We Want Your Money, Not Your Credits

by Samantha Decapua     

   It is very common in this day and age for prospective students to attain credits before going to college. Whether it is credits earned through Advanced Placement (AP) classes, early college programs, studying abroad, or courses students took at the university before fully enrolling, students find some way to get a solid head start. Students also have the opportunity to take courses at other institutions during their years at their university. There is nothing wrong with students taking advantage of all of the opportunities they have open to them right? I mean, colleges and universities grant their students this freedom for a purpose, because it is beneficial for both the student and the schools. However, the University of Connecticut doesn’t seem to think the same thing.

            According to an article by Paul Fain, UConn has caused much controversy in the community with their new proposal. Their proposal calls for a limit of the number of credits its traditional, non-transfer students can earn at other institutions while enrolled at UConn. This pitch received harsh critique from community colleges and state lawmakers almost immediately. You can understand why this caused such commotion once you hear the rationale behind this plan.

            The university’s vice provost of academic affairs, Sally Reis, explains how “data trends suggest that if [students] take a prerequisite at a community college, they often fail the subsequent course they take at UConn.” But here is the kicker, she expounds upon that by saying “our students are taking easier and cheaper classes elsewhere.” It is clear that this university just wants to collect the money that their own students are investing at institutions elsewhere. Reis said it herself when complaining about the “loophole” students found and are taking advantage of in order to save money on their education. All in all, the University of Connecticut should not hinder their students from being frugal and wise about where they are investing their money. They are clearly only concerned about the money…not the student.

Other Companies Paying for our Tuition

    by Nathan Nodolski

Large online companies such as Google, Facebook, and others are free to use, but they make millions to billions of dollars yearly. How do they do this? The main source of income on these sites are the advertisements. Companies pay to make their ad be seen on the side of Facebook or show up first in the Ad section in Google. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for the company that the ad is for and the online site, because the site gets money and hits, and the company’s product or site gets publicity. The more hits your site gets, the more the companies will pay to advertise on your site.

In the article “Ads Instead of Tuition”, an idea is proposed to use this model for colleges. Therefore, companies will work together to advertise their products at the college in exchange for lower tuition rates; kind of like sponsorship. The example given in the article is laptop companies could give out and advertise their laptops.

Another thing that colleges and companies could mutually benefit from this is for recruiting. By working throughout the years with the colleges, the companies can scope out prospective employees for the future while the colleges keep them updated. These company entwinement could also help the college with recruiting, because it will have a solid networking base for the students.

 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/21/president-private-college-argentina-has-unusual-idea-finance-higher-education

Don’t hate on Luddites!

by Christie Rosenzweig

This article, We are Not Luddites, by, Brooks Kohler, was a reaction piece to an article recently released in the Economist that compared professors who refuse online classes, to the Luddites of the 19th century (factory workers who destroyed industrial machinery that they feared would take away their jobs). The author, a history professor thought the comparison was a gross and ridiculous exaggeration. He points out that as society evolves into becoming more and more technology based, some latent negative changes are occurring. Yes it is positive that more jobs require a college degree, however, the rise in college students is creating a less personal educational approach. Kohler believes this will have negative effects in the long term.

I agree that not all aspects of higher education need to be pushed in a technology driven direction. There are some subjects that don’t lend themselves to MOOCS. Also, I personally see a lot of benefit to having a connection with one’s professors and peers. Though technology may make teaching more convenient, or easier for students, that does not necessarily mean that they are getting the best education possible. I also agree that teachers should not be criticized for refusing to transfer their material into a technology friendly media. Professors should be trusted and respected in their field, and should not feel pressured to compromise their methods to accommodate the parameters of technology- just because it works well for some, doesn’t mean that technology is applicable for all.

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/11/22/professors-who-dislike-online-learning-are-not-luddites-essay

Ways to Increase College Access

by Zachary Hill

Recently, the Senate held a meeting focusing on student aid and college access in preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Increases in federal funding seem unlikely, so the government is placing an emphasis on simplification of obtaining aid. Some of their goals include streamlining federal student aid and increasing flexibility in different programs. Justin Draeger’s article “3 Ways to Boost College Access ” suggests three recommendations to increase college access.

The recommendations are: better align the financial aid and college admissions processes, implement a “Pell Promise,” and offer flexibility in the Pell Grant program. Often a conflict exists between FAFSA and tax deadlines. Most families submit the FAFSA by January 1st, but most do not file their taxes until months later. This results in a delay of an actual financial award letters and reduced financial aid because financial aid is often given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Draeger suggests the use of prior-prior year (PPY) for earlier financial aid awards. A “Pell Promise,” which is a “commitment of funds from the federal government as early as the ninth grade,” would allow prospective college students from low-income families to be aware of grant eligibility earlier. Flexibility in the Pell Grant program could be changed to a “Pell Well” system, which would show students their lifetime Pell Grant eligibility. This would also allow them the take out funds from their “Pell Well” at their own pace.

These recommendations would greatly improve college access to many students who are indecisive about applying to colleges. Earlier financial aid information would encourage low-income students to apply. Greater flexibility in federal student aid would make college more affordable. Members of Congress should seriously consider these changes when reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

Failure’s a Tricky Word

by Brenden Overton

If you were a college student, at what lengths would you go to avoid failing a course? If you were a university professor, where would you draw the line in terms of failure of students? The answer is subjective, no doubt. This is undoubtedly an issue that people continuously face in the classroom and in many avenues of life. The connotations and definitions of failure vary but the end conclusion is that failure is BAD. We live in a society where failure is unacceptable and discouraged, and if something is difficult or painful we go to unruly lengths to avoid it. This inclination is particularly prevalent in the college classroom, where failure is denoted by a scathing “F” and a shameful demeanor that students will manipulate the system in any way possible to avoid.

In his brief article “Arrested for Writing,” Bob Blaisdell provides a narrative of the series of events leading to the eventual failure of one of his students, and the outrageous lengths this student went to avoid the stigma of a failing grade. As I remained on the edge of my seat, anxious to read what would happen next, it dawned on me that this story is not so uncommon. Our nations children and students are raised on the principles that failure should be avoided at all costs. If you were to ask ten people on the street: “What is the opposite of success?” My guess is the most prominent answer would be in fact, failure. I contend, in agreement with a speech I once heard, that failure is not the opposite of success, but rather the sister to success. As humans, we learn much more from our failures then we ever will from our victories. Isn’t it ironic that in our classrooms, on our sports teams, and just in life in general that these learning experiences through shortcomings are violently discouraged? Although this article may have just been a story to the author, it provides an excellent underlying message. Perhaps it is time to address the manner in which we evaluate the success of the young adults in our society, and this process begins in the classroom. Why is this important? It is critical because the most successful people in American history, such as Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, and Thomas Edison to name a few, learned through their failure and struggle to eventually become some of the most admired men to  ever walk the face of the earth.

Adjunct Professors

by Vadim Belogorodsky

The new debate in university administration is the effectiveness of adjunct professors. Some studies show that they can focus more time to students than full time employees because adjunct professors are there more by choice than for employment. They simply enjoy teaching. Other studies show that they have negative effects which include scheduling classes at late hours around their schedules and not being tied into the curriculum goals as full time staff.  This week’s article. “Net-Zero” by Colleen Flaherty examines a third opinion in which adjunct professors do not impact the success rate of students at all.
New research discovered that schools that use part-time faculty have a matching set of data to schools with tenured and non-tenured professors. The research was done by Hongwei Yu, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Office of Community College Research and Leadership. His findings reported no true effect on student success and were based on  school size / class size, location, and students’ high school GPA. Although his research was extensive, he still thinks there is more to discover.  Adjuncts in the college setting are still treated poorly, and Yu is telling colleges to “proceed with caution” in treating them in that fashion.  Students still learn with adjuncts as their guides so cutting their resources is taking away from the students in the long run.
It’s difficult to prove if adjuncts are “good” or “bad,” in the same way you would judge a professor.  Success rates don’t truly depend on professors themselves, but on a plethora of different aspects. Some curricula are more difficult than others, some majors are more demanding than others as well. The process of judging if adjuncts help or hinder their students is a gray area that can’t really be defined, and this can be seen in all of the contradicting studies that are found on their success ratings.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/15/study-finds-no-impact-student-success-having-adjunct-instructors

Veterans appreciated at Ohio State

by Zeynep Ozdener

With Veteran’s Day just passed, the Military Times magazine just released its annual ranking of colleges that do the most for veteran students.

This year’s list was a little different than previous years, however, because Military Times looked at many more variables than usual when ranking US colleges. Not only did they place great emphasis on each school’s veteran-focused programs, they also considered the level of academic quality, rigor and success. Approximately 600 schools participated in the 150-question survey.

This shows that many more higher education institutions in the United States are tracking the progress of their veteran students since recent years, but it also shows that the majority are still not.

However, at Ohio State, there are over 2,200 veteran students, and since Ohio State was ranked 18th in the list of 74 four-year institutions, clearly veterans are cared about in this institution.

Ohio State was ranked so high because it offers multiple extracurricular and academic programs for veterans, and also keeps track of their progress to make sure that they graduate on time. Ohio State has a graduation rate of 82%, the fourth highest on the Military Times’ list.

Overall, what this ranking shows is that while many schools do give special consideration to the men and women that serve our country, the majority of schools do not. This obviously needs to be remedied, and a ranking system like this could provide a beneficial incentive to many higher education institutions in America to provide more programs and attention to veteran students.