Re: Things I learned at faculty workshops

1

You must maintain a 2.0 and complete 75% of the classes you attempt

Who could possibly manage that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:11 AM
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... It's well-understood that first generation, high risk students need support services, small classes, etc, and that they succeed quite well if they get sufficient support their first 1-2 years. ...

This seems unfalsifiable, if they fail it's because they didn't get sufficient support.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:22 AM
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Oh James. Really? You can compare a control group of students and well-supported group of students in the same environment and see which group has better retention rates.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:23 AM
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I think my undergrad school kicked you out if you had below a 2.0 after your first year. It was only a year or so before you could reapply. It wasn't a bad idea in the case of my friends who couldn't keep a 2.0.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:23 AM
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Here you're placed on academic probation, which shunts you in towards all sorts of support services. Then if you still fail, you get kicked out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:24 AM
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Off to more workshops.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:25 AM
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Half the people I know (including CA) flamed out in their first go at college.
It's pretty obscene the way federal student loans are used punitively -- one is ineligible if one has a drug conviction* or failed to register for the draft. Rich kids -- go for it! The punishment only affects the poors!

*Did they get rid of this?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:26 AM
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These changes have been warmly welcomed at our institution, because it is perceived to be a crackdown on the students who sign up for classes, pocket the balance of the Pell Grant, and then never show up. It is not clear exactly how many people do this, but people in the registrar's office have said that there are a lot of people they've have trouble with. Under certain circumstances, the student has to give back the Pell Grant money, but even when we can take action, we rarely get the money back.

I have mixed feelings about this problem and the solutions to it. On the one hand, there is definitely a sizable population of student who show up for the first day of class and then are never seen again. I've also had an anonymous commenter show up at my blog and say that she and other people are doing this. Her explanation was that after Clinton killed AFDC, student aid has come to replace welfare.

On the other hand, I'm not sure there are enough free riders like this to compensate for the people who get hurt by this policy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:32 AM
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I dropped two out of my six classes first semester freshman year. I guess that would get me on immediate probation. I don't remember what happened second semester freshman year, because I was high.

And look at whats become of me. Almost 20 years later, and here I am, a productive member of society.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:34 AM
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5: Mosts of them were just drinking too much to study.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:35 AM
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8: A similar problem which the PACA has dealt with for people whose parents have insurance is the problem of tying health insurance to college enrollment. There was a publicized case in New Hampshire of a young woman who was very sick and needed to have heath insurance. She signed up for classes and took incompletes in all of them for the health insurance.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:37 AM
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My BF had a friend in Canada who took a very long time to finish Waterloo. One time he had to take time off. The other time he failed classes. His father was dying of complications from AIDS at the time. Shit happens.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:39 AM
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...or failed to register for the draft.

This pissed me off so fucking badly. I had to sign up to go get shot at if Bush I decided to get into some stupid war but the rich kids got to be all 'principled' and take a stand against the draft by refusing to sign up with no consequences.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:44 AM
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I love the one-two punch of less government funding and more government control!


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:47 AM
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11: That's the thing. People shouldn't have to bend the rules to get this money. This is a benefit people should have anyway.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:48 AM
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3

Oh James. Really? You can compare a control group of students and well-supported group of students in the same environment and see which group has better retention rates.

You are moving the goal posts. The well-supported group can do better without succeeding quite well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 6:50 AM
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I think a difference is that, for liberals, it's better to genuinely help 100 people and let 1-2 mooch off the system, whereas for conservatives, it's better to punish the 1-2 that mooch off the system than genuinely help 100 people.

Also, as Rob pointed out, people might be mooching off the system because they need help, and either have no way to get it or don't know how. It reminds me of the time some homeless people came to church and took the money out of the collection plate during offering. After church, my father went up to them, welcomed them, and told them they should keep the money but they didn't need to steal from the offering plate, because the church would help them with whatever they needed. It turned out the woman had heart failure and was pregnant, and the man was struggling to stay sober for the baby. My father got them proper medical care, housing, and eventually visited the woman every day in the hospital. The couple started attending church and never again stole from the offering plate (though unfortunately the woman and baby died in childbirth, and the man relapsed and moved to CA, so it's not exactly a Hollywood ending). Although stealing from an offering plate is wrong, the "right" response was compassion and access to proper resources, not calling the police.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:20 AM
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Also, as Rob pointed out, people might be mooching off the system because they need help, and either have no way to get it or don't know how.

They must really not know how. Taking out non-dischargeable loans where most of the money is sent to a 3rd party to pay tuition is so absurdly inefficient from the point of view of the borrower that I doubt it happens much. (For keeping health insurance, that would make sense in the system today.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:29 AM
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I think for many people who have been unemployed for a long time, taking out student loans is very appealing. There's some promise of education that will get you a new career or at least a job, plus you get immediate cash flow. There often aren't any other options.

It's interesting to think about the extent to which the failure of "welfare reform" is masked in the current recession by tons of student loans for low-quality courses.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:36 AM
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Or for high-quality courses. But I'm thinking of those dodgy for-profit places that advertise in the subway. It's hard to imagine they really improve many people's employment prospects.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:37 AM
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17: There's a church in Boston where the collection plate is more of bag than a plate. The church had a lot of outreach ministry including a foundation (which could fundraise from corporations and the like) which fed a lot of homeless people. But they pretty much condoned people taking what they needed.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:39 AM
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19: I'm not doubting that going back to school isn't more attractive because of loans. I'm just doubting that many do so with the intention of never going to class.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:40 AM
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I can't get too worked up about this, partially for the reasons that rob mentioned (it's a big problem here, too), and partially because I see a lot of students who shouldn't be in college (not always first gen) who are going to screw themselves under a mountain of debt, and it might be kinder to cut them off or at least have a standard with some teeth rather than let them run up tens of thousands in debt for a degree they can't finish. And we're talking about a standard that's more or less in line with standards for continuing at most universities, and one that has an appeals process.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:45 AM
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22: What we get a lot of is people signing up for full-time classes so they qualify for aid, and then never attending more than half of them. So they're not never going to college at all, but they're accepting an F in half their classes on the assumption that they'll retake it later and replace the bad grade, and in the meantime, more loan money.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:51 AM
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17: I think a difference is that, for liberals, it's better to genuinely help 100 people and let 1-2 mooch off the system, whereas for conservatives, it's better to punish the 1-2 that mooch off the system than genuinely help 100 people.

Complicated further by the fact that conservatives tend to see many more people as mooching than liberals do. Also there is a significant grey area where there are people sincerely trying but failing in ways that look like mooching, and people mooching but doing so in ways that look like sincerely trying.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:53 AM
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...and people mooching but doing so in ways that look like sincerely trying

It's called business consulting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:55 AM
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whereas for conservatives, it's better to punish the 1-2 that mooch off the system than genuinely help 100 people.

I think that's true about the nicer conservatives. For the others, all 100 are moochers, by definition.

The only deserving people who receive government benefits are the conservatives themselves.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 7:56 AM
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one is ineligible if one has a drug conviction*

I've heard the "you smoked a joint ten years ago and are banned from student aid forevers" lament before but from the federal eligibility worksheet it looks like they're mainly concerned with violations that occur while you're actually receiving aid and a possession violation is merely a one year suspension.

http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/attachments/011112StudentAidEligibilityDrugWkshten1213.pdf

The language of the code is subsection R, found here.

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea98/sec483.html


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:12 AM
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29

This struck me as some impressive mooching off of Red-State governments.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:14 AM
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30

I thought of going presidential for this but what the hell.

I was a somewhat older student when I went back to school. I'd just gotten married too and the plan was we were both going to go back and get our BAs. First semester everything's going great and I get straight As in all my classes, including some fairly difficult stuff (Sanskrit, heh). Then she gets the notion that she's going to go on a cross-country road trip with her best girl friend (which turns into "I'm not ready to be married"). I was completely in love with her and I'm just devastated but can't even contemplate leaving school for a semester or two to deal with it because I'd been away so long before I was afraid if I left then I might never go back. So I stayed. And bombed. An F or two, a couple of Ds, I think I might have pulled in a B and rather improbably a single A in one class in my major that I was fascinated with and served as a kind of beacon for me. Next semester is more of the same only a bit better (no Fs to the best of my recollection). Throw a couple of incompletes into the mix too. So two semesters of utter hell.

And then I pulled it out. Went back to straight As again. Lowest grade an A-. I think I managed to graduate with just over a 3.0.

After the first semester of disaster, or maybe the second - it's been so long now I can't quite recall - I was academically dismissed and had to petition for reinstatement (which was humiliating but I did it successfully all the same). But the consequence of that dismissal was that I was on automatic academic probation for the rest of my time there. And perfectionist that I was I did tend to get an incomplete or two every semester which I always turned into an A a few weeks after it had ended. So every semester I'd get a letter in the mail notifying me that I'd been academically dismissed again. Then a few weeks later another letter would arrive notifying me that I'd made Dean's list again. This happened like 3 or 4 times.

Needless to say if this policy had been in place I'd have been completely screwed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:21 AM
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re: 14

Pretty much the defining story of the past decade [at least], both in the US and here in the UK. That and hatred of the poor, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:27 AM
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re: 25

And also by conservatives generally being mooching bastards who think that their own mooching doesn't count.

Already pwn'd by 27.last


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:30 AM
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8 has me wondering is a reasonable solution to this whole mess mightn't be giving generous grants to cover tuition and fees (at non-profit institutions only, of course), but only having loans available to cover living expenses.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:46 AM
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re: 31

hatred of the not-rich, surely.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:48 AM
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8 has me wondering is a reasonable solution to this whole mess mightn't be giving generous grants to cover tuition and fees (at non-profit institutions only, of course), but only having loans available to cover living expenses.

That sounds lovely.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 8:57 AM
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29: The Cabela's in Buda is a bizarre, gigantic spectacle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 9:56 AM
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I fucking love Cabelas. My dad and I have been ordering from them for decades and I was thrilled when one was built just a few minutes from here. I can go buy everything from reloading powder to dry flies there and then go upstairs to the deli for an elk sandwich.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:10 AM
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Her explanation was that after Clinton killed AFDC, student aid has come to replace welfare.

This is off topic, but these charts from yesterday are one of the scarier things I've seen in a while because they really drive home how badly the working class is doing right now.

Most of the time I have a hard time hating Clinton for Welfare Reform -- I think it was bad policy, I think he should have done better, I count it against him. but I don't hate him for it.

But looking at the chart and seeing five million jobs lost by men with either no college education or an associates degree it's obvious that communities are being devastated -- if you had 10% unemployment everywhere then, at least, most of the unemployed would have friends or relatives with jobs who could both offer support and also points of contact to get back into the job market. But if you see an entire swathe of people put out of work it's hard to know what they should be doing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:11 AM
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37: A woman I went to high school with works for them. But, I don't want them subsidized.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:25 AM
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29 really is amazing. Or infuriating, whatever.

Whitley argues the stores should be viewed as an amenity being added to a community -- much like one might view a park or a library.

Riiiight. Except that they are privately owned for-profit entities.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:39 AM
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29 really is truly stunning.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:43 AM
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To be fair, they have more guns than all the libraries and most of the parks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 10:44 AM
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Following links from the story in 29, I see that my city has an "announced" Cabela's. I wonder what we paid for it.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 11:08 AM
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Also I've read that Buda's Cabela's has massively underperformed in delivering the number of jobs they claimed they'd produce - like 1/3 as many as they promised, or something - and there's no mechanism to rescind all their tax breaks and perks in light of this. Even the future ones.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 11:13 AM
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It impresses me how parts of the stores get owned by the municipality - the exhibit space they refer to as a "museums". Because what city doesn't need a publicly funded taxidermy n' gun museum, right in the middle of some private entity's retail operation?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 12:44 PM
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Also re. 29

Wow. I had no idea box stores were this bad. Are Bass Pro and Cabela's exceptions, or are Walmarts & Home Depots etc. doing this too?

Also, this makes me happy that the time my ex and I went to a Bass Pro I came out empty handed. We needed a conversion piece to allow an Australian bbq grill to hook up to American gas nozzles. We asked some guy for help, and after looking at the grill nozzle, he said something like, "oh, that's way too small for an American piece to fit, and we don't sell foreign stuff. Why don't you try REI, where they sell European products" in a way which strongly indicated that our liberal, un-American, metrosexual selves belonged in an effete blue state store.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 12:56 PM
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Stores, especially national chain stores, do this kind of thing all the time. Often the trick is to find a couple of potential locations in neighboring towns or counties and play them off each other for the biggest tax break. It's quite a scam, really.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 1:07 PM
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47: I'm usually against countermajoritarian constitutional restraints, but this is one area where I could very easily be convinced to support a state-level ban on localities making special deals that benefit individual entities.

The problem, of course, is how the fuck could you actually enforce it? It's hard to even specify exactly what you want to ban, especially so if you think there's a case to be made for local or regional economic development authorities (but maybe there isn't, if they're so reliably captured by established players).

Still, perhaps if we required all such deals to pass the scrutiny of a well-staffed, well-remunerated board of randomly-selected residents...

(Actually, maybe the key institutional trick would be to include non-residents, too, since the fundamental point is to block beggar-thy-neighbor dynamics.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 1:14 PM
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Taking out non-dischargeable loans where most of the money is sent to a 3rd party to pay tuition is so absurdly inefficient from the point of view of the borrower that I doubt it happens much

To be clear, I am talking about Pell Grants, not loans.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 1:15 PM
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Sorry. I was still thinking of the OP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 1:18 PM
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Speaking of people with debt looking at employment prospects, anyone here have an opinion about the value of the CompTIA certifications?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 2:30 PM
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I knew a guy who lived off student loans for a decade (grad school) before finally getting booted for lack of progress. Lots of debt someone who couldn't finish school is probably never going to be able to pay back.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 5:34 PM
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29: The Cabela's in Buda is a bizarre, gigantic spectacle.

Is there a counterpart in Pest?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 5:52 PM
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Pell Grants, or so Wikipedia tells me, are capped at $5,550 per year and, if I understand correctly, are typically less for part-time students. Assuming a large fraction of that goes to pay tuition, what would possess someone to pretend to be a student and not show up for classes just to pocket the remainder? It's not like they would be getting enough money to live on, and I would have thought if they wanted to pull a scam to get a little extra cash there would be much more remunerative options available.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 5:57 PM
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54

An article about Pell grant fraud. Apparently you can clear a couple of thousand dollars with little effort or risk. That would appeal to plenty of people. And it seems the government does very little to stop it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-17-12 9:46 PM
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According to the article, "their fraud costs taxpayers untold thousands." Untold thousands! The government really does need to crack down.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 2:42 AM
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55: oooh, intriguing! perhaps this should be my next scheme.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 3:29 AM
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56

Well as the article says:

But many student-aid advocates say the problem is being blown out of proportion. They argue that some fraud is inevitable in a $34-billion government program and worry that drawing attention to it will undercut their efforts to shield the Pell program from budget cuts. In interviews, they used words like "outlier," "limited," and "minuscule" to describe the scope of the fraud.

A typical liberal attitude about fraud in programs they favor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 5:04 AM
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A 1993 NYT article on Pell grant fraud (focusing on fraud by the schools) indicates the program has had problems for a long time.

The department's inspector general, James B. Thomas Jr., testified that the 21-year-old program attracts fraud because it is so easy to get away with it. "This $6.2 billion-per-year program operates essentially on an honor system," he said.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 5:09 AM
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58: Typically, they also want to have buttsecs with the fraud.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 5:41 AM
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8: I've also had an anonymous commenter show up at my blog and say that she and other people are doing this. Her explanation was that after Clinton killed AFDC, student aid has come to replace welfare.

Yeah, this sounds entirely made up (by your commenter, not you).

Here at Cornfield and Abattoir College, We require students to have cumulative GPA of 1.6 their first semester in order to be in good standing, below that is probation. Dismissal, however doesn't come until 0.8 their first semseter, 1.4 their second and so on up to 20. after thier fifth. Or at least it used to. Last year they started a new program where students below that .8 GPA for their first semester essentially get an intervention their second semester to encourage them to bring their grades back up and develop good study habbits. This is a very fine theory and the administration's justification for this trial program was that under the existing rules students could appeal their dismissal and their appeals were almost always granted, so why not formalize it and use some of our shiny new retention officers. Unfortunately, only two of the thirty some students on Extra Serious Probation managed to turn things around their second semester, which was really no improvement on the old system, and instead had racked up thousands of extra dollars in tution costs for themselves or their families.

The bigger problem here is our admissions standards, which need to be a lot tighter, but that would reduce enrollments which loses the college money and scares the hell out of the administration.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08-18-12 11:05 AM
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Every person in the US should see these numbers, which detail the stunning growth of for-profit colleges in recent years.

Vis a vis the current thread, it's worth noting that many of these for-profit schools would not exist if it were not for federal student loans. Ninety-six percent (96%) of all students in for-profit schools take out student loans, compared to 57% of those in 4-year private nonprofits, 48% in public colleges, and 13% in community colleges.

I have firsthand knowledge of the recruiting and marketing practices of the for-profits, and they are by and large disgusting. They trade on the gullibility, optimism, and ignorance of their students and push them hard toward non-credentialed, useless "careers" such as medical coding and billing, medical assistant, or aviation technician.

Better regulation of the for-profits would solve some of this, but the state attorneys general appear mostly disinclined to act and the federal attempt to strengthen regs went down in flames a year or two ago. Given that, tighter regulation of the students themselves seems like a small price to pay given the scale of the problem. I'm sure some worthy students will lose out, but it's very hard to believe that students overall won't be much, much better off not to have a millstone of debt around their necks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-19-12 8:28 PM
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