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View Diary: Reasons why college is so expensive. (50 comments)

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  •  That is BS. Most office jobs don't... (0+ / 0-)

    There is now a new computer every 3-4 years for the office or desk of every faculty and staff member

    require a new computer every 3-4 years.

    I personally think that we need major reform where the first two years of school are done at a community college and the rest are done at the university for an undergrad degree.

    •  Not sure what you are saying is BS. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ogre, Sharon Jumper, DBunn, nervousnellie

      As a professor, my office computer is rotated out every four years.  I think there are at least two very good reasons for that.  After four years, computers start to break down a lot.  More important than the rising maintenance costs of an old machine is the loss of productivity.  The way universities are set up now, I can not do any part of my job without a functioning computer.  If mine breaks, my productivity drops to almost nothing.  If it it working poorly, then everything I do is affected.
      Second, the technology changes.  Software and on-line resources are quickly becoming more sophisticated, and they require state-of-the-art machines to use them.

      The community college option can work for some people, but if you look at my reason number II above, this will exacerbate that problem.  If universities are only doing the final two years for everybody, the most expensive years, then their tuition per credit hour will have to skyrocket again.

      So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

      by illinifan17 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 01:08:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I largely disagree... (2+ / 0-)

        If you look at Europe, or Finland in particular -- the country that is usually number one in education in the world -- their students show up already knowing what the first two years teaches at a US Institution.  With the Tiered Bologna-method.

        1.  High School Graduation

           A) Go to University? If yes, go to #2, else go
              to 1-B
           B) Go to Tech School? If yes, go to #4, else
              Good luck, kid!

        1.  College Graduation

           A)  Go to University?  If yes, go to #3 if no
               go to 2-B
           B)  Go to tech school?  If yes, go to #4, else
               good luck, kid!

        1.  Attend University
        1.  Attend Tech school

        In the context of the European system, "College" and University are not interchangeable as they are here.  College is strictly preparatory for University.  When you go to University there, you DO NOT spend the first two years studying general studies.  By the time you are in University, you should already know those things.  

        Thus, your first day in University, you are learning skills that you will need for your career, not general studies.  

        This has produced a gap of sorts between Europe and the US.  American students are having a more difficult time competing for jobs abroad since a US bachelor's degree does not imply the same level of study in a given subject that a European one does.  This is exemplified in a quote by Niels Christian Nielsen:  ""The big difference between Europe and America is the proportion of people who come out of the system really not being functional for any serious role. In Finland that is maybe two or three percent. For Europe in general maybe fifteen or twenty. For the United States at least thirty percent, maybe more. In spite of all the press, Americans don't really get the education difference. They generally still feel this is a well-educated country and work force. They just don't see how far the country is falling behind."

        Indeed, just for fun, look up the Website for University of Helsinki (Helsingin Yliopisto) and see what the requirements are for getting into a PhD program.  In many of them (biology comes to mind) a bachelors from a US institution is not sufficient for admittance -- Americans must have a master's to apply.  

        While there is no doubt that higher level classes are more costly to teach and take, I believe this must be done in order for us to compete.  Granted, in Finland and most countries in Europe, education from the daycare/preschool level all the way to graduate studies is provided free of charge to all students...

        ...and therein lies the difference.   Much like healthcare, Europeans have designated education as a public good, one which the government and society have an obligation to provide to everyone.  In this country, education is increasingly treated as a for-profit commodity.  One need only look at the proliferation of degree mill type schools to see this.  One only need be in a academic meeting and hear the term "Educational Industrial Complex..."  

        Yes, higher education (and to a increasing extent primary and secondary education, as well as vocational training) has become a commodity.  A consumer good.  Something to be bought and sold.  The simple fact of the matter is that not everyone who goes to college belongs there.  There are just people who would be happier being a plumber -- and there's nothign wrong with that.  But, we have convinced people they MUST have that degree in order to get a job, and that isn't true.  People are not neessarily getting those good jobs, and in many cases, they are not getting good educations.  

        But they are paying for it.  

        Again, this is just like the healthcare issue.  The parallels are there.  Education must be:

        1.  Treated as a public good, and paid for by society who ultimately benefits from it.  Education for profit is incompatible with its status as a public good
        1.  Education must be reformed.  It must be modernized, and it must be changed to serve the needs of all types of students, not just those who wish to go to University.  

         

        •  Ummmm (0+ / 0-)

          Indeed, just for fun, look up the Website for University of Helsinki (Helsingin Yliopisto) and see what the requirements are for getting into a PhD program.  In many of them (biology comes to mind) a bachelors from a US institution is not sufficient for admittance -- Americans must have a master's to apply.

          Not to disagree or anything, nor to disrespect the European educational system, but I don't personally know of any PhD. program in America where you can apply without a Masters degree.  Are there such programs?

          The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

          by Heiuan on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 03:06:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  actually, one TYPICALLY applies for entry (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Caj, Heiuan, SuperSonic Dog

            to a graduate program without a Master's. one typically obtains a master's along the way to one's doctorate, but by no means always, especially if a thesis is required for the master's. it depends entirely on the individual school. but i don't know personally of any doctoral program that requires a master's degree.

            but the key comparison to be made here is this: is a bachelor's degree from a Finnish (or german, even) university acceptable for entry into the Helsinki doctoral program? if so, then SSD's point is proven -- their bachelor's graduates are considered equivalent to our master's graduates.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 03:20:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And yes, you are correct... (0+ / 0-)

              ...that a Finnish bachelor's (or one from most other EU countries) will get you into a graduate program at Helsinki, but a US student would have to have a master's before applying.  

            •  Wow...you learn something new every (0+ / 0-)

              day!  Thanks muchly.  I wasn't aware that's how it works.

              Heh...I got my business diploma 28 years ago from what would now be called a Techinical school.  Hands-on lessons in what my actual job was going to be.  I took my national certified bookkeeping credentials test later on.  I don't know if they even have these any longer, it's been so many year.

              The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

              by Heiuan on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:48:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heiuan

            ...you can apply into most PhD programs with nothing but a bachelor's.  In fact, one could argue that a master's and a PhD are two divergent courses.  Want a career in industry?  Get a Master's.  Want a career in Academia?  Get a PhD.  

      •  Most new software can run on... (0+ / 0-)

        Second, the technology changes.  Software and on-line resources are quickly becoming more sophisticated, and they require state-of-the-art machines to use them.

        older machines unless we are taking about computer science or engineering type stuff but there are dedicated computer labs for that. Most office type work can run fine on any PC made in the last 7-8 years that runs windows XP. All it may need is some ram.

        The community college option can work for some people, but if you look at my reason number II above, this will exacerbate that problem.

        I disagree. If you cut out all those lower level classes you are cutting out lots of staff, classrooms, and basically downsizing everything. Furthermore, only the serious students attend and therefore the students that are going to drop out aren't wasting the time and resources of everyone else.

        It also solves the binge drinking problem of 18 and 19 year old kids on campus.

        It also solves the problem of 18-19 year old kids that are still really too young to live on their own and don't make the best time management decisions.

        I agree that the cost per credit will go up but it will only be for two years and only the serious students are the ones that pay (kids that drop out after the first or second year in the current 4 year system won't be stuck with a huge bill as they will be at community college).

        Further, how much does it cost to keep adding new dorms, buildings and other things? A lot.

        •  i think you are both right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          illinifan17

          illinifan17 is right that the per-credit cost will go up -- a lot, really, because juniors and seniors are typically in much smaller classes taught by professors. many freshman and sophomore classes are taught either by grad students, or by professors in gigantic lectures.

          and you are correct that the tradeoff is that there will only be 2 years' worth of such elevated costs.

          so the remaining question -- which we don't really have the data to answer -- is which of the two phenomena will dominate the bottom line. we'd need a fairly sophisticated model in order to answer that question. bear in mind that a lot of the overhead is going to be there one way or another. every department will have a departmental secretary, regardless of how many students there are.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 03:24:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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