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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 12
    More: Dumbass, private colleges, default risk, credit ratings, nanny  
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4746 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Apr 2014 at 9:59 AM (13 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-16 02:31:26 PM
2 votes:

Loadmaster: So, adjusting for the multiple in salary increase, college costs have increased about 4 to 5 times for the same education.


I can't speak for private schools but in the case of public schools that's largely the result of states deciding they don't want to pay for the universities that bear their names and have really slashed the funding per student in not only inflation adjusted terms, but in real dollar terms in many places. At my alma mater (UW), the state used to pay more than 70% of educational expenses, and now pays for less than 30%. All by itself, this is a near-tripling in what the students themselves have to pay. In inflation-adjusted terms, the cost to educate a student has remained nearly flat for 20 years.
2014-04-16 10:36:50 AM
2 votes:

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 10:11:56 AM
2 votes:
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 09:22:30 AM
2 votes:
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 09:03:53 AM
2 votes:
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 01:31:38 PM
1 votes:

Rapmaster2000: The cost of a college education is not keeping pace with the value of college education.

In the 80's, college costs were about $10,000 for a high-level institution, and starting salaries for engineers were about $20,000. Now, college costs are about $80,000-$100,000 for the same institution, and starting salaries for engineers with the same degree as before are about $50,000.

So, adjusting for the multiple in salary increase, college costs have increased about 4 to 5 times for the same education.

Why? Since the federal government took over the business of college loans, universities have upped their prices because they knew that students had a guaranteed source of tuition, supplied almost entirely by a single entity. Suddenly, professors' salaries and other college expenditures skyrocketed.

The solution? Bring back private funding of student loans, with open free-market competition.
2014-04-16 11:52:57 AM
1 votes:

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 11:47:17 AM
1 votes:

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 10:29:23 AM
1 votes:
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 10:21:05 AM
1 votes:
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 09:19:29 AM
1 votes:
2014-04-16 08:17:24 AM
1 votes:
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.
 
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