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(Slate)   "Lots of small, private colleges are in danger of closing and we should celebrate this achievement," claims columnist who is clearly still nursing that Vassar rejection   (slate.com) divider line 65
    More: Dumbass, private colleges, default risk, credit ratings, nanny  
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4758 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Apr 2014 at 9:59 AM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-16 08:17:24 AM
This is the official default rate for every single college that accepts federal student loans.

https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/defaultmanagement/search_cohort_3y r2 010.cfm

This is the percentage of students who default on their loans three years after they either graduate or drop below half time, and is the most recent information. If your school is over 15%, do not attend.

There are a LOT of small, expensive private colleges that get 75-90% of their revenue from the Dept of Ed, and in some of them, you're more likely to default than graduate.
 
2014-04-16 09:03:53 AM
The article isn't talking about the well-respected small colleges like Vassar, but rather the small private schools who have high tuitions to make up for small endowments and a commensurate lack of resources.  Many of those schools don't provide an education that's any better than even the mid-tier state schools, and oftentimes due to the lack of resources available actually provide less educational opportunities with even less name recognition than your average Directional State U.

It's probably not a bad thing for some of those schools to go away.  Plenty of students get pulled into the trap of thinking that private is automatically better than public, and thus get roped into paying 2x-3x as much in tuition for a degree that holds less cachet than one from their local public university.
 
2014-04-16 09:19:29 AM
 
2014-04-16 09:22:30 AM
There's simply a sustainability problem here.  The cost of a college education is not keeping pace with the value of college education.  There has to be some contraction in what students are willing to pay.  Much like with home-buying, you can use the emotional strings of the American dream to sustain the bubble much longer than it should run (bubbles always run longer than the fundamentals say they should run), but economics will catch up with you.
 
2014-04-16 10:01:15 AM

Somacandra: [31.media.tumblr.com image 500x375]

 I've had just about enough of your Vassar-bashing, young lady!


This.  Satisfied.
 
2014-04-16 10:06:43 AM
 I found that out the third year. I'd 've been there yet, but I went out for the swimming team.
 
2014-04-16 10:08:00 AM
gotta be honest whenever I hear the name Vassar I think of the country artist and his song about a transvestite
 
2014-04-16 10:11:56 AM
When you sell a product that requires major government subsidies and is not a good investment for the consumer, yes it is good that you go under.  Reference the dairy industry.
 
2014-04-16 10:13:31 AM
img.fark.net
 
2014-04-16 10:15:24 AM
I have no sympathy for the closure of high priced small schools that don't have a proven return on investment.

That said, some of them are very good institutions, offering better instructors and much smaller class sizes. The educational 'quality' of a 200 student sized class of a larger state school is questionable.
 
2014-04-16 10:15:28 AM

TuteTibiImperes: The article isn't talking about the well-respected small colleges like Vassar, but rather the small private schools who have high tuitions to make up for small endowments and a commensurate lack of resources.  Many of those schools don't provide an education that's any better than even the mid-tier state schools, and oftentimes due to the lack of resources available actually provide less educational opportunities with even less name recognition than your average Directional State U.

It's probably not a bad thing for some of those schools to go away.  Plenty of students get pulled into the trap of thinking that private is automatically better than public, and thus get roped into paying 2x-3x as much in tuition for a degree that holds less cachet than one from their local public university.


Exactly this. I used to work for what is essentially a glorified art school in the ST of NY (not hard to guess but I'm not going to out them directly). Their tuition is INSANE, I think 25k a semester. They have some science programs, business, sports, and criminal justice, but they're sort of crap where it counts, and I honestly think the place is more about networking than anything else. It's ridiculous. Meanwhile the state college across the street is just under 4k/semester (tuition only, it's like 9-13k including the other stuff), and churns out a lot of tech and science students. The profs are pretty good too, for the most part.
 
2014-04-16 10:21:05 AM
I'll toss in my usual point about bloated admin structures at some (not all) of these places.  I know of at least two where tuition's been outpacing inflation for years...and it's ALL going to hire Third Assistant Deans in Charge of Fundraising and Outreach...who can't even fundraise their own salaries.

Both college's natural response to the shortfall was to hire more fundraising admins...you can guess how well that turned out.
 
2014-04-16 10:22:56 AM
Colleges had an artificial bump in enrollment as some people went back to school during the last financial crisis, but the underlying demographic trend is fewer college-age US students.  With a declining customer base and high costs, colleges will have to start cutting costs to compete. The model of teaching most undergraduate courses with TAs while holding on to hugely bloated administrations will not be sustainable.
 
2014-04-16 10:29:12 AM

TuteTibiImperes: The article isn't talking about the well-respected small colleges like Vassar, but rather the small private schools who have high tuitions to make up for small endowments and a commensurate lack of resources.  Many of those schools don't provide an education that's any better than even the mid-tier state schools, and oftentimes due to the lack of resources available actually provide less educational opportunities with even less name recognition than your average Directional State U.

It's probably not a bad thing for some of those schools to go away.  Plenty of students get pulled into the trap of thinking that private is automatically better than public, and thus get roped into paying 2x-3x as much in tuition for a degree that holds less cachet than one from their local public university.


Yep.  In many states, especially outside the Northeast, the best private school is, at most, on par with the best public school.  I can't believe how many private schools there are out there that continue to attract students.  It's just as bad with law schools.
 
2014-04-16 10:29:23 AM
The best thing we can do right now to speed that trend of culling the poor schoosl is decrease the amount of financial aid given, by limiting loan amounts, and imposing new aid/loan amount limits based on a combination of academic qualifications and financial need.

Reducing the 'fue' to the fire that has been spurring the increase of college tuition by giving less money to students who are less likely to graduate, driving them to more affordable, realsitic options such as community colleges.  Eliminating aid to online for-profit schools entirely would be a good idea, given the inferiority of the online educational model.
 
2014-04-16 10:31:51 AM

OdradekRex: Colleges had an artificial bump in enrollment as some people went back to school during the last financial crisis, but the underlying demographic trend is fewer college-age US students.  With a declining customer base and high costs, colleges will have to start cutting costs to compete. The model of teaching most undergraduate courses with TAs while holding on to hugely bloated administrations will not be sustainable.


Something something not every one can be an engineer.
 
2014-04-16 10:34:29 AM
I went to a small, private college (College of the Ozarks,) and my opinion on the subject is...

media.tumblr.com
 
2014-04-16 10:36:50 AM

OdradekRex: Colleges had an artificial bump in enrollment as some people went back to school during the last financial crisis, but the underlying demographic trend is fewer college-age US students.  With a declining customer base and high costs, colleges will have to start cutting costs to compete. The model of teaching most undergraduate courses with TAs while holding on to hugely bloated administrations will not be sustainable.


That's actually not the model for small liberal arts schools: we don't have TAs (no grad students) and the majority of courses are taught by tenure track folks.

The problem is scaling- there's a minimum past which you can't make departments smaller, both academic and staff.  It's extremely difficult to offer a major with only 1-2 professors, but with few students enrolling in a small major you can't justify hiring more.  We offer Classics here, including Latin and Greek.  Not exactly moneymakers.  Of course, we could cut all the liberal arts stuff and just teach management courses, but that's not our business model either.

Ditto staff side: no matter how small the school you still have to support things like a student information system to track student's academic and financial details.  Ditto dining hall- it takes fewer people/student to cook for 5000 than 1000.

I'm not sure what the minimum student enrollment really is- it obviously depends on endowment but also on how broad your offerings are.  I work at a school with ~2600 students- we're probably ok, but my old employer (under 700 right now) I'm not sure will make it
 
2014-04-16 10:37:41 AM
The small, private, college I went to on a scholarship my freshman year had a women to men ratio of 4:1.

All you had to do was show up and women would be openly competing with one another to sleep with you.

I became disillusioned with the attitudes of the Bentleys, Bryces, and Grahams so I transferred to a state college, but that was a major upside to school that can't be quantified in this article.

Most of the kids going there weren't saddled with any debt anyway. They came from serious coin and were usually bankrolled by a grandparent, receiving large cash allotments weekly.
 
2014-04-16 10:39:22 AM

rnatalie: I found that out the third year. I'd 've been there yet, but I went out for the swimming team.


...and when you got back the school was closed?
 
2014-04-16 10:40:23 AM

Rapmaster2000: There's simply a sustainability problem here.  The cost of a college education is not keeping pace with the value of college education.  There has to be some contraction in what students are willing to pay.  Much like with home-buying, you can use the emotional strings of the American dream to sustain the bubble much longer than it should run (bubbles always run longer than the fundamentals say they should run), but economics will catch up with you.


It's even wider than that. There has been a "PhD crisis" for years in the USA. What's the crisis? Many more people with PhDs are churned out (in all fields) than are able to get "PhD-level employment" with their shiny, new doctorates. However, no PhD generating institution is willing to step up and restrict their output.
 
2014-04-16 10:42:35 AM
My wife teaches at a private two year school that is very expensive. I was shocked to find out that her two year program costs about $30k for a degree with a starting wage of about $12.00 an hour. And these people will be lucky to be making $15.00 an hour after five years experience. How they can convince people to spend that type of money for such a low paying career is beyond me.
 
2014-04-16 10:42:47 AM
Went to a small liberal arts school that happens to be struggling financially at the moment.  I'm torn on this.  My school had a GREAT science program, but was kind of weak in a lot of the liberal arts.  (We had essentially a 100% acceptance rate, but obviously things like organic and P-chem are going to be a lot more self-selecting).  For those going into med school or the hard sciences, the place was a godsend and my letters of rec from professors I'd drink with at the bar and knew personally are probably the reason I got my MD 4 years later, but for those kids who were floating by with a sociology or communications degree, it seemed like they could have saved a lot of money by just going to Michigan State.
 
2014-04-16 10:43:08 AM

Somacandra: [31.media.tumblr.com image 500x375]

 I've had just about enough of your Vassar-bashing, young lady!


came for this, it may be a good morning just yet.
 
2014-04-16 10:44:53 AM

PunGent: I'll toss in my usual point about bloated admin structures at some (not all) of these places.  I know of at least two where tuition's been outpacing inflation for years...and it's ALL going to hire Third Assistant Deans in Charge of Fundraising and Outreach...who can't even fundraise their own salaries.

Both college's natural response to the shortfall was to hire more fundraising admins...you can guess how well that turned out.


As a private university fundraiser who has raised almost 4x my salary this fiscal year, I'm getting a kick out of your reply.

But your point is fair, it's some, not all schools where this is a problem. If the fundraising shop is doing it's job and run by competent people, it's a revenue generator, just like any sales force.
 
2014-04-16 10:47:07 AM
Without institutions to handicap the children of the 1%ers, nothing will stop them
 
2014-04-16 10:50:10 AM

incrdbil: I have no sympathy for the closure of high priced small schools that don't have a proven return on investment.

That said, some of them are very good institutions, offering better instructors and much smaller class sizes. The educational 'quality' of a 200 student sized class of a larger state school is questionable.


Some small private schools are very good.  Some people need smaller class sizes and a bit of hand holding to succeed academically. However, smaller class sizes does not always mean a superior education, especially if the school can't afford to higher better professors, but specialized equipment needed for instruction in the sciences, or fund the research that gives those students the opportunity to explore the skills they're learning in a practical setting.

I went to a medium-sized public university (about 22,000 students).  I only had one class that was in the giant auditorium style, and it was just an elective to fill a history requirement.  For the most part everyone I knew had relatively small class sizes for their core classes.
 
2014-04-16 10:52:03 AM
"Lots of small southern private colleges..."

FTFH.
 
2014-04-16 10:53:34 AM

TuteTibiImperes: incrdbil: I have no sympathy for the closure of high priced small schools that don't have a proven return on investment.

That said, some of them are very good institutions, offering better instructors and much smaller class sizes. The educational 'quality' of a 200 student sized class of a larger state school is questionable.

Some small private schools are very good.  Some people need smaller class sizes and a bit of hand holding to succeed academically. However, smaller class sizes does not always mean a superior education, especially if the school can't afford to higher better professors, but specialized equipment needed for instruction in the sciences, or fund the research that gives those students the opportunity to explore the skills they're learning in a practical setting.

I went to a medium-sized public university (about 22,000 students).  I only had one class that was in the giant auditorium style, and it was just an elective to fill a history requirement.  For the most part everyone I knew had relatively small class sizes for their core classes.


Bah, hire.
 
2014-04-16 10:53:46 AM
Small private college = overcharging kids who couldn't get into a real school for a mediocre education.

And that's when they're not poorly disguised attempts for more religious brainwashing. Good riddance.
 
2014-04-16 10:57:22 AM
I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.
 
2014-04-16 11:05:57 AM

Pangea: The small, private, college I went to on a scholarship my freshman year had a women to men ratio of 4:1.

Most of the kids going there weren't saddled with any debt anyway. They came from serious coin and were usually bankrolled by a grandparent, receiving large cash allotments weekly.


This doesn't sound like the colleges that are at risk.

My dad went to a smallish religiously-affiliated liberal arts school in Kansas (there are still dozens) in the 60s.  Came out okay, I guess.  Several really, really successful people in his class. (He wasn't one of them).    So, from time to time, he'd take me to alumni weekends or whatever, suggesting it as an option anyway.

Yeah... some point between the early '60s and the 1990s, it and its cohort schools took an academic nose-dive.  Not that the faculty are abjectly terrible.  As far as I can tell, they were genuinely interested in teaching, but faced with year-after-year of ever-more-'lump' students, were usually burned out.  They didn't offer much academically, couldn't offer much in the way of scholarships, and pretty much had no idea what they were about any longer other than "we're the only 4-year school within 30 miles... and everyone loves NAIA football".   They aren't hideously expensive, but aren't any cheaper than public directionals.

I'm not sure how they survive.  Student loans, alumni (small town insurance salesmen) sending their kids there, and small-town party atmosphere ("draggin Main, picking up high school chicks") has made it work so far I guess.
 
2014-04-16 11:06:18 AM

Semper IvXx: Small private college = overcharging kids who couldn't get into a real school for a mediocre education.

And that's when they're not poorly disguised attempts for more religious brainwashing. Good riddance.


I like my Catholic private university. Suck it
 
2014-04-16 11:07:11 AM

incrdbil: Reducing the 'fue' to the fire that has been spurring the increase of college tuition by giving less money to students who are less likely to graduate, driving them to more affordable, realsitic options such as community colleges.


So your solution to the problem of higher tuition is to f*ck the students who are busting their ass to try and make something of themselves by getting a degree?

F*ck you sideways.
 
2014-04-16 11:09:51 AM

Silly_Sot: Rapmaster2000: There's simply a sustainability problem here.  The cost of a college education is not keeping pace with the value of college education.  There has to be some contraction in what students are willing to pay.  Much like with home-buying, you can use the emotional strings of the American dream to sustain the bubble much longer than it should run (bubbles always run longer than the fundamentals say they should run), but economics will catch up with you.

It's even wider than that. There has been a "PhD crisis" for years in the USA. What's the crisis? Many more people with PhDs are churned out (in all fields) than are able to get "PhD-level employment" with their shiny, new doctorates. However, no PhD generating institution is willing to step up and restrict their output.


Shouldn't it be up the the PhD-holders to step up their game, and make themselves more desirable than their colleagues?

Why should the school stop educating people in order to artificially restrict the supply?

That's worse than the current state of affairs, IMHO.
 
2014-04-16 11:14:10 AM
The one up the road from me just announced yesterday that they were closing - they laid everyone off yesterday and the remaining classes are going to be taught by volunteers.  Apparently, the president and his family looted the damned place while being to shady to do their financial aid paperwork to the Department of Education to get reimbursements.  Then it was discovered that they had lied to the DoEd and they owe them millions of ill gotten dollars back.  The students claimed for awhile when the story broke back in February that they were being picked on by the government because the were a Baptist college.  Not that they were a baptist college ran into the ground by crooks.

I can't wait for the episode of American Greed about this.

Google Mid Continent University - I do not see how this is not c
 
2014-04-16 11:19:41 AM

rewind2846: incrdbil: Reducing the 'fue' to the fire that has been spurring the increase of college tuition by giving less money to students who are less likely to graduate, driving them to more affordable, realsitic options such as community colleges.

So your solution to the problem of higher tuition is to f*ck the students who are busting their ass to try and make something of themselves by getting a degree?

F*ck you sideways.


In four years you'll be biatching about those assholes who let you rack up all that debt to go to that shiatty private school.

fark you sideways.
 
2014-04-16 11:22:49 AM
I think I found the cause for the Vassar rejection the subby noted:


www.slate.com

has penis.
 
2014-04-16 11:23:07 AM

ph0rk: I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.


Hell, I was still making bad life decisions at 25.  That's the year I got married.
 
2014-04-16 11:26:15 AM

FLMountainMan: rewind2846: incrdbil: Reducing the 'fue' to the fire that has been spurring the increase of college tuition by giving less money to students who are less likely to graduate, driving them to more affordable, realsitic options such as community colleges.

So your solution to the problem of higher tuition is to f*ck the students who are busting their ass to try and make something of themselves by getting a degree?

F*ck you sideways.

In four years you'll be biatching about those assholes who let you rack up all that debt to go to that shiatty private school.

fark you sideways.


You're not even who I was responding to, so fark you backwards.
 
2014-04-16 11:27:02 AM

ph0rk: I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.


I am not surprised, but I would try and help them not make the same mistakes. Or at least inform them of the pitfalls so they can make an educated decision for themselves.

I wanted to go to a smaller private school for English. Parents pushed me toward the state school and it was a better decision.
 
2014-04-16 11:27:07 AM
Undergrad bubble should spread to graduate programs as well. I work a block from a third-tier private law school that is charging $40k a year.

/Adjunct part-time professors make about $15k. Someone has to pay for the dean's yacht, right?
 
2014-04-16 11:29:11 AM
Climbing on soap box

The major disruption in education and college is occurring and I'm not seeing any serious discussion to make the disruption intentional, beneficial, and less experimental. Brick and mortar colleges probably can't and won't compete with free or low cost on-line offerings. Why listen to a lecture or participate in a class with a random PhD when you can listen to the very best speaker/teacher/researcher in the world?

We also need to think about the curriculum. What does it mean to be educated? The discussion is usually focused on STEM vs. liberal arts. There's more to life than work or a career and more to life than being an artist or a writer. Perhaps we also need to include some exposure to the skilled trades. How can you be educated if you can't do basic plumbing, electrical, or carpentry?

If we abandon brick and mortar schools what should we do with the 17 to 22 year olds? I shudder to think what a mess I would have made of my life if I hadn't physically gone to college...thanks PELL grants, financial aid, and plain old grant grants! I would have been lucky to have become an assistant crack whore.

More discussion leading to better, more reasoned curriculum combined with cheaper, better, and universal access to education is the goal.

Off soap box now.
 
2014-04-16 11:34:37 AM

Pangea: Silly_Sot: Rapmaster2000: There's simply a sustainability problem here.  The cost of a college education is not keeping pace with the value of college education.  There has to be some contraction in what students are willing to pay.  Much like with home-buying, you can use the emotional strings of the American dream to sustain the bubble much longer than it should run (bubbles always run longer than the fundamentals say they should run), but economics will catch up with you.

It's even wider than that. There has been a "PhD crisis" for years in the USA. What's the crisis? Many more people with PhDs are churned out (in all fields) than are able to get "PhD-level employment" with their shiny, new doctorates. However, no PhD generating institution is willing to step up and restrict their output.

Shouldn't it be up the the PhD-holders to step up their game, and make themselves more desirable than their colleagues?

Why should the school stop educating people in order to artificially restrict the supply?

That's worse than the current state of affairs, IMHO.


A glut of PhDs is worse for pretty much everybody but tenured faculty and university finance VPs because it usually results in more teaching being done by overworked, underpaid adjuncts who have no academic freedom and aren't usually expected or allowed to contribute research to help the field grow.

University finance people like PhD students because they pay more and you can exploit them as cheap labor as well.  Tenured faculty like them because their jobs aren't in danger and more grad students means they can teach more grad-level classes and leave the undergrad stuff to TAs.

But, overall, an over-supply of PhDs can hurt the entire education field.
 
2014-04-16 11:41:20 AM

Rapmaster2000: ph0rk: I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.

Hell, I was still making bad life decisions at 25.  That's the year I got married.


29, for me... I think I've finally figured things out at least. Hopefully. We'll see.
 
2014-04-16 11:42:39 AM
DRTFA...

If this is because they are pricing/managing themselves out of business, then I concur with author. Good.

Something has got to goddamn well change re: college costs in this country. If this is the first shoe to drop, so be it.

/ medical industry can follow suit
 
2014-04-16 11:47:17 AM

ladyfortuna: Rapmaster2000: ph0rk: I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.

Hell, I was still making bad life decisions at 25.  That's the year I got married.

29, for me... I think I've finally figured things out at least. Hopefully. We'll see.


If all you make are good decisions, you aren't trying anything new.
 
2014-04-16 11:51:00 AM
OdradekRex:  The model of teaching most undergraduate courses with TAs while holding on to hugely bloated administrations will not be sustainable.

We can only hope.

/ my best friend is a director of student affairs at a state school
 
2014-04-16 11:52:57 AM

uber humper: ladyfortuna: Rapmaster2000: ph0rk: I don't know why people are surprised when 18 and 17 year olds make bad life decisions.

Hell, I was still making bad life decisions at 25.  That's the year I got married.

29, for me... I think I've finally figured things out at least. Hopefully. We'll see.

If all you make are good decisions, you aren't trying anything new.


If you're not losing lures, you're not fishing where the fish are.
 
2014-04-16 11:59:14 AM

Frank N Stein: Semper IvXx: Small private college = overcharging kids who couldn't get into a real school for a mediocre education.

And that's when they're not poorly disguised attempts for more religious brainwashing. Good riddance.

I like my Catholic private university. Suck it


And I'm sure you'll be able to pay your $100,000 in student loans with your degree in "Pope Studies".
 
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