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When I saw that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had released a report on higher education I was more than a little intrigued.  I have spent most of my life in higher education either as a student or a professor (no FOIA on me, I’m a private citizen now).  I’ve been a student; I’ve worked with students – at private and public institutions of higher learning.

As usual, the report is nice looking and has some good things in it, things people will agree with, even me. But the report is a trojan horse - ALEC literature is always a trojan horse.  You have to read ALEC literature very carefullly and thoroughly..  There were a lot of things that jumped out at me as I read the report, but some items need more time for pondering.  This entry is the easy one to write.

So here we go……………..You’re in for an interesting ride!

On April 8, 2011 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (U. S. Department of Labor) released a report on labor participation among students.

N= 22 million students, ages 16 – 24, in high school or college
      12.4 million of those students were in college
      85% of those students were enrolled full-time

So why is this important?  Later………………….

In order to compete for limited graduate schools admissions or to find a job faster or to find a better job, more students are completing double majors.  

Depending on which university you attend the definition and requirements for a double major are different, but here are two examples from state run universities.

“A "Double Major''is a student who plans to receive a single degree, but who will complete the requirements for two majors. In this case the last line of the student's transcript will state that a single Bachelor's Degree was awarded and that the student had two majors.”

By definition, a double major is two (or more) areas combined into a single degree (B.A. or B.S.). You will receive one diploma certificate.

UC Davis reported in 2009 that about 12% of their students graduate with a double major

An article states that the University of Wisconsin reported about 32% of their students had double majors in 2008.

So why is this important?  Later………………….

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (U. S. Department of Education) released a study in 2010 looking at the cohort of first-time college students who entered college in the year 2001-2002 and completed a degree.

Of the students that were studied (no sample size was given):
   57% of students attending a four year institution finished their bachelor’s
     degree in 6 years or less
   the 4-year graduation rate at private not-for-profit institutions was
     51 percent, compared with 29 percent at public institutions
   the 6-year graduation rate for private not-for-profit institutions was
     64 percent, compared with 55 percent for public institutions and
     25 percent for private for-profit institutions.
   The 6 years bachelor’s degree or equivalent graduation rate was
     60 percent of Whites, 42 percent of Blacks and 48 percent of Hispanics
   The six year graduation rate for females was higher than for their male

So why is this important?  

On April 15, 2011 the American Legislative Exchange Council released a report titled “10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask About Higher Education”.

As I said earlier, there is more to detail from this new ALEC report, so there will be more to come.  But, the inspiration for this entry was found in Appendix C, page 56, subtitled ALEC Model Legislation on Higher Education.

The first entry on page 56 – the first “Model Legislation” that ALEC is giving to their members - your state legislator – to take back to your state and try to implement as legislation in your state -  is called the “140 Credit Hour Act”.

What does the “140 Credit Hour Act” Model Legislation say?

If you attend a state college or university
And if it takes you more than 140 credit hours to complete a
  four year baccalaureate degree
  The state should impose a 25% tuition surcharge on you.

If you attend a state college or university
And you take 110% or more of the credit hours to complete a
  five year degree
  The state should impose a 25% tuition surcharge on you.

After any student in a four year program has reached more than 140 credits
After any student in a five year program has reached 110% of credit hours
The college can no longer count those students as enrolled,
  even if those students are still attending the college or university
The college or university loses its funding for those students,
  even if those students are still attending the college or university.

This ALEC “Model Legislation” applies only to students at "state run" state colleges and universities.
This type of legislation is based on an antiquated model of higher education and what a four year degree is or should be.

This type of legislation places unnecessary credit hour restrictions on students - and IMO reduces learning opportunities.

This type of legislation would cause disparate impact for people of color and women.

This type of legislation would cause financial harm for those students who don’t know their major the first day of college.

This type of legislation would cause financial harm for those students who need a double major in order to get a job in their field.

This type of legislation would reduce the number of students who would want to go to a public college or university.  

This type of legislation would cause irreversible damage to our state run colleges and universities due to reduction in student populations and loss of funding.
IMO: This “Model Legislation” is one way to get rid of state colleges and universities.
IMO: This “Model Legislation” is one way to bolster up the private sector colleges and universities.
If you don’t know what ALEC is - you should – please read this, or this, or this, or this.
Protest ALEC – April 29, 2011 – Cincinnati

Originally posted to MNDem999 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The diary is good (6+ / 0-)

      but not formatted well.

      It appears as though a lot of the quoted content is actually your opinion. The quote boxes make it difficult to discern.

      I would suggest unquoting content that is your own opinion, or sourcing all quotes appropriately.

      I'm running for office! Donate now:

      by Alfonso Nevarez on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:03:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't have a problem with the formatting, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'd like to see some reasoning behind the "IMO" statements.

        IMO, this diary gets an "I" (for incomplete).

        We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

        by NoMoJoe on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:30:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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

        ... if 999 had a staff of model diary writers working it maybe format would be more

        Solid post.

        You might track Dr. Richard Vedder. He did a piece on April 1, 2011 - NYT and several others.

        Then he makes his way to Forbes on 4 April:

        Need a motivator just watch THIS VIDEO of Vedder.

        Not mad yet, try this speech getting ALEC award next to Dick Armey (really will torque you off) and on how America's Higher Ed is a sham:

        Richard Vedder Speech Part 1
        Vedder talks about how the “mission of ALEC is to reduce” and that “higher education has been ripping off taxpayers for 43 years”.

        Richard Vedder Speech Part 2
        Making a comparison of public vs. private schools Vedder describes his data on how “public higher education contains an army of professionals that do not teach” and “professors that attend committee meetings play golf and the like” producing “dubious quality graduates”.

        REPORT out at his OU Org:

        Piles of higher education stuff to get on ALEC. Just follow the drunk, but he says he "doesn't drool" Dr. Vedder.

        We could use a big drill down on all this, they were blasting away since April 1, must be official hate education month or something. Go for it.

        How is that for formatting? Just fine I say.

    •  Write On MNDem999! (0+ / 0-)

      Dearest MNDem999 . . .

      I thank you for the thoughtful treatise.  I facebooked and tweeted on my personal pages and on Empathy And Education/@empathyeducates. I also Recommended and submitted to the Teachers Lounge.  At each I prefaced the missive with this thought, “Punish the poor, the student who works to be more learned, "marketable," or likely works his or her way through a "less costly" "state run" college or university. Such is the way of corporate education reformers.”

      If you choose, I invite a cross post at  

      Only tonight, I saw Inside Job.  The thought for how our educational institutions have been compromised was included in the discussion of “free markets.” Your essay takes me to sooo many places.  

      I thank you for giving voice to what we, the people, have settled for . . .I am grateful that more and more people have taken to the streets.  I do not think we can stay silent any longer.  In truth, I never did believe it wise to suffer, settle, or be silent.  MNDem999, Write On!

      May life bring you peace, prosperity, pleasant dreams becoming the best of your reality. May your life reflect the goodness that is you . . . Betsy


      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson.
      Betsy L. Angert BeThink and at Empathy And Education

      by Bcgntn on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 09:25:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any idea how this would affect students (8+ / 0-)

    who entered college with pre-existing credits - as through dual-enrollment during high school, AP tests, and so forth?

    I entered college with a 15-credit-hour full-time-student semester's worth of credit. If I'd taken 16 credit-hours each semester for the four years it took to get my degree (and thanks to the scheduling for both my majors, there was no way I could have graduated in three years), I'd have gone over 140 my final semester.

    Kids from my high school who took every AP class offered that they could possibly scrape together the prerequisites for? They'd hit it with a year of coursework left, even though NONE of the credits would have been for anything outside distributional requirements, electives, or the absolute earliest prerequisites in a major.

    If I hadn't been looking at private schools, and if there had been a policy like this in place (betcha GA's HOPE and similar aren't going to be permitted to cover the extra fee...), this would have given me reason to not take a few AP courses I did.

    Who would take AP Stat with this policy in place? Most colleges and universities have a separate course number for its credits, because it's not calculus based. Engineering students who take it have to re-take statistics as part of their degrees - it just doesn't count as anything but a several credit-hour introduction to the subject for them.

    Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

    by Cassandra Waites on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:20:36 AM PDT

    •  Your question is excellent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Hector Solon

      Your example is a great one!
      You raise an excellent point!

      We really don't know what would happen in this instance, as the summary of the "Model Legislation"  is only a paragraph long

    •  Can also apply to students who attend (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, marykk

      a junior college for 2 years and get the AA.  They may also come with extra credits.

      •  On the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

        my university in Colorado treated transfer credits as having fulfilled requirements on the transcript but not as actual credits. An AA just waives the 60 credit gen ed requirement.

        That actually was somewhat inconvenient for me since my major program at the time was set up with both course and credit requirements. My transferred credits counted for the courses, but not the credit total and so I got to amuse myself in taking every possible elective in the department.

        So at least at some institutions, with some majors, this might serve as a boost to community college enrollment.

        Colorado wouldn't be one of those places since their latest proposed solution is to limit in-state tuition to a lifetime total of credits instead of per degree. That completely negates the value of an AA for someone who might want to get a BA.

  •  Michigan is $55,000/yr for out-of-state (7+ / 0-)

    students -- their bread and butter. These type of laws would devastate their system so I'm sure Snyder will be all over this law.

  •  $: the biggest reason for taking more than 4 yrs (7+ / 0-)

    Some people might not be able to afford to be full-time students, especially if they pay out of pocket and receive no financial aid.

    Also, many people have to take time off for personal reasons like caring for a parent or sibling or even their own children. Other people get sick and have to withdraw for a semester, a year, or even longer. And then there are those who are college students through the GI Bill or they are attending school and are part of a ROTC Program and they are called to active duty.

    There are any number of reasons why it takes people five or six years to graduate that don't involve excessive partying. Punishing people for taking a little longer in school (which mind you they are already paying for that privilege) is the product of a typical Upper Class mindset. After all, Muffy only took 3 1/2 yrs to graduate from Princeton, so why should Pedro get to take six?

    Incredible, but this speaks volumes about ALEC and how Teahadists view middle and working class people struggling to get an education so they can make more money. You would think they would want to reward those people because the Teahadists claim everyone on welfare yada yada is a sponge, but the point here is that ALEC & friends want to keep the masses dumb and poor.

    •  if you didn't take calculus in high school (5+ / 0-)

      and want to be an mechanical engineer, It will take 5 years with hard work, especially if you need to earn money over the summer and part-time during the school year. That is not partying or being lazy.

      fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

      by mollyd on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:40:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they're focusing on credits, not years to completion.  Many times a program is just called a four-year or five-year program based on the time it would take if you're full-time and doing the program straight away from your first year.  I'm not in support of the ALEC plan, just clarifying terminology.  

  •  Thanks for this (4+ / 0-)

    I've had a suspicion ALEC was lurking behind much of what is going on.

  •  They cut tuition support so students must work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, elwior, marykk

    then they penalize them for not completing in four years? I frankly don't know anyone who had to work through college who finished in four years, including myself.

    Republicans know that the greatest threat they face is a well-educated, well informed populace.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:48:52 AM PDT

  •  Guess they hate Van Wilder! NT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, Matt Z, elwior

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:52:07 AM PDT

  •  I seem to remember... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Reepicheep

    back When George Pataki was governor of NY, that he proposed to cut off state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards for students who didn't finish their degrees within a certain time.

    That would have been at least 5 years ago, so this isn't a new idea for republicans or their drones.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

  •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

    some need to unsubsidize college after a certain amount of credits.  At my university it is 165 credits (120 are necessary to graduate), after which the student pays full tuition (basically out of state tuition).  Of course, this can be appealed, but is mostly in place to motivate students to get a degree at some point.

    Another issue for low income students is that they will dry up their FAFSA dollars after four or five years.  Regardless if the tuition is 7000 or 24000, it becomes unaffordable without financial aid in place.  I don't know what changes are necessary as I can understand that eventually students must make a decision on a major and graduate.  I think the 165 credit limit with an appeals process that my university employs is reasonable.  

    •  in-state tuition is not financial aid (0+ / 0-)

      in-state tuition has always been couched as state investment in an educated populace. It's supposed to help combat brain drain, and encourage local economic activity as high school graduates stay within the state to further their educations and adults changing careers have a place to retrain.

      Limiting access to in-state tuition because some are using more of it than others is akin to limiting access to roads for those that drive more or drive larger vehicles. While there's some logic in instituting differential use transportation taxes, the fact that ALEC encourages states to target higher ed funding before transportation funding shows a biased sense of priorities.

  •  That assumes a constant credit hour system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My school was 9-15 credits a class, 45-60 per term, if I recall correctly, something like 380 to graduate.

    Also, given schedules, workload, ability and the like, people took from 3-5 classes a term... Thank you cookie cutter makers for telling us we need to move in lockstep.

  •  Google "tuition surcharge" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You will find that a few southern states have implemented this. Some states do have a waiver process if the time in school has been extended to to illness, disability, and other hardships. A discussion of the policy can be found at:

  •  ALEC is a plague onto our Land! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:05:13 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for writing about this! I share your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon

    concern about the 140 Credit Hour Act, and I'm also concerned about some other ALEC bills being pushed in that report: the Academic Bill of Rights for Public Higher Education Act (since this refers to "right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of religious or political beliefs" I'd guess this is to encourage conservatives and Christians to complain about professors they consider too liberal and tolerant), the College Opportunity Fund Act that's basically school vouchers for higher education, the College Savings Account Act and the Inclusive College Savings Plan Act that will probably provide more taxpayer-funded benefits for the wealthy, and the Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education Act, which is apparently ALEC's affirmative action program for right-wing professors.

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