11
   

Should student financial aid be tied to "workforce needs"

 
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 03:38 pm
@roger,
Personally, I think the student loan program inflates the cost of education to the detriment of all.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 03:52 pm
@DrewDad,
I could not agree more.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 03:56 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
There is a bill in our Senate that would tie student aid to workforce needs, setting aside 50% of opportunity grants for students studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

I'm not sure what I think about this so I'd like to explore the idea a bit by hearing what you think about it.

I would vote against the bill. I would vote "no" even if I did see college as just a trade school for white-collar workers. (I don't.) A college education shapes the student's entire work life. There's no good way for the legislature to assess "workforce needs" 45 years into the future. Aggravating this difficulty, you have the average politician's disinclination to think beyond the next election. Then there's the foreseeable interference from special-interest lobbies, whose clients don't think beyond their next quarterly report. Students, on the other hand, choose their major knowing they'll have to live with their choice for their entire work life. I can't see the Oregon legislature's bill improving on the unencumbered choice of students, not even in terms of its stated goals.
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Mar, 2013 07:59 pm
I think college should be free for all. (Not 'A' free for all). Let me explain. My dad got through 8th grade (free) and was able to be successful. In his day many men left school to work on the farm. In my day you had to get through high school (free). I was fortunate enough to get through college with company reimbursement. Now, college is required for well paying jobs, and subsidies like reimbursement are not as available. I know there are exceptions, but college has become too expensive for many people. What better investment is there?
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 06:27 am
@IRFRANK,
It also saddles people (either the students or their parents, or both) with tons of debt. After mortgages, how big are student loans as debt in the United States?

Of course professors should be paid well - they are highly educated (most hold doctorates) and the work is not easy. But how are they paid under this model, without taxing the hell out of everyone?

I have seen the cost of my alma mater, Boston University, skyrocket, but it was always high to begin with. They could buy or build fewer buildings, I imagine. But the creation and maintenance of a world-class school is costly. At the same time, though, they revitalize the area that they are in, by adding jobs (not just professorships, but also all of the goods and services that are required for what, at a population of around 20,000, is a small city in a lot of parts of the country) and a security force.

I like the idea in principle, but what the heck would be its execution?
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:10 am
@Thomas,
I think that they think that they can accurately predict what jobs will be necessary in the next 4 years. And maybe they can.

But I do have a problem with STEM education starting in kindergarten and have heard rumblings on the ground that it needs to be changed to STEAM - with Arts being added. A lot of people are suspicious of the arts though, thinking them a waste of time.

I remember 10 years ago when nursing was predicted to be one of the safest things to study. A friend of mine was trying to get into nursing school and it was nearly impossible. She eventually did, graduated, and found a job after a year of looking. Another friend of mine just graduated at the top of her class from nursing school last year and she's STILL looking.

They didn't do a very good job at predicting the number of nurses we would need. A quick Google search just now shows nurses to still be in high demand.

It's confounding.

I read an exchange the other day that went along the lines of "I was told if I didn't study hard and make it through college that I'd end up flipping burgers. Now that I've graduated and can't find a job I'm told that I'm lazy and entitled because I don't want to get a job flipping burgers."
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:14 am
@IRFRANK,
I remember seeing (60 Minutes?, some other news show?) a man interviewed that suggested that the whole student debt crisis could be tracked down to an investment book that urged parents to help their kids take out gigantic loans to pay for school instead of just ponying up to help them pay for it.

I've tried to track down that interview many times but I can't find it.
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:34 am
@jespah,
Certainly the cost is a problem, but don't we support education through high school? I wouldn't expect the professors to lower their compensation. The cost of education has sky rocketed. I went to a state school ( OSU) and when I was there 35 years ago the cost was about $2500 a year for undergrad, tuition only. Now it is 3 or 4 times that. Why? I understand inflation, but it has far exceeded that. The fact is that education should not only be for the elite or those who can afford it, and a graduate should not come out of school with $100k in debt. I don't have the answers for the cost. Obviously it would have to be some form of tax. The trade schools that have started are a reasonable alternative. They are lower cost and serve the purpose of providing people a skill. It's a better investment that spending $10B a month fighting wars.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:37 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
I read an exchange the other day that went along the lines of "I was told if I didn't study hard and make it through college that I'd end up flipping burgers. Now that I've graduated and can't find a job I'm told that I'm lazy and entitled because I don't want to get a job flipping burgers."


There are jobs out there, especially in health care. That doesn't mean one doesn't have to work to find the right fit. I was laid off a couple years ago and it took me 1 year to find work. I sold computers at Best Buy for 6 months in the meantime. The job market is competitive.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:41 am
@boomerang,
People have to make their own decisions as to the value of the investment of college. Borrowing $100K to get an arts degree is not a good investment, IMHO. Bottom line is that it should be cheaper across the board.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 07:44 am
@boomerang,
Nursing is a profession where it really depends where you are. Utah, of all places, is projected to be big for nursing (that is likely a function of demographics more than anything else). New nursing grads have a LOT of trouble finding work, but experienced ones do well. But how do you get over that hump?

Re IRFrank's point - I agree - the rise in costs has far outstripped inflation and any reasonable standard of how much any of this stuff should cost. BU was saddled with big-time costs and some of that was related to the president of the school commanding a huge, elite salary. He's gone now (John Silber is dead, actually), but it did set a precedent - and we aren't even an Ivy League.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 09:41 am
@jespah,
A huge problem is that professorial staff often do not teach. Many universities hire people with doctorates in order to improve the prestige of the institution, and these people expect to do research and to write the publications essential to their reputations in the academic milieu ("publish or perish"). They might consent to doing a graduate seminar or two. The teaching of undergraduate courses is left graduate assistants or people with Masters' degrees hired for that specific purpose. When i worked in universities in the 1980s. the reality of austerity required many professors to teach undergraduate survey course, and believe me, they howled like scalded cats. A good deal of the cost of higher education results from the support of professors who do not contribute much to the school's teaching mission.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 09:47 am
@Setanta,
The model definitely has got to change. It's a big layer cake*, and we're supporting the icing, methinks.

*Yes, I am hungry for lunch.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:15 am
@engineer,
Yes.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:21 am
@jespah,
Me too, i'm thinking chicken soup.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:36 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
the school's teaching mission.

This may be part of the problem; I'm not sure that universities see their mission as teaching.

Let's take the University of Texas as an example....

I think they only take undergraduates because they have to do so. I think they see their mission as a) sports (which is really fundraising) and b) research (which is really fundraising, because it's paid for through grants).

UT is a huge money machine, and I don't think they give two farts in the wind for their undergraduate programs, except to keep up appearances.



(This is a general opinion about the folks who run the university. There are, of course, dedicated professionals who really care about their students.)
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:43 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

I remember seeing (60 Minutes?, some other news show?) a man interviewed that suggested that the whole student debt crisis could be tracked down to an investment book that urged parents to help their kids take out gigantic loans to pay for school instead of just ponying up to help them pay for it.

I've tried to track down that interview many times but I can't find it.

I remember that there was a lot of noise on this subject. (Maybe around 1995? 2000?)

The basic message was, "It's dumb to jeopardize your retirement to fund your kids' education. They're going to get the benefit, so let them take the risk."


Just ran a google search on that, and it's still being trumpeted.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:44 am
@DrewDad,
I agree with that. When i worked there, the University of Illinois failed 50% or more of the incoming undergraduates every year. There was a very stiff competition among graduate students for teaching assistant positions, just because there were so many of them looking for a job. I knew a guy who was in the philosophy doctorate program, who got an assistantship one year to teach astronomy, about which he knew squat. I was talking to someone once when he was there, and this guy asked me what the speed of light is--and i told him it's in excess of 186,000 miles per second. This joker who was teaching astronomy interrupted to say: "No it's not, it's 186,000 miles per hour." I told him he was wrong, and even eventually pointed out that if that were true, it would take more than an hour for a radio message to go one way between the earth and the moon, which is about 230,000 miles away. He denied that! Why was a guy from the philosophy department teaching astronomy? Politics.

They guys who had the cushiest berths were the research assistants, and there were lots of those at the U of I, a major research institution.

I agree completely that many large universities are money making machines, and teaching is at the bottom of their list of priorities.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2013 08:11 pm
@boomerang,
I'm odd on all this.
I was your typical sort of stellar student in a small high school and while my family was trying to save the house and pay insurance and I was working my buns off (father unemployed, mother in a clerical job, me after high school), the facts were that my father earned very well for one month and that kicked me out of state scholarship that year. I'm not sure he ever earned again, in memory. My larger failure was that I never applied again, nor to any other source, too busy, too ignorant.

I went to a university that had no tuition then. UCLA. It was a few miles away.
We were not supposed to work more than x hours and I worked in the thirties.
I made it through.

This could be about me being stupid, or it could be about the need for free education for those able, after high school.
We spend billions or trillions on wars.
The priorities are bizarre to me.

Ronald Reagan and others started tuition for CA universities, and so it went.
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Mar, 2013 08:48 am
@ossobuco,
Quote:
This could be about me being stupid, or it could be about the need for free education for those able, after high school.
We spend billions or trillions on wars.
The priorities are bizarre to me.

Ronald Reagan and others started tuition for CA universities, and so it went.


It's certainly about education being available and affordable. Maybe not free, but close to it. Absolutely, our priorities are wrong, but war feeds the military/industrial complex. With the new 'no taxes' mantra, where does that leave education?

I saw in the news that one of the things cut in the 'sequester' was tuition reimbursement for returning service men and women. How stupid is that?
 

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