Re: Technocrats

1

I was going to post it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
2

But I didn't need too, see, because I ensured that you'd have the proper incentives to do so yourself.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
3

The indignation is great, and all, but I'm still not quite sure from this post (or from any of the other grumbling on the internet) exactly why I should be opposed to Obama's higher education reform package. If the tacit goal is to eliminate the for-profits and "colleges and universities out there which do not meet minimal standards of quality" isn't that basically a good thing?

What concrete parts of the proposal scare people? The only specific thing Burke mentions is that colleges will have to keep track of the employment success of their graduates. This is expensive, but I don't think it is unreasonable, given that the main reason most of our students come to us is for economic mobility. On a very basic level, I really do want to know if what I am doing actually helps anyone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
4

If the tacit goal is to eliminate the for-profits...

I think there's a strong suspicion that some sort of exception for the for-profits will be inserted while no one's looking.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
5

I think people are looking at No Child Left Behind and expecting that the rewards for good performance will be awarded based on a combination of A) randomness B) gaming the metrics C) the rich get richer.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
6

Obviously, we just need more research grants so we can define a better metric.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
7

Boy do we need more research grants.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
8

4. Why beleive this? Are they politically well-connected? I don't know the answer, this is a genuine question.

The worst of them, and there are a bunch of those, seem like an easy anti-corruption target.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
9

Teaching kids is a distraction to the main goal of a university.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
10

Are they politically well-connected?

I thought so, yes. Burke implies they are, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
11

I also don't get why people are so opposed to Obama's proposals here. Certainly they could go too far, but it's not like the current "game the US News rankings" system is better. I'd rather have people trying to game outcomes than trying to game average incoming SAT score.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
12

The only specific thing Burke mentions is that colleges will have to keep track of the employment success of their graduates. This is expensive, but I don't think it is unreasonable, given that the main reason most of our students come to us is for economic mobility.

I don't think that employment success is really something that colleges have much control over.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
13

And I don't think they could, either. Not compared to the overall health of the economy, which many wonks seem bent on destroying, and not compared to the outcomes as predicted by the general privilege of the entering class as first years, either.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
14

What do the US News rankings actually affect?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
15

14: the profile of your incoming class.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
16

I was going to post it.

Slightly pwnd.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
17

13 seems right to me. They're going to blame kids and their teachers for not getting a practical education when lots of kids getting what used to be the practical degrees (e.g. law, accounting) are hunting for work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
18

I guess that's what I don't understand. How do they affect that? Aren't most colleges getting a large enough applicant pool that it wouldn't make much difference either way?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
19

For someone who works in higher education, I don't actually know much of anything about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
20


Though I respect Burke, I was already finding his argument unpersuasive when I hit the 13th chime on the clock: "there was ample evidence that a solid majority of American voters would support a simple strong regime of mandatory cost controls and something rather like a single-payer system". If that's your framework for understanding the art of the possible in politics, you're living in the world of gripers and dreamers.


Posted by: Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
21

Which in turn basically determines how well your graduates do. The value-added of college does not correspond to things that get measured very well.

It's really incredibly good that all the low end and mid-range colleges are basically providing a high-end high school experience to a huge chunk of the population. But that's what you wind up with: someone who can read somewhat critically and think somewhat abstractly and logically. That's a great thing, but it's wildly less impressive than everyone acts like colleges achieve.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
22

18: Maybe at the top, but I don't think that it true very far down the hierarchy of schools.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
23

20: Yea, that's a really naive reading of the polling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
24

22: But I thought US News only ranked the top part of the hierarchy anyway? Maybe that's where I'm wrong.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
25

How do they affect that? Aren't most colleges getting a large enough applicant pool that it wouldn't make much difference either way?

They are, but then the top half of the pool turns them down in favor of a better school.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
26

24: No, there are a million little subcategories and regional categories and on and on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
27

24: It's turtles ranked all the way down.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
28

If you are going to attempt to measure the impact of education on employment, you are obviously going to have to control for the current economic conditions, but this is something we are capable of.

I'm with upetgi here: I want to know specifically what is wrong with the proposal, not what is wrong with the people making the proposal, not what might be wrong with a later form of the proposal, and not what is wrong with past reforms at the K12 level.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
29

4 seems like a general argument for not having any government program ever, since obviously the rich and powerful will just corrupt it for their own uses.

I suppose many libertarians actually do believe that, but if you think the government should be doing at least some things, then the question remains - why do you think this particular program is more susceptible than average to that kind of abuse? Or more than the current system where the rich and powerful just buy into the neighborhoods with "good" schools and abandon the "bad" schools in areas with a lesser tax base.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
30

The last sentence in 29 is not relevant to a discussion of colleges, please disregard. I regret the error.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
31

Yesterday I had to talk to some angsty undergrad who wanted advice about grad school and whether he would be ruining his life if he goes or doesn't go or whatever. He seemed kind of surprised to hear I went to Cor/nell for grad school. "That's not a very high-ranking school, is it?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
32

3: Because we have legislatures full of knuckleheads that say it's just logic that we don't need the humanities and we should be churning out lots of computer certificates.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
33

If you are going to attempt to measure the impact of education on employment, you are obviously going to have to control for the current economic conditions, but this is something we are capable of.

We seem wildly unwilling to actually take this into account in any meaningful way, when assessing K-12.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
34

If that's your framework for understanding the art of the possible in politics, you're living in the world of gripers and dreamers.

Why are there so many blogs about policies
That no fucking way would fly?
Policies are visions, and only illusions,
that will almost certainly die.

So people say and some choose to believe it,
I think they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the pony connection,
the gripers, the dreamers and meeeeeeeeee


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
35

31 is wonderful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
36

4 seems like a general argument for not having any government program ever, since obviously the rich and powerful will just corrupt it for their own uses.

Not really. The main underlying context that I think of for this debate is the massive cuts in funding for the public colleges that were always the main way for somebody who wasn't wealthy to get a reasonably priced education. Much harder to corrupt something like that and it is slowly being strangled.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
37

I will go ahead and say out loud: I am ignoring utpetgi and RHC because it is a good question and I have no idea what the answer is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
38


Further to 20: The analogy with healthcare policy is actually a good one, though not in the way that Burke intends. The technocrats who wrote the ACA saw the following situation: there's a massive existing industry with highly uneven quality and systematic biases toward cost escalation that are creating ever worsening access problems for the poor and working class. Unfortunately, the system is resistant to reform because of the power of entrenched interests and their friends in Congress. But wait! The federal government is the largest single purchaser of this service. What if we use our buying power to nudge the industry toward more of the outcomes that we want while squeezing the worst of the profit-driven volume mills?

That was the theory, and it's working right now in healthcare.

Shorter me: yay, technocrats!


Posted by: Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
39

31 is wonderful.

Agreed, if "wonderful" means "the kind of thing that makes me want to set everyone on fire."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
40

You can just set essear's institution on fire. Lotta brick, though, might take some work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
41

34: +11!!


Posted by: Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
42

I also like 34.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
43

Speaking of subsets of that august institution, the article making the rounds about gender equity at HBS sure did make me think "what that place needs is not to be made more gender-equitable but to be nuked from orbit."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
44

Maybe Cornell can lend you their portable lava-making devices, I bet that would help with setting the brick alight.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
45

Putting nuclear weapons in space is against international law.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
46

43: Yeah, me too. Maybe a small enough nuke can get the Allston side of things without killing the rest of us.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
47

43: it made me wonder what kinds of improvement they might see if they stopped admitting assholes from high finance.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
48

He seemed kind of surprised to hear I went to Cor/nell for grad school. "That's not a very high-ranking school, is it?"

"Later, I referred to the great English universities: Oxford, Cambridge, Hull. A real Englishwoman would have known that only two of those are truly great universities."
"Quite right. Oxford's a complete dump."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
49

45 makes me and Freeman Dyson VERY SAD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nuclear_propulsion%29


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
50

I like 34 and 38 a lot.

I also agree with 29 that a lot of the arguments here seem very libertarian, in that they seem to be a priori arguments against any intervention in an industry. Normally, it is the Cato Institute that complains about meddlesome bureaucrats interfering in a system that was working fine on its own.

I'm trying to resist being drawn too far into this debate, because I actually have work to do today.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
51

I was going to say this in the physicist/lawyer thread: it's discouraging when people act as if these ratings actually mean something outside some very specialized contexts. One of the guys I office share with went to Harvard. This make no difference at all, not in the very least, in any way, in his law practice. It probably helped him get his first job 30 years ago, but the ripple effects of that are long long gone. Now, obviously, if he was being considered for a federal judgeship, it would matter again. But since he's doing what 99% of the million or so lawyers are doing, it means nothing.

And yet, we have students acting as if there's a difference between the 50th ranked school and the 75th, or, really, the 10th and the 25th. And the law schools consequently making decisions based on the rankings.

That colleges can't do anything to affect outcomes is a feature, not a bug. It's supposed to be an objective relative measure of the value of the education.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
52

With all this business about law degrees that aren't worth the money you pay, and ballooning student debts, and the growing tide of credentialism, maybe what the US (and maybe other countries too) needs is a rather fairer, significantly cheaper and much, much smaller tertiary education system. Or, in other words, don't stop with just nuking Harvard: carry on down the US News and World Report targetting list for a good fifty or so places.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
53

I'll be back with more suggestions for places to nuke later today, but I have to go and walk my dogs now.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
54

It probably helped him get his first job 30 years ago, but the ripple effects of that are long long gone.

That seems hard to judge. Mightn't he have gotten a much worse, or no, job, but for his institution?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
55

31: I had no idea Flip was now an angsty undergrad?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
56

The true for-profit diploma colleges are only max 1/10th, maybe 1/100th, as politically well connected as wealthy private colleges like, say, Swarthmore.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
57

54: I was wondering the same thing. I don't know much about what happened in the legal market 30 years ago, but for somebody today who gets a first legal job, the ripple effects will last a lifetime when compared to someone who doesn't get a first job that represents the bottom rung of a legal career.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
58

56: Yes, but I bet Swarthmore doesn't spend that much energy on affecting government policy, because the wind is generally at their sails and their business model isn't predicated on exploiting Pell grants.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
59

It wasn't a prestige job, really, and it doesn't have anything to do with what he was doing even 3 years later. Hordes of people wash out from prestige first jobs, and while it used to be the case that prestige employers would help place wash-outs to maintain prestige, those days are over. Long over. (My colleague didn't wash out so much as drop out.)

Which college you go to is hugely life consequential, mostly because of the people you meet (ie spouses, life long best friends), not anything captured in the ratings.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
60

14: For example, my understanding is that at my current school it's become harder to be accepted as a freshman and easier to be accepted as a transfer student because US News doesn't look at SAT scores of transfers.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
61

One practical worry I have is that it's very hard to tell what counts as working in a field that requires your degree. Most people with college degrees aren't working in a field that requires their specific undergraduate major. E.g.:

a) My sister has a degree in journalism and a master's in theology and works for the Department of Energy because she moved to DC and an ex-boyfriend passed her resume along to his dad. Does that mean her M.A. program counts her as a success or a failure?
b) I worked in consulting after college. Does that count as good for my alma mater's philosophy program?
c) My sister graduated in 2011 and struggled to find a good job like many of her cohort. When do we take the snapshot? Nine months after graduation? Two years? Ten years?
d) Most of my female friends from college who are married are out of the workforce to be stay-at-home moms. Is that the fault of their colleges?

My worry is that we take a short window that: a) colleges become so focused on a nine-months-after-graduation metric that they dedicate resources toward improving that number b) we start chasing whatever the hot trend of five minutes ago was. Everyone should be an app developer, and if you don't have the training or intellectual flexibility to adapt five years out, who cares, we're not measuring that.

The for-profit colleges will be fine. They have a lot of lobbyists.



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
62

don't stop with just nuking Harvard: carry on down the US News and World Report targetting list for a good fifty or so places

If, as your comment suggests, the goal is to reduce worthless degrees and ballooning student debt, you would probably be better off nuking the bottom 200 or so.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
63

59: Most people don't get a prestige job as a first job. But if you aren't working in the legal profession at all for your first two or three years out (and many aren't these days), I think you're pretty much done as a lawyer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
64

10, 38. It's possible to track how much insurers and for-profit hospitals give to which politicians. I use OpenSecrets.org's interface into this public data. I haven't done this for scammy for-profits or lobby groups, can't know.

10 seconds of google shows that U of Pheonix has been placed on notice by an accreditation organization, don't think there are master lobbyists at that one:
http://www.ncahlc.org/Information-for-the-Public/public-disclosure-notices.html

Basic question: What is the most profitable U, and who owns it?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
65

In the great "law schools are rip offs" debate, the latest round has law professors claiming that there services are valuable because we actually need MORE law school to adequately train a class of philosopher kings and well educated citizens, and those trying to eliminate law schools, lessen the length of law school, or make it cheaper are anti-education neoliberals who are denying thousands the right to a wonderful and precious legal education, which, you know, is valuable in itself. The delusion: it is large.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
66

Their. For one thing, they could do a better job teaching grammar, but the iPhone is eliminating grammar.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
67

61. What about a metric of "can repay loans?"

A figure near enough to zero would identify a diploma mil.

Is it possible to quantify lots of lobbyists? Are these media organizations, publishers, consultants? Who gets the money? I believe that these are managed by shitty people, but I am asking about the managers identity, also where there is evidence that the managers are competent rather than just greedy.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
68

I think we need incentives applied to state legislatures more than students and universities. Cutting subsidies and then blaming the university for rising costs is close to a free lunch for an elected official.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
69

61.1 addresses 65 as well-- all of the points in 65 can be true without requiring a $100k plus nut after three years of the students.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
70

Adequate funding of public universities would also solve much of the problems with loans. As an undergrad I had some friends on loans who basically wasted their first year. But it was a $4,000 mistake, not the ruin of a lifetime.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
71

70: More and more of the public university costs has been shifted onto loans. (Also worth keeping in mind that the art history major with $200k from NYU is still the exception. Average debt is around $25k. Sucky, but not life-ending.) If the loans dry up, I'm skeptical that what we get is the return of public funding.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
72

I realize that I'm mostly talking to myself, but if somebody who is on team Big Technocrat could maybe address the issue of whether or not post-secondary education should be considered in some sense a public good. The whole issue of looking at individual-level outcomes and who can repay loans seems to assume that it isn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
73

In going to the link in 62 (at Wash Monthly) I got a pop-up for one Grantham University, a for-profit that I had never heard of.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
74

70 gets it right. Cheap (to the student) good state funded public education is the only real solution, what the rest of the rich world has, and what we had in most of the US until really very recently.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
75

24: It's turtles ranked all the way down.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
76

If the loans dry up, I'm skeptical that what we get is the return of public funding.

Right, it needs to go the other way around -- the return of public funding, then go ahead and let the loans dry up, or not.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
77


72: Post-secondary education has positive externalities* and therefore would be underproduced and underconsumed relative to the social optimum at unsubsidized market prices. We have a lovely natural experiment pre- and post-1946 that confirms this.

That said, it is not strictly speaking a public good in the sense that it is to some degree excludable and rivalrous. The private benefits of higher education also have significant distributional consequences, which militates against a policy of free public provision at taxpayer expense.

* even more true when we consider the modern research university that typically accompanies the pedagogical function.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
78

It's not going to go that way. Cut the loans, then when we can't make tuition affordable, use that as a reason to funnel money to MOOCs or whatever the flavor of the minute is.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
79

63 -- Right, but that's something that afflicts the lower rungs at any law school -- maybe a lot lower at a few schools, and a lot higher at a very select few. And is individual: I've certainly interviewed lots of people from good schools that I wouldn't hire no matter how desperate I was to fill an opening.

The law school here has placement in the 90s, and it's not particularly highly rated. Now plenty of those jobs pay in the 30ks, I'm sure, but that's because most legal work is not very well paid. It's been bi-modal for a very long time. (Tuition is 11k, so it's not as bad for the new grads as a bunch of places).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
80

I believed at the time that NCLB was a play to dismantle public education. That hasn't happened yet, but I'm not going to let that stop me from believing that basing aid on employment prospects or loan repayment, alongside MOOCs and increasing reliance on loans, is an attempt to turn higher education back into a finishing school for the wealthy and well-connected.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
81

Ultimately all we need is a short-term solution because in thirty or forty years' time most of the jobs now being done by university graduates will be done by AIs instead. (Or so the Financial Times keeps telling me.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
82

It's not going to go that way.

Well, no kidding, but that doesn't mean that it's wrong to say that it should.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
83

61 is right, and obviously the stats are going to be meaningless taken only as themselves. They might well be useful, though, in indicating both the total rip-offs and the hidden values. Indicators for further investigation, not ends in themselves.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
84

77 -- how the fuck do you know what the social optimum is, or is that just so much econobabble dressed up as argument? I mean, sorry to be rude, but you could have just said "higher education had important public benefits, but can also unduly benefit the wealthy or select individuals, and we should therefore worry about that when thinking about funding it by taxpayers" which would have been about 50x less annoying and also avoided the fake scienceyness.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
85

Economics is fake science. What's the problem?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
86

science is fake philosophy.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
87

"Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
88

<Insert "The Technocrats!" joke here.>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
89

81 -- I find myself telling prospective law students that my $300 droid is worth more to my law practice than I was to my employer as a new associate.

Then I tell them to get off my lawn.

Then I ask if they have $5.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
90

how the fuck do you know what the social optimum is?

We don't have to know what the social optimum is to know that higher education is underproduced relative to it in the absence of subsidies. The situation of higher education before and after the Morrill Acts and the G.I. Bill provide empirical confirmation of that.

or is that just so much econobabble dressed up as argument

Moby asked a specific question about whether post-secondary education is considered a public good, and I gave him a precise response. (I am given to understand that practitioners of your profession also concern themselves with precise definitions when attempting to illuminate certain questions.) Free public provision of public goods at taxpayer expense is consistent with orthodox economics. But post-secondary education is not, strictly speaking, a public good, and the way in which it deviates from the strict definition is important, because it suggests that free public provision would be inequitable even if it is arguably efficient.

sorry to be rude

No you're not.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
91

For profit colleges are a fantastically powerful and well connected lobby that have turned back all kinds of common sense efforts to rein them in. See this article for the sad story of the gainful employment rule, in which the efforts of the Department of Ed to reduce public $ to institutions where students don't pay back their loans were sent to ignominious defeat.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
92

79: We're still getting people with decent grades from good schools who want to volunteer here because they can't get paying jobs, and this will look like a job on their resumes. "Good school" means not top 15 nationwide, but real, respectable schools, and 'decent grades means top half of the class.

One woman I just checked references for had a supervisor at a prior internship raving about how she was the best intern he'd seen in his career. And now she's going to be working for us for free.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
93

Free public provision of higher education accompanied by a progressive income tax can perfectly well be equitable, in a monetary sense at least. (It would provide a public subsidy to people who really like to be eternal students).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
94

I think there's a genuine problem here that it's in the interest of schools and in the short-term interest of students to make college more expensive. For students because it lets them get more money from their parents and from the government than they would otherwise. Many parents wouldn't pay for a fancy gym membership, but would happily pay extra for a school whose price includes a fancy gym. Similarly, the government won't give you a loan at a good rate unless you go to school. It seems to me like something should be done about these dynamics, because it's not clear that they're in the long-term interest of students and it's bad to exploit the short time horizons of teenagers for financial gain.

That said, I really don't understand all of what's driving increased college costs enough to really have an opinion about various fixes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
95

Reducing this to talking about for-profit colleges to me illustrates Burke's point in the OP:

...to be ground down a bit at a time by technocrats who either won't admit to or do not understand the ultimate consequences of the policy infrastructures they so busily construct or to be demolished by fundamentalists who want to dissolve the modern nation-state...

It ignores the baseline and accepts the much, much bigger shift we've made toward putting the cost of post-secondary education on the individual. Even if the college hasn't been privatized, the education has.

(I agree with what I think KR is saying that some of the cost certainly should be on individual in many cases.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
96

94 is a red herring. Heebie U has an operating loss of $9K per student, as I learned recently. State Us are suffering from evaporated funding.

I'm sure there's waste and fluff, but I'm convinced that railing about fancy dorms and gyms is all smoke and mirrors. (There are exceptions: UT-Austin had a law for a long time that certain oil money could only be used for facilities. So they have a magnificent gym, decked out with a huge shallow pool, with a wavy floor with little islands, max depth maybe 2 feet. And rich schools certainly have luxurious accomodations. But they're well-endowed.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
97

Heebie U has an operating loss of $9K per student

Does this mean that retail tuition falls $9k short of the cost of educating an individual student? Or does mean that the discount rate tuition falls $9k short of the cost of educating an individual student? Or something else again?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
98

Context on the size of the cuts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
99

I was prompted to write 84 because 77 is exactly the kind of not-very- insightful argument dressed up in Econospeak that is favored in many law schools (and that has become the common parlance of the technocrats). 90 just compounds the problem. You have no idea whatsoever, other than making a value judgment about liking higher education, as to whether it was "overproduced" or "underproduced" prior to or afte the Morril Act, because there's no way that question can be measured *objectively*. The attempt to be purportedly "precise" about the "public good" just compounds the obfuscation and fake scienceyness -- why, and how, and what are the actual differences. Moving away from cloaking policy analysis in Econ 101 garbage is the first step toward enlightenment.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
100

The discount rate, I assume. That our operations exceed our tuition income by 9K per head, which is made up with donations, mostly, and some endowment draw.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
101

On the substance, 95 gets it right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
102

That's to illustrate that we run a lean budget, not that we're on the brink of going out of business. We are, however, trying to grow our size in order to be more financially stable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
103

...because there's no way that question can be measured *objectively*

I'm more of a social constructivist when I pay attention to such things at all, but limiting debate to things that can be measured *objectively* will do more to cloak policy analysis in Econ 101 garbage than almost anything else. Because $ are objective.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
104

The retail/discount rate thing is freaking me out very badly. Full fare at a private college is around 50K/year now, and I'm looking at eight years of it, and we're in the economic bracket where it seems ridiculous to think that we should be getting income-based aid for anything, but on the other hand coming up with 50K/year (or 100K/year for the two years my kids are going to overlap) also seems ridiculous.

I am dealing with this by saving what I can, and hoping that when it comes to it, colleges aren't really planning to charge me that that much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
105

It ignores the baseline and accepts the much, much bigger shift we've made toward putting the cost of post-secondary education on the individual. Even if the college hasn't been privatized, the education has.

yes, that's right. And it's a big reason why in the end I agree more with Burke than with Kermit in 20 and 38. There's something deeply wrong with the current technocrats approach to policymaking, and I think what's wrong is that is that it accepts the 'shopping' model of individual provisions. The idea of simply administering a good publically available product through top-down rules or financial support for local quality initiatives is somehow too intrusive. You're always coming out with elaborate methods to somehow nudge people to use voucher money the 'right' way in a privatized market, methods that are highly susceptible to gaming. It's hard to miss the ideological underpinnings there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
106

But they're well-endowed.

Endowments can be measured objectively. Just remember to hand stretch first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
107

and hoping that when it comes to it, colleges aren't really planning to charge me that that much.

It depends if you and your kids want to go to the tier that really plan on charging you that much, or drop a tier below that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
108

91 and 98 are both helpful. Yikes.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
109

103 -- right, I agree. What I'm saying is that if we want higher education we need a (subjective) theory as to why we want it.

Anyhow, on the merits, I think we've been moving for a long time to a place where the consensus seems to be that at least a two year college degree after high school should be part of everyone's education, no matter what they do, because that benefits everyone. If we really do think that [and maybe there are reasons not to] it's crazy that most or much of the cost of that education should be shifted onto the individual.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
110

(It would provide a public subsidy to people who really like to be eternal students).

Yes! Sign me up!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
111

104: I just did the calculation of what I have to expect along those lines and I'm also shaken. I'm saving at about 1/2 the rate necessary to make up about 75% of those numbers... I've got time, but could really use a raise I don't know about.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
112

111: I'm really thinking about starting to look for a law-firm job again. In this market, I don't know if I'd get anything -- my last five years of experience are specialized in a manner that I'm not sure is all that marketable. But if I got something, it'd be a significant raise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
113

I think we've been moving for a long time to a place where the consensus seems to be that at least a two year college degree after high school should be part of everyone's education, no matter what they do, because that benefits everyone.

How highly this correlates with the increase in lending for college and with reduced support for the funding of public higher education seems like an interesting, relevant question to explore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
114

112: I must admit, the cutoff for need-based aid at my current institution, while I think very generous by the standard of private institutions, cuts off much lower than I expected it to. A yearly hit of $50k would be a serious bite into the incomes of those at the lower end of incomes that get no help. These people are obviously pretty profoundly wealthy by the standards of most people in this country, but tuition sure dooes seem almost designed to be relatively immiserating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
115

Undergrad tuition and fees here are still under $30k for out of state students. You get a free bus pass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
116

112: What is making you go in that direction, rather than say "My kids go to big public universities unless they can get a fancy scholarship"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
117

We're also looking for a chancellor. If you come and be chancellor, I think you'd get the first four years free for your kids. At least, that's what they tell me I get.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
118

117: does the chancellor get a bus pass?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
119

The chancellor gets a parking space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
120

Lame.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
121

And a bus pass. But it's probably a really good parking space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
122

116: The price differences aren't necessarily that big. SUNY is adequate but unexciting, and then once you're out of your home state, the public/private price difference isn't all that much (particularly, I understand, once whatever aid there is kicks in).

After what my parents paid for for me, saying SUNY or noplace seems really harsh. But paying for anyplace but SUNY also seems really harsh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
123

tuition sure dooes seem almost designed to be relatively immiserating.

It's educational.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
124

122: Obviously they should apply to a wide range, but they could easily get a great scholarship to a better public school than SUNY, out of state.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
125

Not sure just how much the Breaths make, but as long as you're under 250K you want your kids either going to super wealthy private schools or in state. And if you're under 150K then you'll be paying less at the Harvards and Stanfords than anywhere else. No loan financial aid policies make a very big difference.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
126

116: To put it another way, while I'm sure there are cheaper options, it is really unclear to me how to effectively comparison-shop on price in a way I can count on ahead of time, particularly given the huge sticker-price/discount-price possible differentials. Once we're close enough to be making plans about specific schools, getting an accurate sense of what we're really going to have to pay will be possible. But four years out, full retail price seems like a strong possibility, and that's ghastly almost everyplace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
127

92 -- It's really awful out there, that's for sure. And while some of this is the backlogged glut of too many grads during the recession, I think more of it is structural: my droid really is better than an associate. That said, I only interviewed people with way better grades than your minimum standard, and only from (much (I'd guess) better schools, and there were still lots of people I'd never hire.

I hope your intern is able to find a way forward.

104,107 -- It's really awful out there There are no good answers. My son's college will probably cost less than 25%, all in, what my daughter's cost. They'll get similar utility from it, unless he decides to be a bit more serious about his studies, in which case it'll be worth way more money to him. I'm pretty confident, though, that they'll both be happy in life, and that their parents' demonstration of the costs/benefits of chasing money and status (or even just living in a community where such things are overvalued) will be a great cautionary tale.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
128

122 -- I was going to say you should get your kids interested in agriculture, industrial and labor relations, and/or human ecology, but even those tuitions are no longer remotely cheap.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
129

124: You may know this to count on it, but I don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
130

I'm leaning towards telling them we're poor and it's all on them.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
131

Them=kids, and I don't know that the ruse would stick.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
132

You have no idea whatsoever, other than making a value judgment about liking higher education, as to whether it was "overproduced" or "underproduced" prior to or after the Morril Act, because there's no way that question can be measured *objectively*.

That's bullshit. Economists measure (or, in some cases, quantitatively estimate) things like that all the time. Lawrence Katz, for one, has done extensive work on the impact of public investments in education on economic growth in the U.S. No land grant universities, lower economic growth.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
133

112: New York area only, I assume?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
134

I'm really thinking about starting to look for a law-firm job again

Or if either of you can get it, try the UN. They'll pay three quarters of the tuition and you'll have normal work hours plus six weeks vacation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
135

I suppose so. I'm just very sure that your kids could get a heavily subsidized education at a quality private (or public) school, as long as they're willing to take a hit on prestige.

For me, it still feels hypothetical, but I could easily send one of my kids to SUNY or Texas State, if I felt like they were unlikely to take advantage of what a fancier school had to offer. And if they were hungry for a private school, there are plenty where they could be substantially scholarshipped.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
136

My God -- are you saying that in the late 19th century it was valuable to have a university system? Who'd have thought it? I'm sure thanks to the work of Lawrence Katz we now know exactly what those universities did. Except oh wait we don't because in reality economists actually have no idea whatsoever what causes economic growth.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
137

136: Of course they do: phlogiston! no, wait, elan vital? magic? emergence?

Oh... technology. That's it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
138

133: Are you hiring?

Seriously, it'd take a lot to uproot me. Our mortgage is almost paid off, and we can only sublet for two years (lifetime); the kids like their school; and I get all twitchy when I cross running water.

But I wouldn't absolutely rule it out for a job that seemed fantastic and paid twice what my current job does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
139

The problem with 136 is that sometimes obvious things are not in fact the case. This is why scientists study obvious things, and why economists do as well.

This is also why ethicists want to be able to explain why it is wrong to murder, and mathematicians want to be able to explain why 1+1=2.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
140

135: I'm just very sure that your kids could get a heavily subsidized education at a quality private (or public) school, as long as they're willing to take a hit on prestige.

129 sounded snotty, but I didn't mean it that way, I was just being terse. Seriously, you sound like you know or believe something about the certain availability of heavily subsidized education at a high-quality/non-Harvard-or-Stanford school for bright but probably not remarkably award-winning kids that I don't know in any way that makes me feel safe counting on it. What sorts of things are you thinking of?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
141

138: Not that I know of, but I could possibly manage to introduce you to people who play amateur sports with certain other people.

No idea what the long term prospects would be, if it would be a hard sell to get you out of NY then it's likely not worth your time.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
142

As I didn't choose a path with a lot of money, alas, my plan for the Calabat is for him to be brilliant, but with the bonus of being a good fit w.r.t. regional diversity. Otherwise, I can probably pay for the flagship state university if I don't eat for a few years. If it's not a MOOC by then.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
143

My God -- are you saying that in the late 19th century it was valuable to have a university system? Who'd have thought it?

As it happens, the first Morrill Act was hugely controversial, and only passed because the Confederate states weren't represented in Congress at the time. Infrastructure spending is similarly controversial today, and it's occasionally nice to have economists around who can supply some empirical facts about its contribution to economic growth, which is fortunately well-studied.

Except oh wait we don't because in reality economists actually have no idea whatsoever what causes economic growth.

I'm tempted to imitate what an equally ignorant dismissal of the legal profession would sound like, but I don't want to offend innocent bystanders.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
144

I also have no idea whether they're looking to hire at a comparatively senior level - I managed to accidentally do this with a friend of mine just out of law school who was NOT looking for a high-pressure law job, so YMMV.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
145

If you want to discuss details you have my email address.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
146

139 -- I'm not opposed to asking the question, just annoyed with the false certainty of the answer, and more so by the pretense of precision as a guide to future policy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
147

to introduce you to people who play amateur sports with certain other people.

This is entirely opaque to me -- send me a less elliptical email? Probably nothing worth pursuing, given my rootedness, but I'm curious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
148

135. Network effects. I learned a lot from my fellow students at my (generous, OK-ranked) private undergrad U. They've been helpful during job searches also, both with leads and ideas for fields where work is possible. Also motivation and confidence boosters during what are basically vulnerable years- seeing that basically nobody just gave up, that it was normal to care about doing well, and hearing that people who were stronger than I was had something good to say all mattered a lot.

The guys that I met in grad school at a land grant U who had been big fish in little ponds, while they were bright enough, IMO had lost out from having been in that environment. Also, while it was possible to get a good undergrad education at land grant U, the average undergrad did not care much about learning, a bad environment.

136. Strongly enforced intellectual property rights cause economic growth.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
149

135. Network effects. I learned a lot from my fellow students at my (generous, OK-ranked) private undergrad U. They've been helpful during job searches also, both with leads and ideas for fields where work is possible. Also motivation and confidence boosters during what are basically vulnerable years- seeing that basically nobody just gave up, that it was normal to care about doing well, and hearing that people who were stronger than I was had something good to say all mattered a lot.

The guys that I met in grad school at a land grant U who had been big fish in little ponds, while they were bright enough, IMO had lost out from having been in that environment. Also, while it was possible to get a good undergrad education at land grant U, the average undergrad did not care much about learning, a bad environment.

136. Strongly enforced intellectual property rights cause economic growth.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
150

Heebie U has a list of probably 40 peer institutions, nationwide, and any of those would be a complete safety school, private, guaranteed full ride. (Those happen to be very small schools, like us, but there are 100 more at every size.) Then there are probably three full levels of schools before you get to places like Rice and Grinnell.

As long as they're applying starting at a safe floor and working on up, they've got a decent shot of going somewhere amazing, and will absolutely have a way to go to school for free.

Absolutely, getting a better paying job will free them up for some of the better schools, where the scholarships are iffier. But it just sounded like your soul was drained from those previous places.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
151

136: I hate economists as much as the next guy, even if that guy is John Emerson, but it seems perfectly reasonable to me to say that universities have a quantifiable positive impact on economic growth, and that this is one part of the real value of universities.

If I were to ban economics and appropriate the useful parts for sociology and history, I would take this observation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
152

I'm happy to agree that lawyers don't know the most basic things about their profession (eg, what is negligence and why do we compensate for it is something that's not really understood). But it's a truth, as I understand it, that economists have basically no real understanding of what causes economic growth or how to sustainably produce it, other than, as Benquo says, vague hand waving about technology.

I also have no problem at all with actual empirical argument. That's not what you were offering, nor is it what (much) policy-oriented economic analysis offers, as opposed to ideology or argument dressed up as science.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
153

150: Hrm. I may be underestimating the availability of merit aid at decent schools. My memory of that when I was applying to college (with spectacular standardized tests, a reasonably good GPA from a famously good high school, but nothing else remotely impressive about me) was that there was surprisingly little out there for the clever-but-not-award-winning until you got down to really fairly bad colleges.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
154

152: You can know that x has been a cause of y in specific situations, even if you don't have a general theory of all of the causes of Y in any situation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
155

As a philosophical matter, maybe. I am doubtful that economists actually have the ability to quantify the contribution of higher education to economic growth at any period, without a better general theory of economic growth. And even if they could as to the past, that tells us little to nothing about the "optimal" level of provision of higher education going forward into the future. Or, rather, it tells us little to nothing you couldn't get from a more direct assessment of the facts, and certainly not enough to dress up the conclusion as pseudoscience.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
156

This whoel thread is just making me want to cry, raise John Kenneth Galbraith from the dead and make him dictator.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
157

raise John Kenneth Galbraith from the dead and make him dictator

156: I could get behind that. Primarily as a bulwark against the menace of Halfordismo.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
158

I'm just very sure that your kids could get a heavily subsidized education at a quality private (or public) school, as long as they're willing to take a hit on prestige.

Why are all these things so secretive? What are you talking about exactly?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
159

I have a more limited goal. I want to reanimate the corpses of dead economists and have then fight each other with knives to see whose theory is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
160

I want to reanimate the corpses of dead economists and have then fight each other with knives to see whose theory is right.

Even the most practical man of affairs is usually in the thrall of the ideas of some long-dead economist with a knife


Posted by: ZOMBIE JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
161

(eg, what is negligence and why do we compensate for it is something that's not really understood)

Aside from the duty, breach, proximate causation recitation, I think it is commonly understood that negligence arises when a defendant could have avoided harm by taking an economical precaution. That means: when the defendant was in a position to understand a risk, and could mitigate it at a cost which is exceeded by the potential harm, and does not, the defendant is negligent. This has been articulated for about 100 years, and is commonly understood. Nonetheless, in every state, you have to articulate a duty that was breached, proximately causing damages.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
162

161 neatly summarizes the kind of law school education that has led me to be pissy at KR!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
163

It's all so straightforward that the percentage on the GDP spent arguing about it barely breaks two digits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
164

USNW rankingism has actually freed up non-financial "merit" aid at a number of quite good schools with ambitious aspirations (or those just trying to keep pace with those in their "rank*" who have them or keep ahead of those below them). It has actually become more of a mixed thing at flagship state universities because many of them increasingly count on full pay out-of-staters to make up for funding cuts from their states.

*This, of course, all plays out at the "revealed preference" level rather than actual outcomes, but networking/long stupid recapitulation of things touched on with regard to reputation in this thread.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
165

163: The concept is understood by competent lawyers, but applying it to any given set of facts is rarely straight-forward. It employs a lot of terms which are conditional. You can put it in mathematical terms, but then you're just hiding the ambiguity behind Xs and Ys. How do you judge the likelihood of harm in any given situation? There will always be room for argument. Nonetheless, the category of negligence can be understood, and should be understood by anyone who's been to law school. It's an ambiguous but well-established concept.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
166

You could think of it in these terms. When do you have a duty? When you can foresee harm that your actions will cause. What are the boundaries of that duty? They extend to a rough calculation of the value of the harm you might cause, mitigated if the harm is unlikely. This is what most people mean by "reasonable," so courts often just say "reasonable," and they're right to do so.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
167

Economists don't know what causes economic growth, and they also have no coherent definition of 'education' either (years of formal schooling doesn't cut it). However, they can run a regression with a dummy variable for 'has a state school' on one side and state-level GDP growth on the other!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
168

Since I'm already being a super boring pedant, "can foresee harm," really means "should be able to foresee harm," e.g., if the situation is such that the potential for harm should be apparent.

Hooray, I went to law school.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
169

I've been inside of a law school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
170

were they sweet to you?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
171

Economists don't know what causes economic growth, and they also have no coherent definition of 'education' either (years of formal schooling doesn't cut it)

Heebie, this would be an opportune time to run a promotion on the "automatically replace with sex confessionals" feature.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
172

To change subjects completely, now that text is demonstrating my point about the vacuousness of legal-economic theory as applied to the real world better than I ever could, one thing that I wonder about is the extent to which the privatization of higher education has been driven by the prestige needs of private nonprofit universities and their alumni.

It seems to me that what matters most for universities is prestige, that universities are basically in a zero-sum competition between one another for prestige and that hurting the prestige public schools helps the prestige private ones.

For example: I'm a little young to remember this, but my understanding is that about 30-40 years ago Berkeley was considered, if anything, more prestigious than Stanford or at least at exactly the same level, because you got roughly the same or better education and it was cheaper, so that if you went to Stanford you were a rich kid who needed to pay. With funding cuts, Berkeley started to look worse internally; with loans and financial aid, Stanford got more non-rich kids, and the tuition differential changed, particularly for out-of-state kids. Now, Stanford is substantially more prestigious. You can see the same dynamic going on locally, and to an even greater extent, with USC and UCLA -- even when I was looking at colleges, USC was basically an OK school that was expensive and for rich kids, and UCLA conferred more prestige because it was both better and cheaper. Now things have evened out. The private prestige schools, and their alumni, are clearly the winners of this game -- in a prestige economy, there are a limited number of winners, and your competitor's loss is your gain. A system of tax-free donations to private universities, widespread availability of student loans, substantial cuts to public higher education, and shifting of the cost of education onto the individual seems designed quite perfectly to benefit the highest-status private universities and colleges at the expense of their public peers, and it's easy to see how those universities and their alumni have benefited from a prestige boost.

So, it seems to me that part of the story behind the move to privatize higher education in the US is precisely because it increases the prestige of wealthy private universities, their alumni, and their students. I dunno, maybe I'm totally wrong. I have a hard time getting to the specific details of a conspiracy theory, and I'm not saying this was all conscious or intentional.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
173

the vacuousness of legal-economic theory as applied to the real world

I don't think it's vacuous to be able to define a term. Does that definition end the analysis as to its application in any given case? Of course not, it begins the analysis.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
174

I see 172 as one of those unconscious but not too hard to see kind of things. No "conspiracy" needed. And certainly not higher-education specific, happens in all manner of public vs. private services (and for a real analogy stretch see bottled vs. tap water).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
175

A system of tax-free donations to private universities

And public universities -- witness zillionaire real estate mogul Steve Ross's recent $200 million donation to Michigan, to be used solely on the business school and athletics department.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
176

Lunch is over in a minute and I haven't had time to read the thread (!) but a few general observations on this topic:

- A really good state attorney general or high-ranking dept of ed official can do a great job of running the worst of the proprietary training schools and so forth out of town by actually enforcing existing regulations. Unfortunately there is no direct incentive to make this happen, so it comes down to whether the individual official happens to prioritize it. (When it comes to for-profit college, the major incentives that DO exist run in the other direction -- there were FIVE people from Univ of Phoenix at a $$ fundraiser for our governor a while back.)

- At the federal level, in theory there should be able to be good regulation but in practice having seen how the gainful employment rule got eviscerated a couple of years ago I'm pessimistic about what the Obama administration can actually accomplish.

- Regardless of regulation, there is a huge push in the workforce development world right now for measurable outcomes and credentials. It mirrors the K-12 "reform" push in that it sounds better on paper than it is in reality.

Some of this is good -- better that a person get an industry-recognized phlebotomy credential and be able to get work drawing blood in a hospital somewhere than be $18K in debt for a useless "Medical Assistant" job with no credential.

But a lot of it is bad -- again, schools that have a big financial stage in exploiting Pell grants and/or desperate people are going to be better organized to fight politically for their schools getting the treatment they want under the law. (e.g. getting an low-demand occupation designated as "High Priority" so they can get Workforce Investment Act training dollars for it).

Regarding whether colleges should be preparing people for specific jobs -- that is the default paradigm right now among most of the legislators I speak with. If they can't draw a dotted line right from the class to the job then it's a waste.

Regarding how you measure employment success, the typical measure is to look at state Unemployment Insurance wage records. It's a crude measure because anybody working freelance/1099, anybody working for the federal government/military, and anybody working out side their state of residence is not going to have earned income that shows up in the UI database, but it's the measure that most states are gravitating to now and it's honestly the most practical given the vast data sets you're talking about. It's also among the hardest things to game.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
177

175. I misread that- twice- as "witless zillionaire real estate mogul..."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
178

176: You live on a state that goes out of its way to put assholes in the legislature.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
179

176: I was thinking about the UI records thing, but it's a particular awful metric for colleges oriented toward a traditional BA, because most graduate students will show up as unemployed. It really works best for training programs. Colleges will still have to figure out if a graduate is unemployed or in grad school.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
180

178: Unfortunately that has also (sometimes) been my experience when lobbying in DC for our national partners. Can't blame it all on Harrisburg, or PA voters.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
181

178: SOLIDARITY!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
182

It is pretty striking, my parents would have paid for a Madison or UCLA but not for an NYU or USC, but I don't see a conspiracy either. Once upon a time the top state schools had more resources than second tier private research universities and were so much cheaper that they were able to choose from a larger pool of applicants. Since then the public flagships have gotten poorer while the second tier private universities have gotten richer. The sticker price difference has declined drastically particularly for non residents. Financial aid is more generous in the private schools.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
183

172 my understanding is that about 30-40 years ago Berkeley was considered, if anything, more prestigious than Stanford or at least at exactly the same level

I, for one, still view it that way.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
184

Does your view encompass more than the physics departments?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
185

Maybe just departments starting with "ph."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
186

184: yes.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
187

Stanford doesn't even have a phrenology department.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
188

Isn't it that Stanford is more prestigious for undergrads and Berkeley for grads and profs? (In math specifically Stanford has improved hugely over the past 15 years and is now, for the first time, on par with Berkeley at all levels.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
189

I work with people from UCSF, so I've always assumed that's the best school in the Bay Area.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
190

Anyone know the history of why UCSF isn't part of Berkeley?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
191

188: Yes, the grad/undergrad thing is often a lot of it. For instance, the revealed preference ranking linked in 164.2 (from 2004) is all about perceived undergrad "prestige." And in that one:
#3 Stanford
#23 Berkeley
#29 USC
#36 UCLA


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
192

190: yes.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
193

I was thinking about the UI records thing, but it's a particular awful metric for colleges oriented toward a traditional BA, because most graduate students will show up as unemployed... Colleges will still have to figure out if a graduate is unemployed or in grad school.

I'm as conscious as anyone of the dangers of Goodhart's Law, but a performance metric does not have to be perfect to be useful. If the goal is to squeeze or weed out the worst offenders, even crude approximations will do: frex, if you apply penalties to the bottom 10% and there's a 10% margin of error in the metric, you know that the affected parties are bottom quintile at best.

Also, you don't magically escape these difficulties by having the public sector run everything and imposing standards top down, as some here propose. You still have to measure compliance with the standards (unless you're going to dispense with accountability all together), which leaves you with all the attendant issues of gaming the system, cheating, using input measures as a more convenient substitute for hard-to-measure outputs, etc.

I'm not particularly wedded to the consumer shopping model of higher education reform, but given the fragmented nature of political authority and the market power of the federal government, it's an obvious response.

The easy thing for Obama to do would have been let the problem fester until he leaves office. There's lots of risk and little upside in taking it on. But the administration correctly recognizes that current trends are at odds with the goals of a just society, and that they create the risk of inviting a conservative policy response that could be much, much worse for higher education and for non-affluent Americans


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
194

UCSF doesn't do undergrad, and only offers degrees in health professions and health sciences, mostly. It's in San Francisco because traditionally teaching hospitals needed a high concentration of poor people to practice on. I don't know why it's not just the medical school of Berkeley, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
195

I don't know why it's not just the medical school of Berkeley, though.

Here. (See the end.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
196

I had not heard of Goodhart's law before. I will now bring it up in every meeting where we discus outcomes evaluation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
197

191 -- Teenagers who prefer UVA to Cal most likely live on the East Coast. And certainly those who prefer Swarthmore to Cal do. That East Coast teenagers accord better name recognition to USC than UCLA -- and Notre Dame a full ten slots ahead of Cal -- doesn't tell us a single damn thing about the overall quality of the education, much less whether one is better than the other in some identifiable area.

I usually say this in connection with law school, but I think it applies as much if not more to undergrad: nearly everyone -- 90%+ of the population -- is probably better advised to go to college fairly close to home (defined as where you're going to end up, not where you started). The connections you'll make are going to matter more -- whether friends, business connections etc. The ratings game completely ignores that. (In the same way that a focus on school and grades ignores the people skills and general judgment that I was looking for in applicants.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
198

I mean it's true that you can compare schools in the Bay Area, or whatever, but ratings constructed nationally are going to include judgments by people without sufficient information or stake.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
199

nearly everyone -- 90%+ of the population -- is probably better advised to go to college fairly close to home (defined as where you're going to end up, not where you started). The connections you'll make are going to matter more -- whether friends, business connections etc.

But then sometimes people wind up moving. I'm thinking of a friend who got a degree in education from the University of Michigan. She said that in Michigan other ed. schools in Michigan had better reputations. But she wound up living in places on both coasts and was able to get teaching jobs quickly, and she thought it had a lot to do with having a degree from a school with a national reputation.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
200

195: Thanks! I've been vaguely curious about that for years.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
201

Catching up with things I skimmed past earlier: I'm not sure 60 addresses the question. It seems like an instance of "this is one way schools alter their behavior to game the rankings", but I was wondering something more like "why do schools care about the rankings in the first place?" Which other comments kind of answered.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
202

Lee is working at the for-profit school now and we're both conflicted about it in various ways. She's still holding the small number of students to academic standards she feels are appropriate, but there's also a certain amount of hand-holding that's directly linked to keeping retention numbers up. (So if a student misses class, someone contacts that student to ask why and let them know how to connect with the teacher to make up the work, for one thing.) It's not part of one of the big conglomerates, just a local outfit that has diversified a little from having programs for medical and legal assistants who've done well at getting jobs over the last 30-whatever years it's been at it. We're both sort of convincing ourselves that it's for profit for reasons that are selfish and stupid, perhaps, but not evil. And since her old school served a bigger public need but is doing what it can to be evil (and not just to her) maybe this isn't such a bad change. She is enjoying the less-toxic work environment a lot.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
203

197: doesn't tell us a single damn thing about the overall quality of the education, much less whether one is better than the other in some identifiable area.

Right to the first point, as I indicated in 164 when I first linked. However, they do on pg. 36 have a regional ranking in which the order of the 3 schools you mention are unchanged (they vary a bit). It is a sample of "high-achieving" students who are themselves probably keenly aware of national rank. No doubt there are various flaws in the methodology, but I also suspect that among that group of HS students and parents the college market is now much more "national" than you are assuming.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
204

140 bright but probably not remarkably award-winning kids

I think maybe you're overestimating how difficult it is for bright kids to win large scholarships. It might depend on how much effort they're willing to put into it, but from the sorts of things you've said before I would think Sally's odds are pretty good for getting a hefty scholarship to a very good school. (Any particular school or any particular award, maybe not. But roll the dice several times, and I would think something will work out.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
205

She is enjoying the less-toxic work environment a lot.

That's worth quite a bit.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
206

204: Again, mmmaybe. I'm remembering applying to college in the '80s, with a bunch of uniformly Sally-class friends. And we all sort of vaguely believed that there was a lot of merit-based scholarship money out there, and then when it came down to it there didn't actually seem to be all that much. There were some exceptions. One girl got a scholarship as the best student from her housing project that year. There was a hilarious situation where another girl was the academic star of the immigrant Ukrainian community, so some community organization announced that it would pay her tuition at whatever college she chose to attend. She got into Cooper Union, which was free. Not to be thwarted, the community organization bought her a condo.

But mostly, it seemed like you could get a grand or two here and there, but for a free (or very substantially discounted) ride on academic merit, it meant either going to a fourth-tier school or winning some kind of really extraordinary award.

Were we just unusually bad at playing the game? Am I the only commenter here who paid to go to college?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
207

(So if a student misses class, someone contacts that student to ask why and let them know how to connect with the teacher to make up the work, for one thing.)

Is this a bad thing? I feel like this is a good thing, and traditional colleges with bad retention numbers ought to perhaps do more of it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
208

206 is my vague recollection as well. Maybe things have changed? Or are these things you need to be very savvy at identifying and applying for? If so, how do you find out?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
209

206: A fairly significant number of people from my high school got full or half tuition scholarships at some of the midwestern research universities that give away a lot of money: Wash U in St Louis, Rice, Case Western Reserve, maybe some others. Not the most prestigious schools in the world, but maybe, but good solid private research universities. I think some in-state private colleges also gave away a reasonably large number of scholarships, plus the public universities gave away tons of them, albeit probably mostly to kids who were going to go out of state no matter what. (I think I had, like, five different full-tuition scholarships to the University of Urpleville.) Several people I knew at the U of C had half or all of their tuition paid by the university. This all circa 2000, so probably the situation is somewhat worse now. But anecdotally it didn't seem all that bad; I'm not going just by my own experience.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
210

-but


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
211

Were we just unusually bad at playing the game? Am I the only commenter here who paid to go to college?

As far as I know, my parents paid full-freight for me to go to Chicago. (And apparently, according to CharleyCarp's criteria, ought to be reimbursed for most of that, since I have stayed in touch with ... let me think ... three people I met there.) This was 1999-2003. I seem to recall Berkeley offering me something, maybe a Regent's or Chancellor's thing--although looking that up now makes me think that's unlikely--but I don't remember anything being offered by Pomona. On the other hand, I don't know if we even applied for aid. I believe my parents made over $200k at that point, which would probably have been at the "no way" cutoff.

And Essear, I think maybe you're way, way underestimating how much of an outlier you are.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
212

208, 209: Halford's my age (ish? Younger, but at least pushing forty?), and you're ten years younger -- did merit-based money loosen up in that ten years?

My having been unusually clueless is a real possibility, but I remember all my friends having been in sort of the same boat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
213

That said, I absolutely was terrible at playing that game; I went 0/8 in my first attempt at applying for colleges, thanks to only shooting for Ivy-level-selectivityones. I was a kid with decent grades, perfect test scores, and no extra-curriculars from a extremely privileged Boston-area suburb; that's the demographic admissions officers are (not unreasonably!) trying to dilute away from (aside from the test scores).


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
214

Several people I knew at the U of C had half or all of their tuition paid by the university.

I recall the U of C, when I attended, having an academic-merit scholarship with one or two slots; could have been up to four, but I'd swear not five. That was the sort of thing I was counting as an extraordinary award.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
215

I went to college and graduate school for free, excepting study abroad. Also, I went to the bar before parent night at my son's school. Because education is important but not hardly overwhelmingly important.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
216

(Actually, on 214, I shouldn't swear to anything -- it's over twenty years ago and I have a terrible memory.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
217

215: What's the story on undergrad?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
218

214: I guess I don't actually know how many there were. I knew at least two other people who had full-tuition and at least one with half-tuition, and since it isn't the sort of thing that comes up often in conversation, I assumed there were more. Besides, I socialized with a relatively small fraction of the total campus population. So my naive extrapolation would have been that there were at least 10 per year, but maybe I had too much sampling bias somehow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
219

215: Full tuition at a land grant school noted for football.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
220

I knew two people, I think, and definitely at least one person, with a full ride to Chicago. I have no idea how common that was.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
221

Do I tell my son's teacher I was late because the bartender was slow at ringing me up?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
222

Speaking of technocrats! At work tomorrow I have to write a memo to my boss^3 describing a document that I have not seen. Fortunately my boss^2 has seen it and described it to my boss.

The advice my boss gave me was to write what I could from that and then go around asking people for rumors.

Government, hooray!


Posted by: Tragic Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
223

Seriously. Can't the glasses wait two seconds?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
224

Really, Essear, I think you're severely underestimating how much of an outlier you are, and by extension, how unlikely it was that the small fraction of the campus population you socialized with was representative.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
225

Also, when we're talking 'full ride', are we talking merit-based only, no consideration of need? Because I knew all sorts of people who were getting plenty of need-based aid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
226

Oh! I forgot: the document I'm to describe isn't final yet. One of the heads of the organization that is creating this thing will be available for 1/2 of tomorrow (upon his return from some important trip) to finalize it. It's no big deal... just half the memo may be instantly invalidated if he changes it.


Posted by: Tragicomic Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
227

We all know that Essear hung out mainly with Tucker Max.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
228

The one person who I'm certain got a free ride sure didn't get it based on need.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
229

(His father is evidently a stock-market wizard who despite never having held a job that pays over 40K a year is a multimillionaire. Not inherited or anything like that.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
230

This list from USNWR suggests that there's a lot of school giving a lot of merit aid (unfortunately doesn't say how big the typical awards are).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
231

225: I was talking merit-only, yes.

trapnel may be right, but on the other hand, my examples were all physics majors and I think all knew that going in. Surely the admissions people wouldn't shower all the money on one department?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
232

And the other people at my high school are real! There really were a fair number of them getting full-tuition scholarships. My high school may have been special, but probably not more so than Sally's.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
233

There's something weird about that list, though, given that it shows Cooper Union (which, although it's about to change, I think still has not yet charged anyone tuition) giving only 2/3ds of its students non-need-based aid. Isn't everyone getting non-need-based aid there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
234

I recall having assumed on some level when I was in high school that there would be non-need-based aid available at least in principle, then getting a good (i.e., selective) result in the admissions process, and then finding out as an undergraduate (mid-1990s) that I was going to (and did) cost my parents a great deal of money.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
235

If you're getting a full ride based on need then you wouldn't get non-need based aid, right?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
236

233 to 230.

231, 232: It's a real possibility that I was unusually bad at ferreting out this sort of thing. I'd go straight for that as an explanation, except for remembering talking about it with comparable friends having the same sorts of issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
237

We've now begun paying it forward to the next generation in the form of private school tuition, of course. I'd say I'm amazed by the numbers but honestly I knew it was going to be bad.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
238

The last time this came up, I learned about the Webb Institute which I have determined my kid shall most definitely attend. Totally free! You live in an old mansion and study nothing but naval engineering.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
239

235: I'd think the reverse -- that they'd give out merit scholarships need-blind, and then calculate need after any merit scholarships had been awarded. Cheaper for the school that way, and if you think of merit-based aid as an honor, fairer to the poor kids who wouldn't have a shot at the honors if need-based aid shut them out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
240

Let me put it this way: if a school is 90% sure you'll decline to attend, they'll offer you massive (harmless, seldom used) scholarships.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
241

There also may genuinely have been less merit-based aid when you were applying. I think the way college costs work has changed dramatically recently. (Certainly need-based aid changed dramatically in the late 90s and early 00s.) I also suspect there's a regional affect here, with schools in the northeast offering less incentives than schools in the midwest.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
242

This all confirms for me that I should be researching merit-based aid seriously now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
243

Also, LB, as someone who was personally inspired by your jump to government service, I find 112 immensely dispiriting, and I hope you find a good solution.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
244

"He's never gotten a 'merit' anything before," the father told me, conspiratorially. "He's not a very good student."


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
245

Of course, if things changed between the late 80s and 2000, they may also have changed again now, maybe not for the better.

I also suspect there's a regional affect here, with schools in the northeast offering less incentives than schools in the midwest.

I think this is probably true. It's hard to disentangle from the fact that most people at my high school were mostly applying to midwestern schools. I think maybe one guy I knew who went to Rochester got a substantial scholarship there? Though I guess Rochester is arguably a culturally midwestern city....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
246

Do you have to apply for admission to the schools to receive these scholarship offers? Does this mean you should apply to like 500 schools to see what they give you? I have a vague memory of some truly terrible schools sending mailing material touting their potential scholarships.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
247

I think K-Sky's college is also totally free, although that only gets you two years.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
248

From the link at 244: nearly 20 percent of full-time students at four-year institutions who were receiving "merit" aid had entered college with a combined SAT score below 700

Did they rescale the SAT again? Isn't that in, like, sign-your-name-and-guess-randomly territory?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
249

246: I was wondering about that. My high school had a rule that you were only allowed to apply to five colleges (I think to keep the top quarter of the class from flooding the market and keeping anyone else from getting admitted anywhere). If there was merit based aid to be had that wasn't announced with clear standards before you applied, there's a good chance that we just weren't applying to the right schools for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
250

My high school had a rule that you were only allowed to apply to five colleges

How is that enforceable?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
251

Yes, my high school had a rule that you could only apply to six schools total. With a max of two in the Ivy League, IIRC.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
252

It wasn't (oh, I think the guidance counselors wouldn't process your recommendation letters or give you transcripts for more than five applications, but you could get around it) but people mostly abided by it. We were sheep, what can I tell you?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
253

I applied to I think nine? I got into one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
254

Four for five, here. I'm still feeling rejected about Stanford. Anything bad I've ever said about California is because Stanford didn't love me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
255

I thought I applied to six, but now I can only remember what five of them were. All were in the midwest, except UVa. I didn't really know what I was doing, so I just targeted ones I had heard gave lots of merit aid.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
256

I've forgotten my safety school -- I'm sure I got in, because it would have been funny if I hadn't, but no idea what it was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
257

I remember my safety school because of an awkward conversation I had with a supervisor years later in which she mentioned that her son was excited he had gotten into it and I (without thinking) mentioned that I had applied but not gone there, but then choked a bit. I didn't explicitly say it had been my safety but she was a very acute observer and I suspect she figured it out.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
258

Oh, maybe I applied to Swarthmore? I remember visiting and being kind of impressed by their general aura of intellectual snobbery, because I was a dumb high school student.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
259

I think essear is probably underestimating how brilliant he is -- because he's a modest feminist -- but I think other people are underestimating how much admissions/scholarships offices weight geographic diversity when allocating aid. And beyond even that, I don't think it's possible for most of us to understand how many incredibly talented applicants there are in major metropolitan areas, especially NYC and Boston.* Bright, high-achieving, good-scores-having young women are, quite literally, a dime/dozen.

* And Philly and LA and SF and Chicago and increasingly Seattle (though it's still not as extreme there).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
260

I got in everywhere except my purported "safety" school, the University of Washington. Which I applied to because . . . I have no idea why. I'd never even been to Seattle, and this was right before Seattle's grunge moment in the spotlight. Anyhow, that was the first letter I got and I'm still a little pissed off by that. Although also in retrospect there was basically no chance at all (for entirely legacy, not merit-based -- whoo USA#1) that I wouldn't be accepted to the school I eventually went to, so whatever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
261

Yes, I should not state which school I considered a safety school for fear of being murdered by a commenter who went there.

Also I started to write what I think of as an amusing anecdote about rejection letters but actually it just makes me sound like an asshole.

Shorter me: I'm an arrogant prick!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
262

The best thing LB could do to improve Sally's chances at huge amounts of aid from a top-tier institution would be to move to North Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia or Alaska for a couple of years. From what I remember, that would also probably be preferable to returning to Big Law.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
263

Shorter VW: essear only got in anywhere because he's from Kentucky, obvs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
264

246: Yeah, there has been a massive, awful escalation in the typical number of colleges a very good but not "woohoo! superstar" kid at a UMC school applies to. There tends to be a lot of info around on which schools give what; the list in 209 is an example, Rochester is another. Just like admissions, the merit aid thresholds vary, places like Chicago and CMU have it, but with relatively high cutoffs (trying to win a few from the Ivies *and* Flagship State). At some schools it is almost formulaic based on SAT. As I mentioned above, it is quite variable at publics, flagships quite variable, very popular ones give very little or only in-state aid.

You'll need new info when the time approaches of course. Despite being relatively up on things, I was somewhat staggered at how big the range can end up. With my first it basically came down to 1x, 2x,3x, 5x; we were all a bit unprepared for weighing cost/benefits across that broad of a spectrum.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
265

262: Buck's absolutely mobile. And I could always take the bar in another state -- I haven't done a good standardized test in years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
266

261: So essear is not Flip.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
267

Indeed, not moving to Fargo would be tantamount to child abuse.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
268

Oh great. So you get to pay a fortune to live here, pay another fortune to send your kid to private school, and then get the kid stuck in a horrible box in the applicant pool. I hate it all so much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
269

Many of you will end up wanting to stab yourself, your spouse, your kid, the kid's counselor, and the entire admissions departments at various colleges as a result of the process. Most of it can be avoided and some (of whom I am proactively jealous) will indeed avoid it. But trust me, many will not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
270

I'm at least not paying for private school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
271

263: exactly.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
272

268: Duuuude! But LA!!!!!

... as you remind us on occasion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
273

269: I'm still traumatized by the admissions process we went through for kindergarten.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
274

268: exactly. Honestly, though, it's your fault: for living where you live and for having a girl.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
275

Fuck it, Webb Institute is the only option. I'm going to start on some kind of model shipbuilding thing this weekend.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
276

271: So there's an obvious, brilliant solution: LB sends Sally to live with urple for a couple of years. As a result, Sally gets fabulous scholarships. Meanwhile, she also liveblogs so we can all get a look at what life in urpleworld is really like.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
277

It's weird. I was a little piqued by heebie above, because I got the impression that she was saying that there was a clear tradeoff for a good student; you could hold out for Harvard or similar, and pay full freight, or you could go to an excellent but not-Ivy-League prestige school for free or close to it, guaranteed. So anyone with bright kids who's worried about college costs is only doing so because they're chasing status rather than education. (This was me being internally defensive at heebie, rather than anything she said or probably anything that she meant.)

And the thing is, maybe you can make that tradeoff, but it's really unclear going into it how to do it in an educated manner. After this conversation, I'm going to be doing a lot more research, but it's all maddeningly opaque.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
278

276: Oh my god would I do that in a heartbeat. Sally could reach new levels of competently surly disdainfulness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
279

And might be able to whip the laws of nature in the Urple-bubble into shape a bit.

Urple -- want an au pair? She's untidy and won't do childcare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
280

Isn't childcare what au pairs do?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
281

Hence the disclosure that it wasn't going to work out that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
282

So ...


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
283

I'm not saying that I'd hire her as an au pair, but urple might. He hires killer clowns as plumbers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
284

It's become a bragging thread? Ok but I'll do it anon. 5 for 5, my safety was an Ivy; then 4 for 4 for grad school, and, shit, while we're at it, I've never applied for a job I haven't gotten. I was in fact offered scholarships to schools I didn't apply to, I think it was some award where the high school picked the recipient which included a guaranteed scholarship at school X.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
285

277.1: but not-Ivy-League prestige school for free or close to it, guaranteed

There is going to be a scale there, but mostly with potential* 10%, 25% off rather than full rides for what you mention. There will probably be full ride potentials** (generally for tuition, not r&b)***, but you will almost certainly notice a significant difference in the schools that offer it****.

*Of course, mileage may vary wildly based on child.

**Of course, mileage may vary wildly based on child.

***Of course, mileage may vary wildly based on child.

****Of course, mileage may vary wildly based on child.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
286

284 -- how much money do you make per year? How hot is your wife/girlfriend?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
287

Just post the photo and be done with it, Woodrow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
288

I think I've told the story about how I ended up at Wisconsin. Said story involved no bragging, of course, as getting into Wisconsin in the late 80s was just a matter of having reasonably high SATs.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
289

What kind of car do you drive?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
290

283: I'm not saying that I'd hire her as an au pair, but urple might.

How good is she at archery?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
291

but it's all maddeningly opaque

As JP said above, the whole process is just maddening, full stop, though it's true that the lack of transparency contributes greatly to the fun! I plan to win by not playing the game. For example, we're not saving for college -- because, I've been told, college will take whatever we have -- and my hope is that the boys will get into a UC, which by then we'll be able to afford due to...profit!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
292

287: Woodrow might have a girlfriend who isn't just a photo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
293

I was posting before seeing Halford's comment. I meant that I thought the next step would be a photo of his cock.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
294

I am not sending you that photo, and please stop emailing me about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
295

291: I thought faculty most places got kids ride free at their home schools. Not for you?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
296

295: not typically true of faculty at state universities. It's the taxpayer's money, not the university's. (This is very dumb, of course, for all of the obvious reasons, but there it is.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
297

I applied at an Ivy to which I was a multi-generational legacy but it turns out that if your ancestors never gave any money and also your grades were bad enough that you barely graduated high school it was no so much automatic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
298

291: That's my sister's plan for her boys' college educations. By total coincidence, one of them is shaping up to get athletic scholarships, should he stay equally relatively athletic for another ten years.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
299

295: I believe my mom's professorship could have gotten me and my sister free rides to Cal State Northridge twenty years ago.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
300

(This is very dumb, of course, for all of the obvious reasons, but there it is.)

You should try to work that into you syllabi as many times as possible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
301

The phrase, not the thing about your kids not getting tuition paid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
302

I was a kid with decent grades, perfect test scores, and no extra-curriculars from a extremely privileged Boston-area suburb

Allowing for geographic variations and token extracurriculars that would fit quite a few people at B/row/n when I went there, including me. A couple were legacies or super rich or black or hispanic, but most were generic non-legacy top five percenters.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
303

207: I do think it's a good thing in terms of retention, just different. Doing four-hour once-a-week classes is also different, and not in a way she likes.

232: You know your HS is an outlier. Your local public U also gives (gave?) out full rides like popcorn or something. I think I had 3 offers or so. A friend who actually went there had I think 6 plus guaranteed entrance to med school. She went to your HS. And weren't you a first-gen college student?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
304

299: huh, maybe that's still true at the CalStates, but I don't think so.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
305

291 is sort of my plan, but my kids also get tuition at any state college paid for because of their foster history, which is state-specific except for kids who are in care after I think their 16th birthdays. If they are like me and decide they'd be happier at a small school, we'll figure something out, but money that's being saved now is going to a new roof.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
306

303.2: You know your HS is an outlier.

Yes. But so is Sally's, no?

6 plus guaranteed entrance to med school

Hee. I think they did that guaranteed-med-school thing a lot. I don't know many people who took advantage of it.

And weren't you a first-gen college student?

Yep. It hadn't occurred to me as something that would enter into merit-aid decisions, but I guess it probably did.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
307

I'm still traumatized by the admissions process we went through for kindergarten and for preschool.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
308

306.3: so you're completely brilliant, from a place where people have no teeth, and the first person in your family to go to college? Jay-sus, I feel like it would be negligent of me not to offer you a full ride here.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
309

Oh, I think one guy who was super-shy in high school took advantage of the free-med-school thing. I was a little disoriented when he friended me on Facebook to see that all his photos were of himself posing with absurdly muscular guys on beaches in San Diego. I guess he stopped being shy once he came out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
310

Yes. But so is Sally's, no?

Not all that much. It's a new school, first graduating class is this year, so it hasn't got any kind of national reputation. It's test admission, but it's not Stuyvesant or Bronx Science (which is the school I was talking about in the spring that she didn't end up going to).

I'm not clear on what people are saying about the schools, though -- that there's some school-based effect, or that an outlier school is just one with an unusual number of high achieving kids, but colleges are still reacting to the kids as individuals?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
311

306: The x school (usually med) guarantees generally carry a minimum GPA requirement. Not intrinsically hard to meet but a trap for those prone to massive, flaming self-inflicted wounds.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
312

307: That too, although at least (for us) there wasn't a waitlist involved for preschool.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
313

This all seems completely alien, from a British perspective.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
314

My kids went to a preschool that identified itself as the [Placename] Infantry. Not meaning anything military, it was just named by someone unclear on the meaning of the word. No waitlists or admission process, and they were very relaxed about a little biting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
315

This all seems completely alien, from a British perspective.

Oh, it's coming your way soon enough.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
316

it was just named by someone unclear on the meaning of the word

That's hilarious.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
317

313 Why? Britain also has a status ranked higher education system with competitive admissions. The difference being that they demand you get x result or better on your A levels or equivalent (which made the IB a hell of a lot less stressful for us America bound kids than for those going to the UK). But it's a lot more similar to the American model than the continental ones I'm familiar with.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
318

Speaking of bright HS kids, I was on the bus today when a bunch of kids from the snootiest public HS in the city get on. They're all chattering randomly, and then out of nowhere, one of them is all "C'mon, you can't speak Wolof! I can speak Wolof" -- and then trots out what sounds like basic conversational Wolof in his Minnesota accent. It was very weird. Then they all got into a long discussion of which West African countries had the best/worst infrastructure, and how irritating it was to be ethnically Senegalese, and still have street hustlers try to take advantage of you because you were from the US. Based on the mix of people in the group, my guess is that it must have been the school's Africa Studies Club or something similar, but damn, the Wolof thing totally threw me for a moment there.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
319

re: 315

Eventually, yeah. Fees have gone up substantially [from basically zero], but at the moment they are pretty much the same at all institutions. And applications, with a few exceptions, are handled nationally by a single body [ http://www.ucas.com/ ]. You can look up the normal admission tariff [in terms of high school level qualifications] for any course at any university in the country.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
320

266: Hey! I'm plenty arrogant! And my safety school was a gen-you-wine shithole.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
321

LB, I had very little to distinguish myself besides reasonably high test scores and a high GPA from a fine but not nationally known public high school. Nonetheless, I received about $20,000 a year in merit scholarships from my non-name-brand private university from 1999-2003. I think total tuition was about $30,000. (This was also the case for most of my friends at the university; granted, we were all in the honors program.)

Now, my school has very little name recognition, but I'm pretty convinced I received a good education, particularly because I was an engaged student willing to take opportunities to study one on one with professors and get involved with interesting extracurriculars. There is a lot available even at second-tier schools for motivated students. Of course, the flip side is that there was very little networking possibilities at my school, and no one is particularly impressed when they find out where I went to uni. However, they also paid for me to do a study abroad, and there if I had thrown myself into it, I could have been hobnobbing with the future king of England, so again, options are out there.

Anyway, my experience is probably a bit out of date, and I'm not attempting to argue that anyone with bright kids who's worried about college costs is only doing so because they're chasing status rather than education, but rather to offer hope that a good fit will be found.*

*Ahem, I'm sure somewhere in the archives I've complained that my uni was not a good fit. But that was a mistake I made regarding social stuff, not academic.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
322

Has it always been that way? I vaguely remember friends being worried whether they'd get an offer and if so what the minimum requirements would be. This was back in the late eighties and we were abroad which might make a difference.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
323

there was very little networking possibilities at my school

Also, they taught me how to conjugate "to be" real good.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
324

re: 322

There are suggested tariffs you need to meet. So many A levels at such and such a grade, which are public. Published at one time in a paper book. Now available online. Usually you can be sure, unless they are heavily over-subscribed, that if you meet that tariff, you'll get in. Where it gets complicated is if you don't, as in the period after kids get their exam results, universities are often prepared to compromise on the grades they require, in order to ensure they fill their courses.

Sometimes, I think, universities that interview students [Oxbridge, etc] may, afaik, make lower offers than the standard tariff to people they regard as promising. I don't know exactly how that works, though, never having gone through it myself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
325

OT: helicopter parents follow their kids into the workplace.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
326

320: Ah, I was going off of repeated blog comments, not how things may or may not have happened in real life. Admittedly, I did miss the "arrogant" part of essear's comment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
327

325: Who are these people? I can't imagine anyone I have ever known inviting their parents to their job interview.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
328

VW is so, so right about geographical diversity (sorry, LB).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
329

I had not thought of geographical diversity as an explanation. Makes sense, I guess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
330

I was in fact offered scholarships to schools I didn't apply to

My senior year of HS I kept getting mailings from Purdue's program in Nutrition. "Thank you for your interest in the Nutrition program at Purdue!" It kept escalating until they were welcoming me to their program as a newly admitted student. I had never applied to Purdue.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
331

Most of the college literature I got seemed to be from either the University of Oklahoma, which was willing to let me join right away at any point and pay no tuition, or St. Lawrence University, which seemed no different from any of dozens of other northeastern colleges and didn't indicate that they were interested in giving me any financial aid so it was unclear why they sent me a brochure every two weeks.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
332

I probably underestimated geography too.

But anyway, I'd rephrase this:
anyone with bright kids who's worried about college costs is only doing so because they're chasing status rather than education

as: the lower tier school will have less interesting peers, on average, although you can always find some, and the classes will be a bit less interesting, because the instructors are targeting less well-prepared students. The quality education is available and the faculty will be strong, but a weaker cohort is the trade off.

However: earlier I said there are three tiers between heebie u and rice. Halfway there will give a solid cohort, friendship wise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
333

I can't even remember what the colleges had to base those mailings on. Did they have access to your SAT scores?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
334

333: As I memorably found out, they seem to put a lot of store by the preferences you expressed in the little questionnaire given prior to taking the PSAT.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
335

330: It was a message. Do I need to put everything in sheep entrails?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
336

"Nutrition Program at Purdue" is a euphemism for "Moby's Sex Basement"?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
337

That was supposed to be from Opinionated Fate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
338

But geography cuts both ways. Trinity, st. Edwards, and southwestern are three truly great private schools in central Texas, where being from NY isn't going to be a drag on someone's application. Barely anyone knows these schools, but the cohort would be strong and classes and opportunities would be great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
339

I mean opportunities like study abroad and collegey stuff.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
340

But how're the cohorts there w.r.t. mental whateverness?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
341

Which schools care about geographic diversity and why do they care? The more I think about it, the more it's kind of a weird goal. I mean, it makes sense for the schools that are trying to produce the ruling class, after all a bunch of senators have to come from flyover states, but beyond the top handful of schools why do they care?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
342

It's a version of affirmative action that favors white people?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
343

Heebles' three colleges mentioned in 338 boast that they have undergraduates from "48 U.S. states plus 58 countries", "45 states and 44 countries", and "thirty-five states and four countries". Aha! Southwestern University doesn't care about geographic diversity!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
344

I don't think she said they don't care about diversity, just that to them, NYC is diverse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
345

Like in those commercials for Pace picante sauce.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
346

ned's only saying that the third one doesn't care that much, because if they did they could do better than 35 + 4, like the other two do.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
347

Which schools care about geographic diversity and why do they care? The more I think about it, the more it's kind of a weird goal.

It was originally intended to put a quota on Jews. They keep it around in the same way that a man after caught blatantly staring at a woman's chest might turn his head slowly in the other direction, as if carefully surveying the area.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
348

341: I care about geographic diversity for the top schools (which, awesome on you for mentioning, because I was gonna - though my list probably runs longer than yours), but beyond that I don't very much. That said... an argument in favor of it is that the college experience is enriched by knowing people from different backgrounds and someone from Montana has a different background than someone from Los Angeles.

I'm not sure I buy it, because I see limits in the "enrichment through diversity" argument (I consider it among the weaker arguments for race-based affirmative action) but it's there.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
349

I agree that the admissions market is fairly national, and think that this is a mistaken view for many but not all teenagers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
350

My father frequently suggested moving to W. Va. before I applied to colleges, since it would only have been about twenty miles, in order to get some of those regional-diversity points. Never got around to it.

My mid-1990s experience of the merit scholarship thing matched LB's, though: there were a few thousand floating around here and there, but the only places offering large amounts of money (relative to tuition costs) were the third-tier schools that I might not have even applied to (who, as heebie notes, can afford to make such offers because they're so unlikely to be taken).

(And we're looking at opening a 529 plan for the kid; I shocked my wife by saying that I thought the question was whether the amount we should start dumping into it is more or less than $10k a year. I hope not? But I really have not much idea how to tell).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
351

I thought the Regents' and Chancellors' scholarships at Berkeley were need-blind w/r/t who got them, but need-aware w/r/t how much you got. There was a small, but real, honorarium if you didn't meet the need threshold, but I thought there could be more money if you did have demonstrated need.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
352

This thread is like the smart, moderately helpful version of all the NYT higher-ed articles. It gives me the cold sweats, and I am done with formal education forever, finally.

Generally, I agree that maybe the technocratic stuff is the best that can be done within the current political situation, but to me that's just another reason why we need to change the overall situation dramatically. I'm in favor of pointing out how fucked up the present is, and how things could be different (and sometimes and in some places have been different), without having a prayer of 60 votes in the Senate or whatever.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:55 PM
horizontal rule
353

Liz's kids could probably get a nice scholarship to BYU if they were Mormon. That's one school that wants more big city east coast kids to fill out the demographics.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
354

My experience when applying to schools was that certain schools, particularly second-tier private schools, were well-known for giving very generous merit scholarships. I remember Tulane was particularly noteworthy on this front, and some of my friends went there for just that reason. I'm quite certain this is a new development since the 80s, and part of some of the general trends that were being discussed earlier in the thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
355

I was offered a substantial merit scholarship to Clark (I don't think quite a full ride, but a major chunk of the tuition). I of course didn't take it and instead went to Cornell, which didn't offer me any merit aid but did give me a pretty good need-based package. This was all a few years before the trend of offering no-loan packages to poorer students started, which was very frustrating for me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
356

And, as Halford alluded to upthread, Cornell has traditionally been a favorite option for people in exactly LB's situation. These days even the public colleges there are pretty expensive, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-13 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
357

(I'm feeling much better than I was last night, in case anyone was worried about me.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:02 AM
horizontal rule
358

||

Wow...

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:22 AM
horizontal rule
359

324: that sounds a lot more formalised than it was last time I interacted with UCAS, back in the Middle Stone Age. There was a lot of variation around what offer you got, even for the same course; I scraped in thanks to a fairly generous offer based on my surprisingly detailed knowledge of grebes, but other people going on to the same course had to hit much higher standards.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:32 AM
horizontal rule
360

And where did you acquire this surprising grebe-knowledge, ajay?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:38 AM
horizontal rule
361

Glad to hear, teo.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:51 AM
horizontal rule
362

I forgot some other people you might end up needing to stab: you kid's friends, your friends, your family (immediate and extended).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:56 AM
horizontal rule
363

352: moderately helpful version of all the NYT higher-ed articles

They do tend to at least have some real data, and in fact they put out this nice sortable list in 2012 including both % receiving merit aid and average grant size (so a bit more info than UPetgi(9)'s list in 230--I think if you get a paid subscription to USNWR College Guide you can see the full data there as well). It helpfully includes % change in numbers from 2007-8 which illustrates the relative volatility at some of the schools as they adjust their admissions targets and policies.

And in support of some anecdata in this thread, In a related article, Christopher Drew reports that the percentage of students receiving merit aid grew rapidly from 1995 to 2008, so much so that "it rivaled the number of students receiving need-based aid."

That article notes the following: The University of Chicago, which often competes with the Ivies for students, gives scholarships that average $10,600 to 16 percent of its freshmen.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 2:11 AM
horizontal rule
364

One caveat on the numbers from the 1st link in 363, for state schools some places have very different merit schemes for in-state vs. out-of-state students (and I do recall noting that some private schools had in-state/local area specific merit aid--I think Rochester was one).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 2:34 AM
horizontal rule
365

I am dealing with this by saving what I can, and hoping that when it comes to it, colleges aren't really planning to charge me that that much.

I stopped reading the thread right here, so if this got addressed apologies, but: LB, have you spoken to an expert in college financial planning (don't know if there are such people) about this strategy? Because if you think your kids are going to be able to get into schools like Swarthmore with need-blind admissions and lots of financial aid, "saving for college" can have a counterproductive effect. It might be smart to make sure someone else, like your parents, is legally in possession of your savings the year before your kids apply. Maybe you feel like this is sneaky and unethical and you just don't want to do it, which is fine, although you could always just make a donation to the college above the tuition up to what you feel like you can actually handle.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:07 AM
horizontal rule
366

And where did you acquire this surprising grebe-knowledge, ajay?

As Marcus Aurelius would have said:

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.

From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.

From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally.

From my governor, to be neither of the green nor of the blue party at the games in the Circus, nor a partisan either of the Parmularius or the Scutarius at the gladiators' fights; from him too I learned endurance of labour, and to want little, and to work with my own hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, and not to be ready to listen to slander.

From my father, a surprisingly deep knowledge of grebes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:14 AM
horizontal rule
367

Another thing: if Sally really gets into programming, and Newt has a similar interest that makes him employable without a degree, there's some length of time after which they no longer count as your responsibility for the purpose of financial aid calculations. If they were willing to wait a couple of years and work or travel college could magically become a lot cheaper when they came back. I'm not sure what that duration is.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:17 AM
horizontal rule
368

Who here knows about ext4 file systems?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:25 AM
horizontal rule
369

112: NOOOOOOOO if your kids can get into wealthy private schools efforts to try to make more money are very likely just going to mean a higher price tag and you would have been on that treadmill for nothing.

Maybe I should read the whole thread and not react to every comment individually.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:27 AM
horizontal rule
370

Lizardbreath -- the note upthread about midwestern schools vs east-coast schools for easterners matches my experience. Three years ago, kid #1 (suburban Boston school, good grades and scores, not a superstar) got ca. $15,000 at Grinnell and Macalester, half that at Carleton, but nothing at Wesleyan and Vassar. Kid #2 (lower grades) got ca. $15,000 at Kalamazoo, College of Wooster, Denison.

My impression is that kid #1 could have gotten more help ($20,000?) if he'd applied to the midwestern schools that were slightly less selective, as his sister did.


Posted by: Delurking | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:37 AM
horizontal rule
371

And certainly those who prefer Swarthmore to Cal do.

What? Swarthmore doesn't lack for students from California.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:53 AM
horizontal rule
372

The problem with the "not saving because they'll just take it all" strategy for us is that (and god knows I'm going to hell for complaining about this) we make enough money that I think we're unlikely to get any need-based aid at all even at my current income and if we had no assets. The problem with that is that writing $50k checks is still implausible sounding, even at our current income. Which means that for us, saving/making more money will actually mean less pain. (We're the people Tweety was talking about way up thread.)

I understand your advice, and it's good generally, but I don't think it applies to us.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:04 AM
horizontal rule
373

That is, Tweety in 114.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:06 AM
horizontal rule
374

Okay, but in the process of researching, maybe it would be a good idea to find out where the cutoff line actually is at a few representative schools?


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:13 AM
horizontal rule
375

I have -- the "I think" was that things can change in four years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:18 AM
horizontal rule
376

Yale offers need based financial aid to families with incomes well over $200k. Having two kids in school at the same time increases the likelihood and amount. They are not typical but also not unique.


Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:20 AM
horizontal rule
377

And the thing to focus on here is the "I'm going to hell for complaining" bit. Even at worst case full-freight, we can do it -- the apartment is paid off on May 2015, and remortgaging it would cover the both of them. It just kills the fantasy of being carefree double income no dependents with a paid-off mortgage in my fifties.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:22 AM
horizontal rule
378

376: Most schools don't, though. Last I checked, cutoffs were mostly in the low $100k household income. (Admittedly, I need to reevaluate on the basis of what I can find out about merit aid.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:39 AM
horizontal rule
379

re: 368

I use them, but don't know a huge amount of the ins and outs. What do you want to know?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:45 AM
horizontal rule
380

It just kills the fantasy of being carefree double income no dependents with a paid-off mortgage in my fifties.

Well, at least one of them is going to move back in after college, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:50 AM
horizontal rule
381

Coming a bit late to the conversation, but I went through the college application process in the late 80s, and I share with the others from that era the impression that there wasn't a ton of merit based aid floating around. A few K here and there, but aid packages that would make a real difference at a pricey private U were pretty rare. I suspect that's changed.

That said, I recall that my HS friends and I had garbage bags filled with college catalogs and brochures by the time the whole business was finished. The college applications/admissions game was already huge out of control monster industry back then. It's scary the think that it's gotten even worse.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 4:58 AM
horizontal rule
382

Swarthmore says it has no income cutoff.

FWIW, even during years when the combined income of my parents must have been near or over 100k (spread over two households, so admittedly there's a big disanalogy there; also the financial aid office knew only one parent was contributing, and even though they were officially not taking that into account, who knows, maybe they were in practice) I was getting something like a 2/3 discount on tuition.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:00 AM
horizontal rule
383

But of course it's not true that there's no income above which they don't give aid, it just means that they're not saying what the cutoff is, under what circumstances.

This is the sort of thing that (a) makes me hope that it won't be so bad when it comes to it but (b) fills me with impotent rage because it's impossible to plan with any confidence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
384

Well, at least I have my perfect nest here. I know I can count on it, having carefully put it under the ground.


Posted by: Opinionated Mouse | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:26 AM
horizontal rule
385

Ten points for the Burns reference...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:36 AM
horizontal rule
386

I had a similar experience when I was younger, except it was rats and, instead of writing a poem, I tried to bash them with a shovel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:38 AM
horizontal rule
387

And missed them all. On the same job, we did find a mouse nest in a pile of lumber we were moving. My boss told me to step on the baby mice, but I just pretended the whole thing never happened.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:44 AM
horizontal rule
388

Well, at least you know that if you have any money left after the colleges are done with you, it will all be taken away by your nursing home before you become eligible for Medicaid.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:47 AM
horizontal rule
389

383: It occurred to me wonder if you could just go ahead and fill out FAFSA to see what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It appears there is an "official" forecast tool that you might want to fill out just to see where you fall. Might be worth a quick run through.

Many caveats of course, for need-based fin aid, a lot of schools just go with FAFSA, but the more "elite" a place is the more likely it uses CSS, and also interprets it more favorably (for instance, why the Ivies gave aid to such high-income levels) with regard to things like home equity. Actually just found this article in Forbes that covers it at a high-level quite well, and the charts give a good very quick ballpark feel.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
390

When I was choosing where to go to school, I visited Northwestern for a weekend with my father (a post-acceptance pre-acceptance recruiting visit). We sat through a bunch of seminars about how to afford college. I rapidly determined that they would pretty much take everything they had saved plus about 1/4 of my parents annual income when savings were gone. On the way home, my father turned to me and said, "Don't worry. If this is where you really want to go to school, your mom and I can take out a second mortgage." I was utterly horrified and went to Land Grant U, which was $8,000/year in tuition back then. Maybe Sally will be equally price sensitive.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:06 AM
horizontal rule
391

Ack, post-acceptance letter, pre-enrollment.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:08 AM
horizontal rule
392

My memory of that when I was applying to college (with spectacular standardized tests, a reasonably good GPA from a famously good high school, but nothing else remotely impressive about me) was that there was surprisingly little out there for the clever-but-not-award-winning until you got down to really fairly bad colleges.

I'm think it's very likely you and heebie are just drawing radically different lines to demarcate "really fairly bad colleges". Because my experiences and impressions match heebies. (And I just looked at the websites of a few colleges and it looks like they still offer "automatic" scholarships to kids with test scores and gpas above certain cutoffs.) And I'm basically saving nothing and counting on it working out. But, barring a fluke scholarship to someplace more prestigious, my kids will probably end up going someplace you would consider "really fairly bad". Obviously I don't share that opinion, although I would agree that they're really fairly unprestigious.

Sally is welcome to come live with us. We'll put her in the circus.

(And we're looking at opening a 529 plan for the kid; I shocked my wife by saying that I thought the question was whether the amount we should start dumping into it is more or less than $10k a year. I hope not? But I really have not much idea how to tell).

I have no idea how much you make, but unless you make an very large amount of money, that's insane.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
393

There's a Southwestern? I know about Northeastern and Northwestern, of course. So is there a Southeastern? Oh look, there is, but it's "a Christ-centered institution of higher learning."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:21 AM
horizontal rule
394

OMG I have so many goddamn kids. Urple, how many extra rooms do you have?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:24 AM
horizontal rule
395

OMG I have so many goddamn kids.

Just noticed, eh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:37 AM
horizontal rule
396

Or maybe the DNA results just came in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:47 AM
horizontal rule
397

OMG I have so many goddamn kids.

The college application process is about to begin in our house.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
398

UNC seemed like a nice enough place.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
399

So is there a Southeastern? Oh look, there is, but it's "a Christ-centered institution of higher learning."

Southeastern Seminary is about five blocks from my mother's house. It's what used to be Wake Forest University before that one moved from Wake Forest to Winston-Salem.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
400

And UNC is home to one of the world's most famous physicists.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
401

Sally is welcome to come live with us. We'll put her in the circus.

Just line up a notary.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
402

There was a Southeastern in DC, but it relied heavily on international students to stay open and ran out of money in the post-9/11 cutback on student visas.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
403

I was absolutely terrified of the debt that I had to assume for college, but, in retrospect, the Fancy Mean Ole Establishment University was extremely generous to Young Stupid Flippanter and Jesus H. Usury a lot of other people had to borrow three or four times as much.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:04 AM
horizontal rule
404

OTOH we are paying almost the equivalent of tuition in day care costs this year, so one at a time is certainly doable. There will be... 4 years in which we have two in college so figure what we've saved will cover those years. Mortgage will be paid off the year before the first starts. I'm guessing we're in roughly the same spot as LB, but with twice the kids.
Also maybe related, my in-laws just had an offer accepted on a house a couple blocks away- no word yet on whether they're (or my parents) are planning on contributing. My grandparents covered me and my brother which made things so much easier after college.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
405

||

Initially, I planned not to teach this semester, because Zardoz. However, in your 3rd and 4th years teaching is how you get paid if you don't have external funding (fuck you, sequester). So I decided I would teach a half load of the easiest class to teach (introductory class, all your sections are planned for you). THEN my adviser said "why don't we teach a class together!" I knew that this would obviously be way more work, but what was I going to say? I tried to be available during the summer to help with course planning but, you know, Zardoz. First day of class, like 40 kids show up. My adviser gives a rambling, terrible lecture that (in my opinion) does absolutely nothing to communicate the awesomeness of the material we have planned for the class. Second day of class, eight people show up. Enrollment, in the end, is ten. Department tells my adviser (who is, incidentally, HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT) that they won't pay for a TF for his class because there aren't enough people enrolled. The class that he designed (while I was otherwise occupied over the summer) to have tons of work, on the assumption that I would be his full-time TF and could grade the 6-12 papers per student. Now... I can do that for free!

I need a damn union.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:10 AM
horizontal rule
406

I think I'm assuming that by the time Alex reaches 18, we'll either be living in a socialist utopia, or he'll have saved up university fees through his cat-burgling and bank-robbing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
407

Teaching Flunky?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
408

Teaching Fellows, probably. Anyway, that really sucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
409

405: Department tells my adviser (who is, incidentally, HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT) that they won't pay for a TF for his class because there aren't enough people enrolled.

Academic authority structures always amaze me. (And I'm a good procedural liberal who believes in process-based decisionmaking and everything. But, still, really?)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
410

Ttam, one crashed during a resize, e2fsck played back the journal, thus effecting the resize. the percentage of free space shown is now very wrong. it's possible to touch the directory structure but the file metadata is weird. testdisk shows the partition structure intact, and a lot of deleted files, and also found the superblocks.

the first couple of superblocks I tried were corrupt, but I found a good one. e2fsck first pass returned a hunormous number of inode issues and claimed to fix them. it eventually finished and began-again. now it reports fixing a long list of group descriptors, starts counting multiply-claimed blocks (many of them), and after a while begins printing out the number 16777215 really fast.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:26 AM
horizontal rule
411

Sounds like if you make the class crappier no one will really notice. 0-1 papers per student!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
412

The home dir inside there is an ecryptfs, btw.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
413

re: 410

Ah, sounds like something beyond my level of knowledge, I'm afraid. Sorry. I'd have recommended e2fsck to some general punter, but it sounds like you're a long way past that in your investigations.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
414

...and after a while begins printing out the number 16777215 really fast.

And that's not what you're trying for?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
415

405 really sucks. I was somehow under the impression that grad students were guaranteed to be paid, one way or another. I wonder if that happens in my department too.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
416

Your advisor is completely out of money?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
417

I'm with 414. Don't think of it as a failure to do whatever incomprehensible task you were trying to get it to do; think of it as a successful rapid printer of mysterious phone numbers.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
418

strace shows that's *all* it's doing.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
419

Experiences of fsck and e2fsck seem to involve "wait for a hilariously long period of time and keep waiting", but this has got to be an infinite loop, surely?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
420

415: you're guaranteed teaching, but you aren't guaranteed to be able to teach a specific course. I could ask to be given a different course and possibly get accomodated.

416: he doesn't have much. I just went to talk to him, and told him I needed to be paid (and pointed out that another grad student in our lab is getting paid to teach a class with less students than we have) and he said "oh, okay, it seemed like maybe you didn't care about that. I'll go talk to them." Having an adviser who is old and mostly doesn't pay attention to or care about things: mostly awesome, yes, but not always awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
421

... and now I guess I'm getting paid! Okay, then.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
422

re: 419

Heh. I was in a planning meeting this morning that had a long component of:

'Right, we need to do $foo on these services. Shit, that'll mean fecking hours of fsck'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
423

oh, okay, it seemed like maybe you didn't care about that

Wow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
424

421: Money. Hooray.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
425

From KR's 193...this will redouble his calls for a sex confessional but he started it!

a performance metric does not have to be perfect to be useful. If the goal is to squeeze or weed out the worst offenders, even crude approximations will do: frex, if you apply penalties to the bottom 10% and there's a 10% margin of error in the metric, you know that the affected parties are bottom quintile at best.

Unless you can get value added vs. just outcomes your metric won't just be 10% off it will be hugely off. Right now it is a significant challenge even to get outcomes for colleges. I suppose the way to move from outcomes to VA for colleges would be adjusting entry wages or grad school admissions for SAT scores and something about HS record. But it will be statistically dense, not transparent, and game-able. Gaming and cheating are an important other problem with 'performance metrics' where they turn actively harmful.

I do believe in the crude use of performance metrics -- in the college sector there is a lower tail of institutions doing such a terrible job that I strongly favor something like 'gainful employment' rules to just cut off Federal aid to the real lower end. Some of those institutions are flat-out committing fraud on their students and we should certainly use whatever data we have to cut that off. But that's different than saying that 'performance metrics' are the answer to the broader problems with higher education, or even a really major part of the answer.

Also, you don't magically escape these difficulties by having the public sector run everything and imposing standards top down, as some here propose. You still have to measure compliance with the standards (unless you're going to dispense with accountability all together), which leaves you with all the attendant issues of gaming the system, cheating, using input measures as a more convenient substitute for hard-to-measure outputs, etc.

This reflects the narrowness that comes with a fundamentally technocratic vision. Options are not limited to use of metrics to discipline employees indirectly through customer action or use of metrics to discipline employees directly through top management action. You can empower frontline employees on the assumption that they are motivated to do their jobs, usually know more about their jobs than you do, and don't need to be beaten with a stick based on crappy, inexact, statistical guesswork as to how well they are doing their jobs. Note that none of that is incompatible with A) firing bad frontline employees, and B) giving frontline employees data that they themselves can use as one element of assessing how well they are doing.

I'm not particularly wedded to the consumer shopping model of higher education reform, but given the fragmented nature of political authority and the market power of the federal government, it's an obvious response.

The problem with the consumer shopping model run very deep. Primary among them is that you don't discriminate among institutional forms or practices, you dump that off on the customers. Supposedly customer choice will do your management for you. But public colleges and universities, private non-profits, and private for-profits are very different kinds of institutions with very different incentives. These different kinds of institutions will manipulate consumers in different ways. There is a fundamental policy choice in which institutional form you are going to favor. For a long time the workhorse of higher ed in this country was public universities that were essentially free, or within the reach of students working part-time, with front-line employees in those institutions professionalized and motivated by professional values, and oversight through the local/state political system. A system of 'metrics' will not replace the strengths of that system.

(As I said above though, if you define 'consumer shopping' broadly to mean some Federal government demand for minimal value in exchange for funding, I'd certainly favor it, but that is something else).

The easy thing for Obama to do would have been let the problem fester until he leaves office. There's lots of risk and little upside in taking it on. But the administration correctly recognizes that current trends are at odds with the goals of a just society, and that they create the risk of inviting a conservative policy response that could be much, much worse for higher education and for non-affluent Americans

this solution is simply not going to work, so the problem will continue to fester and the conservative policy response may still be forthcoming.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
426

mysterious phone numbers.

224-1 in point of fact.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
427

Somebody knows binary numbers very well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
428

426: yeah, it feels like it might be a magic number in some way.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
429

Go to a Barclay's ATM and, without putting a card in, enter that number. Follow the instructions on the screen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
430

It's really a shame New York destroyed City College. It seems like the city could really use a flagship public university.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
431

debugfs: icheck 16777215
Block Inode number
16777215 1914527

so there's a block with that number. hmmm.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
432

clri'd that inode - reran e2fsck - back to the magic number again.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
433

ok, where did the 577MB of log just suddenly come from?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
434

A plough just turned it up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
435

filesystem liveblogging is a bold frontier indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
436

To go tediously where no man has gone before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
437

I miss the days when long threads converged to swimming, rather than computer programming.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
438

I had to stop swimming because the pool I was using closed at Labor Day. I could use the other pool, but swimming inside when it is 80 degrees out seems wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
439

Somebody knows binary numbers very well.

Somebody knows to Google interesting-looking numbers generated by computers.

It looks like ext4 has a 48-bit address space for whatever that is worth.

24-bit integer problems come up in single-precision floating point since the mantissa is 23 bits but should not have a thing to do with this.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
440

The home dir inside there is an ecryptfs, btw.

I assume this means the call is coming from inside the house, to those who can decrypt it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
441

437: I thought the rule was that all threads eventually become bike threads.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
442

Also #FFFFFF-1 (#FFFFFF is white in 24-bit color schemes).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
443

430 is a good point. If you went back to say 1945 and bet on "what's likely to be a great public university" City College would have been at least up there with say UCLA or what became UCSD. I mean CUNY is still an amazing institution that provides a great service but it's weird that there's not a really great flagship public university in NYC.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
444

443: Eh, I mean, if I could have afforded to go to Sarah Lawrence, I totally would have, but housing college students in Manhattan -- or even Brooklyn for that matter -- seems somewhat inefficient in a city-planning sense. Especially since NYC is always guaranteed to have lots of younger folx around, looking to break into show business or interning on Wall St. or just working at McDonalds. Put the kids out in the countryside to balance out the oldsters.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
445

The whole SUNY system is weird. I went to a prep school in PA, where people were obsessed with talking about colleges and applying to UNC, UVA, Delaware, Ohio State, Ohio University, Rutgers, UConn, even WVU for some reason. Nobody had any opinions on any of the SUNY colleges, except Binghamton for reasons of geographic convenience. Generally if you ask someone not from New York State to name a public college there, the first or only response is "Syracuse".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
446

[Note: I know Sarah Lawrence is nearer the Bronx, but I was thinking of where you would hypothetically put dorms for great public university students.]


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
447

I guess the forthcoming Cornell island of science in NYC will kind of be a great semi-public university in NYC, but I don think they're doing anything for undergrads.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
448

447: I thought it was technology, not science.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
449

Syracuse is not a public university. Maybe that was the point.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
450

Binghamton is arguably the best of the SUNYs (though it's Stony Brook in other fields), so it's not just geographic considerations that would have made it more popular.

My understanding is that SUNY was purposefully hobbled because lobbyists from existing schools didn't want there to be a flagship which would compete with them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
451

Putting something in Binghamton is a good way to hobble it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
452

Strathclyde University used to use this as 'dorms':

http://www.theglasgowstory.com/images/TGSA05074.jpg

http://www.theglasgowstory.com/image.php?inum=TGSA05074

http://jackdeighton.co.uk/2008/09/23/scotland%E2%80%99s-art-deco-heritage-4-the-beresford-hotel/

[It looks like that now]

Art Deco dorms in the city centre.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
453

The college application process is about to begin in our house.

Whaaaaat? Your kids aren't that old, apo. You're nuts.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
454

Binghamton is arguably the best of the SUNYs (though it's Stony Brook in other fields)

It isn't Stony Brook in your field? That really surprises me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
455

452. C'est magnifique, mais n'est-ce-pas le ciné?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
456

"Other" was a poor choice of words. I meant "some fields" including math.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
457

453- The girl is very advanced.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
458

I think I'd rather live in Binghamton than Stony Brook. (Though for Stony Brook you can live in Brooklyn and have a terrible commute.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
459

re: 455

Glasgow's art deco cinema is the GFT, which looks great outside and in to this day.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7174/6481077281_ed29bae0f0_b.jpg


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
460

If you lived in Binghamton the commute to Stony Brook would be even worse.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
461

448 is right. I tend to lump them together. Binghamton's pretty extremely terrible as a city (I mean, Scranton, which isn't that far, is a place you'd look up to as a more exciting metropolis) but probably fun as an undergrad and a really great place to raise a family as a prof.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
462

453: The oldest one is now my height and drives himself to and from school. It doesn't really make sense to me either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
463

461: why do you think Binghamton is "a really great place to raise a family as a prof"? I ask in all seriousness, because everyone I've ever known who's taught there has been completely committed to getting out.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
464

I may be unfairly slamming the place. I've only been there once, while flying to the wedding of somebody who was getting married at a nearby safety school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
465

All I know about Binghamton is there's a Ponderosa we would always stop at on the drive to Rochester.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
466

Also, I lump SUNY Binghamton (or whatever they're calling it this week) in with Illinois Urbana-Champaign: good schools that are, for reasons I can't quite identify, almost completely devoid of any appeal or even identity (beyond blandness).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
467

I figured one could afford a pretty nice house, there'd be pretty good public schools and a nice little university community, you'd have enough on a Prof's salary to spend summers on a lake, that kind of thing. I could be totally wrong!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
468

I came very close to going to graduate school at Illinois. They have an historic cornfield, if you're into that. Also, when I did my visit they had a restaurant with a signed photo of Larry Linville on the wall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
469

Although I've been to Binghamton several times (my grampa-in-law lives there), I haven't really seen the town much. But I would have assumed by analogy with the cities in south central PA that I'm familiar with, that it would have improved a lot in the past 20 years.

Google confirms, for example, that Binghamton has a brew pub while Stony Brook doesn't.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
470

What cities in south central PA? York? Lancaster? Shippensburg?

Scranton hasn't improved much in the past 20 years.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
471

UIUC is where HAL was built, so that's something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
472

York, Lancaster, and Harrisburg are what I had in mind.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
473

I've lived in Pennsylvania for ten years and never been to any of those places.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
474

Lancaster in particular I think has improved to the point of being an actually appealing place to live.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
475

my plan for the Calabat is for him to be brilliant, but with the bonus of being a good fit w.r.t. regional diversity. Otherwise, I can probably pay for the flagship state university if I don't eat for a few years.

Both mine are in high school now and we might go the flagship state U route. They've both been maintaining just under a 4.0 and have both shown interest in being physician assistants, which I'm encouraging the hell out of as from what I can tell it appears to be a job that's employable with decent pay but without the soul crushing hours of med school. And while they might get more assistance out of state they can go to the U of U pretty cheap, especially if they kept living at home. We've got plenty of room in the house and we've got a light rail station less only a mile away so they wouldn't have to buy their own car. I hate to say it, but it's looking like not moving out and doing that PA program at the U with partial scholarships from grades is their best option for coming out employable with a minimum of stress and debt.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
476

You're certainly nothing like my family if that would minimize stress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
477

Unsurprisingly, my strategy is the same as the Urple/Cala/Gswift plan.

I have an ace in the hole, which I was embarrassed to bring up above, which is the tuition exchange program that Heebie U offers to its faculty/staff. So there is a guaranteed floor where the munchkins can go to school for free. I thought I'd seem like an even bigger asshole for chiding people about tuition if I shared that yesterday. Today I'm a tempered asshole.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
478

If you can't find a way to move to Lancaster, PA, try scenic Gilberton.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
479

477: which schools are in the exchange? I got offered a job at a private university in New England a few years ago. There were a number of reasons I turned it down, but one of the biggest was that the schools my kids could have attended for free weren't at all appealing (largely, though not entirely, for reasons of religious orientation).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
480

Heebie U is the only one guaranteed. All the better schools they have to get in on their merits, and get awarded money out of the exchange pool according to their merits. That said, the three schools from 338 are in the exchange, and kids of colleagues have taken advantage of all three.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
481

Has anyone looked at the tuition prepayment thing? I read about it in the NYT so I assumed "program of interest to people making $500k/year and oh noes look how hard it is for them to afford college." But if you expect tuition to rise faster than market returns it would seem to make sense as a 529 alternative.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
482

My current town is a more appealing place than Lancaster. That said, I would kill to move 12 blocks of 2 and 3 story old brick row houses here. Old east coast cities have a housing stock advantage that the midwest just can't compete with.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
483

Checking SUNY, tuition and fees for in state is 7K.
Room and board is about 12K. Checking the Princeton page 100% of the 160-180K bracket got financial aid for an average amount of 31,400. They also have a cost calculator where you put in your income, assets, number of kids and it gives you an estimated aid award. I imagine the other schools in that bracket are broadly similar in effective cost.

It seems that the best plan for the lizard spawn would be to give them three options. Option one is to get into a super competitive wealthy institution that will give them tons of need based aid. Option two is some other good but not super high end school willing to give them a generous merit scholarship. Option three is SUNY.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
484

480: I consider myself pretty well informed about this kind of thing, and so I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no impression at all of Southwestern or St. Edwards. I do, though, know that Trinity is supposed to be a very good school where kids can get a terrific education, so it's great that you have that option.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
485

There is something spookily awful about Binghamton the city. It's hard to say exactly what it is. Just a dismal aura of rust belt failure. But even beyond that...something more. Rod Serling comes from there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
486

I have a similar impression to 485, although just from passing through on buses.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
487

I have a fairly low opinion of Binghamton from what little I saw of it while living in Itha/ca and occasionally passing through. But for that matter, I have a fairly low opinion of everywhere in upstate New York, maybe colored too much by my grad school years.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
488

Although my girlfriend hasn't had many positive things to say about her new home in Syra/cuse, either.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
489

the forthcoming Cornell island of science

Cornell? That's a super-safety school!

But tell me more about this island....


Posted by: OPINIONATED DOCTOR MOREAU | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
490

I went to Binghamton for my grandfather's funeral. He and my grandmother had retired from Westchester to a summer house on a lake just across the PA border; after she died he sold it and moved into town. Perhaps the latter did more to hasten his demise than the former. It certainly didn't seem to me as though it would be any less depressing if I'd been visiting under better circumstances.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
491

Essex Co., NY is really beautiful and far upstate, but not terribly near Syracuse, I guess. Anyway, Lake Placid? Saranac Lake? The best.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
492

I do, though, know that Trinity is supposed to be a very good school where kids can get a terrific education

My dad says it went downhill when they let girls in.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
493

That's what they said about women's luge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
494

||
Speaking of Lancaster, the newspaper there has a story saying that Corbett now *will* agree to accept Medicaid funding in PA.

In the past, Corbett had voiced concern about whether the federal government will keep its funding pledge. It was not immediately clear how that concern has been resolved.

I'm sure it was "resolved" by him being aware of his awful favorability numbers. Smell the "your vote taken for granted" glove, Tea Party dipwads!
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
495

I have no impression at all of Southwestern or St. Edwards.

I believe they're on par with going to school at Trinity. Very smart, pleasant people seem to have the time of their lives at all three schools.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
496

Up until now everything around here has been, well, pleasant. Recently certain things have become unpleasant. Now, it seems to me that the first thing we have to do is to separate out the things that are pleasant from the things that are unpleasant.


Posted by: Big Bob | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
497

The way I see it, these days there's a war on, right? And, ages ago, there wasn't a war on, right? So, there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right? And there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is, how did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-12-13 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
498

491: And then: Plattsburgh, the Binghamton of the North.

(I was going to follow that libel up with an equally impressionistic and likely false statement about small cities not far from large, cosmopolitan ones, but fortunately I discovered first that Binghamton is 3-4 times as far from NYC as I thought. Apparently being from upstate isn't enough to keep me from that thing outsiders do where they think everything in New York State is closer to New York City than it is.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 09-13-13 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
499

The NYC/Binghamton proximity (or lack thereof) thing that always pulls me up up a bit short is how the fastest route to drive between them goes almost entirely through two other states.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-13-13 5:50 PM
horizontal rule