base his evaluation on the quality of his research as well as the quality of his teaching, you will not attract quality scientists as instructors.

As it is, a university position already pays substantially less than this scientist would earn elsewhere. Unless you reward research as well, you will only attract people who would not be good enough to get a job in industry, not people who forgo that higher salary because they have a passion for research combined with teaching.

 

 

Oh, and I forgot to comment on this:

 

 

So how will students learn to work on modern, "fancy" equipment? Let me assure you that we are quite adept at using 70 year old materials and devices in our introductory labs and that we are capable of illustrating basic principles using equipment from the 30s. But for anything but basic introductory courses, students can not learn to operate modern equipment if there is not any.

I have yet to see the fancy student labs somewhere.

 

 

 

I would also add (this as a daughter of a PhD Chem professor who is considered one of the top in his specific specialty anywhere)-research brings in funds and equipment. I'm not sure there's ANY equipment in my dad's lab that wasn't grant funded-and as a result, students at his school get access to a modern, well-equipped lab that normally doesn't exist outside of industry. Furthermore, not only has most of his research been grant funded through the years, but when he creates something new or develops a process that is patented, he doesn't own the patent-the university does. That can easily be worth millions over the time the patent is in effect. Big research institutions may have a lot of money going into research, not teaching, but all it takes is one professor to strike gold to fund that program for years to come-not to mention raise the University's profile such that other faculty GET those big grants.

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