How Will ITT Tech Survive?

I’m surprised it took this long to catch up with these grifters:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will release new regulations on Friday requiring most for-profit and career — or vocational — colleges to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for careers after graduation or face being barred from federal student aid programs.

Students at for-profit colleges represent about 13% of the total higher education population, but a disproportionate number of federal student loans — about 31% of all loans –go to such schools, which are popular with adult students and veterans trying to launch careers. Nearly half of all college loan defaults are from students enrolled in such programs, according to Department of Education statistics.

That default rate is staggering.

Thanks to reader RT for sending this in.

174 replies
  1. 1

    It’s easily imaginable how it could take so long to catch up with these grifters when you consider the lobbying on the side of grift. Ain’t too hard to plow some of that money they’ve been taking from those loans into donations and lobbyists. Add the phrases “consumer choice” and “free market”, and it’s quite an uphill slog to get anything positive accomplished.

    I have a pal who works on this stuff– they’ve been working at this kind of reform for years.

  2. 2
    karen says:

    My best friend enrolled in the Art Institute for web design and they messed with her financial aid so the money she thought would be applied towards her final year’s courses somehow didn’t get applied until she was done with her courses. Then she found out that there were now other courses she needed to get her degree. They’re vultures who prey upon people who have few options.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    Hopefully this version will survive the judicial scrutiny that took down the previous attempt.

    Then, maybe someone can take a look at things like financial aid for students at bottom-feeding law schools (said students end up with huge amounts of debt and essentially useless degrees). See Paul Campos’s posts at LG&M for the dirty details.

    Also, too, speaking of grifters, today’s NewsMax gem is “Trump Has ‘Much Bigger Plans,’ Scraps NY Gov. Run”.

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    I see you didn’t get the business school manual about new trends.

    Grifting is the new profit center.

  6. 6
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I have no idea why people would ever dream of going to a for-profit school. The fact they are called ‘for-profit’ should be a pretty blatant red flag about what their #1 priority is…

  7. 7
    Cacti says:

    Or pretty much every culinary arts school.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    Somewhere, Michelle Rhee is hasing a sad.

  9. 9
    Violet says:


    Also, too, speaking of grifters, today’s NewsMax gem is “Trump Has ‘Much Bigger Plans,’ Scraps NY Gov. Run”.

    That’s hysterical. I decided to see what the story was and found this from USA Today:

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Billionaire Donald Trump said Friday that he won’t run for governor in New York, citing the inability of the Republican Party to unite around his potential candidacy.

    “While I won’t be running for Governor of New York State, a race I would have won, I have much bigger plans in mind – stay tuned, will happen!” Trump said Friday via Twitter.

    It appeared increasingly unlikely in recent weeks that Trump was going to run for governor. He said he would need the GOP to clear the field of potential Republican challengers, and last week Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino entered the race to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    “I have clearly stated that if the New York State Republican Party is able to unify, I would run for Governor and win. They can’t unify – SAD!” Trump said earlier Friday on Twitter.

    Those damned Republicans and their “inability” to unite around Donald Trump’s candidacy!

  10. 10
    Cassidy says:

    @PsiFighter37: They’re all for profit. These colleges are just honest about it. Higher education has become a scam focused on squeezing as much money out of students and parents as possible all whiles reason it up as some sort of social benefit.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    @PsiFighter37: Well, a large part of it, the main part really, is marketing. These schools sure as hell don’t advertise themselves as for-profit. Instead, they advertise their services, which are generally vocationally-oriented degrees/training. “Start a new career in $FIELD”, that sort of thing.

    You have to do some background research to understand the business model and the pitfalls.

  12. 12
    dmsilev says:


    Those damned Republicans and their “inability” to unite around Donald Trump’s candidacy!

    First time in a long time that I find myself in agreement with the Republican Party. I’m sure the feeling will pass.

    Also, I think we all know that Trump will drop endless streams of broad hints about his intent to run for President, but in the end chicken out before the first actual votes.

  13. 13
    Gravenstone says:


    Also, too, speaking of grifters, today’s NewsMax gem is “Trump Has ‘Much Bigger Plans,’ Scraps NY Gov. Run”.

    Was going to highlight that headline. Of course Trumpster has more important things to do than putting actually himself in a position where any scrutiny of his lies might happen. That grift ain’t gonna happen all on its own.

  14. 14
    Gravenstone says:


    Those damned Republicans and their “inability” to unite around Donald Trump’s candidacy ego!


  15. 15
    jharp says:

    Long past time to go after those fuckers.

    They are worse than loan sharks. Far worse.

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: Bullshit

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    Living in the Phoenix area, I’m near one of the biggest scammers of all, The University of Phoenix.

    This pack of charlatans likes to sell the fact they’re “accredited”. And they are institutionally accredited to receive Title IV funding. However, many of their individual degree programs are not.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    @dmsilev: I think it would have been great fun if the Republican party had united behind Donald Trump’s candidacy.

  19. 19
    AMinNC says:

    A couple of years ago I was talking with a state inspector who deals with regulations for trucking here in North Carolina. White, in his 50s, thick accent – stereotypical Good Ol’ Boy – and we had a very interesting conversation about his nephew who had been suckered in by one of these for-profit colleges.

    This guy was disgusted that his relative had been promised the moon, went deep into debt, and had nothing to show for it. And he ended up singing the praises of the community college system where he said folks like his nephew can actually get education and training that mean something – a real value for their education dollar.

    I didn’t start an explicitly political conversation with him, but it made me wonder if he votes Republican (as a lot about his demographic status would make it likely he does), because they are currently doing everything they can to dismantle public education at all levels in our state, which will really affect folks like his nephew in an awful way.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    Free enterprise is always better. Public schools are filled with liberal pinkos and the latest restrictions just prove that the president is a socialist.

    Maybe I too, can be a grifter.

  21. 21
    Emily68 says:

    @Cacti: Community colleges sometimes have culinary programs.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    @AMinNC: These bandits got their start after WWII by swindling vets on the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (GI Bill). The government started planning for some way to reintegrate the millions of GI’s back into the economy and post-secondary education, including the proprietaries, was a pivotal component. Their was similar legislation a couple of years ago and, at the last minute, it was gutted. These fuckers have some powerful lobbies.

  23. 23
    Gvg says:

    Efforts to reign in for profits started way before I entered the field. The Feds always get stopped by either Congress or endless appeals and lawsuits. Congressmen always defend the specific accused fraudulent school that is in their backyard which makes donations to them. And all of these colleges have excellent legal staff or they would be out of business. I think campaign finance reform would help. the department of Ed has always known they need to get rid of these over several administrations of both parties but have been prevented from succeeding enough. It is possible that the current gridlock in Congress will actually help in this problem. it just shouldn’t be this hard though.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Emily68: My pal that graduated from the CIA in New York teaches in one of our “technical colleges” or version of CC’s.

  25. 25
    R. Porrofatto says:

    I’m surprised it took this long to catch up with these grifters

    Maybe it’s because, as usual, deregulation created yet another ripe target for Wall St. plunder, (a great example here) and those boys get their way. Even better than a few new regulations, what this industry really needs is some high-profile prosecutions. And we haven’t seen much of that yet.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    @R. Porrofatto: They will have been “caught up with” when something really happens.

  27. 27
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: How much did UGA make off tv deals? How much does the coach get paid? Yeah.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: I have no intention of engaging you. If you don’t understand the difference between athletic associations and universities there is no point. Stick to the stuff you know about.

  29. 29
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    I don’t know what took Obama so long to do this. /wank

  30. 30
    Smiling Mortician says:


    Higher education has become a scam focused on squeezing as much money out of students and parents as possible all whiles reason it up as some sort of social benefit.

    Well, at the very least, if you were in my freshman comp class, I could help you to turn that into a sentence that actually means something. It would still be wrong, but it would have grammatical meaning.

  31. 31
    karen says:


    For so many people there no other avenues: bad grades from high school for example – but can recognize that they need to be more skilled.

  32. 32
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: I’m sure the money scammed from textbooks or freshman dorm requirements doesn’t go anywhere near paying for athletics. /eye roll

    @Smiling Mortician: I’d just tell you to shut the fuck up and teach since my student loans are paying your salary. You’re on my time bitch.

  33. 33
    ruemara says:

    Can I just be a little OT and rant about the stupidity of the Comic Con badge purchase process? I’ve been logged in since 7 am, ready to go and I never even got out of the waiting room reg area. Meanwhile people are posting on the twitters that, “wow, I just logged in and I got to purchase, yay!” How can you randomize access when you have a login process? It means that a lucky few can jump the line due to pure luck of the draw? Argh. Some of the comic people were talking about supporting smaller cons that were less of a media fuckfest for movies and tv, more about comics. I hope this happens. SDCC is too big and too unfair for their britches.

  34. 34
    JoyfulA says:

    @raven: At least the Washington Post is no longer a powerful ally to for-profit sorta education, now that the newspaper has been sold off.

  35. 35
    🍀 Martin says:

    The Obama administration will release new regulations on Friday requiring most for-profit and career — or vocational — colleges to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for careers after graduation or face being barred from federal student aid programs.

    This annoys me a great deal. There are PLENTY of state run schools that are just as bad. Some entire states are notorious for this (I’m looking at you Mississippi), and even in my state with a fantastic higher ed system, we have campuses that are just terrible.

    I’m glad that the for-profit campuses are getting reigned in, but I know a few for-profits that you would be MUCH better off going to than a few publics. The original plan (which the states obviously shit their pants over) would have required all schools receiving such funding to demonstrate acceptable graduation rates, job placement rates, and affordability. I can appreciate everyone being nervous about this, but right now this information isn’t even disclosed. Part of my job is overseeing these kinds of things within my institution, and if not for me taking the initiative to do it, it wouldn’t get gone. Almost nobody really looks at retention at most schools, nobody outside of law and MBA and med programs and the like looks at placement. Nobody anywhere looks at affordability.

    Holding institutions accountable to these things and disclosing these things to prospective students and parents would be an unalloyed good. It would force administrations to face these issues and address them. It would force campuses to better align their enrollments to where career opportunities are (engineering, health sciences, computer science are all underfunded nationally and all have huge demand from students and employers, but are expensive programs to run and therefore aren’t allowed to expand). And if there are for-profits that can put up stronger metrics than the publics, well, that’s okay. I think it’ll be rare, but it’ll clean up the publics as well.

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @🍀 Martin: That”s right and, if you had your way, they’d do away with all that bullshit liberal arts crap and stick to stuff than can be counted.

  37. 37
    Walker says:


    Go to DragonCon instead. While it has also gotten very big, it still has a lot of its old charm.

  38. 38
    🍀 Martin says:


    I’m sure the money scammed from textbooks or freshman dorm requirements doesn’t go anywhere near paying for athletics.

    Too broad of a brush. State law here bars that from happening. There’s not much of a textbook scam since everyone buys from Amazon or rents from Chegg. The dorm requirements, at least at my institution is a byproduct of the retention issue above. Students that live off campus are much more likely to leave school than ones that live on campus (both due to poor academics and due to finances). More likely to die from doing stupid college stuff as well (and you will sue us when your kid dies, whether it happened on campus or off, so we might as well exert a little influence over keeping them alive in that case).

  39. 39
    JoyfulA says:

    Did something bad happen to ITT over the last 50 years? I know someone with an electrical engineering ITT degree who retired after a rewarding career in his field that included a stint at NASA and an MBA. Was he ulta-lucky, or did the school change?

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: There are a lot of people who want to do just that. There is school of thought that universities should exist purely as job training sites.

  41. 41
    scav says:

    Pls. Queen Elizabeth reigns in and is, in turn, needs to be reined in. Or, Queen Elizabeth reigns in England and reins in her out of control staff and family. She, alas! does not reign in Spain or rain gently on the plane.

  42. 42
    JoyfulA says:

    @🍀 Martin: Pennsylvania has a big push on graduation within 5 years. Why?

    It comes across as forced lockstep, regimentation, a deindividualization; don’t dare pursue your interests and talents by switching majors or switching schools altogether. That’s bad!

    Maybe I’m being defensive because I dropped in, dropped out, got a job, went to night school, got a different job, etc., over 20 years before getting a degree, and have had a fine life.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You don’t have to tell me. Fucking bean counters and their “accountability” shit are everywhere.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev: If he actually runs, he’ll get his clock cleaned, and the media attention he needs like the rest of us need oxygen will evaporate, and the poor dear will die of suffocation.

    Which would be a good thing, I might add…

  45. 45
    scav says:

    @JoyfulA: See raven at 43. The easy “metric” of success is quick throughput.

  46. 46
    EriktheRed says:


    You’re right, now they’re in service to an employer that is getting just as bad a reputation as Wally World.

  47. 47
    🍀 Martin says:

    @raven: Yea, see, that just wouldn’t happen. Those disciplines aren’t going away, and if the student interest is there, then they might even grow. But I don’t think you’re considering the admissions differential that is created when institutions are trying to fill low-cost programs over high-cost program. The median humanities student at most mid-tier publics has a lower GPA and test scores than the worst engineering student at most mid-tier schools. That’s not an accusation that humanities sucks, it’s an acknowledgement that a lot of really good students are getting turned away from high demand program in favor of weaker students because the student chose a major that the institution doesn’t want to fund. How is that good for students and parents? The humanities programs have plenty of students, they’ll do just fine even if we level that out, and they’ll still pull in a lot of teaching off of the general education requirements. This isn’t a threat to the faculty or those disciplines in any way.

    I mean, if you’re a 4.0 weighted GPA engineering student applying to a UC, you’re a solid admit to only two of the 10 campuses. You’re marginal at the other 8. You think that’s also true for the humanities? It’s worse if you want to be a health professional (nurse, etc). There’s demand from both students and employers, so why take those students that want a career in a field where there are jobs and move them into a discipline they don’t want and where the job prospects are much less rosy?

  48. 48
    Gex says:

    The job creators like to pretend there are jobs, but that Americans don’t have the skills to fill them. And then they let a these places suck up a lot of the time, talent, and money that could be used getting Americans those needed skills. Of course they prefer it this way because then there’s a ton of profit made at these schools. (And face it, this is what a capitalist enterprise’s ultimate goal is: get paid for providing the consumer with nothing of value.) And then job creators can pay H1Bs or ship the jobs elsewhere because Americans don’t have the skills. It’s a great thing, if you hate Americans and America.

  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    It took a president who was a college professor. Too bad he can’t see through the testing/charter/TFA grifters. Of course, back in the late 1990s when he was still community organizing charter schools didn’t seem like a bad idea at all, TFA was much smaller and its problems not yet apparent (and since they recruited students from Ivies, seemed idealistic, I’m sure for someone like Obama the idea seemed cool), and that testing crap was only starting to make beachheads outside of Tex-ass. Clinton had run on his reform of Arkansas schools and what Democrat wasn’t for urban schools?

    But most, ahem, urbanites have seen the downside of this shit at this point. Joe Lhota tried to run pro charter and even marched with charter school parents and still lost in a landslide–a true landslide–so that kind of tells you how NYC parents feel about private schools getting rich off public property and their taxes. CTA – Chicago Teachers Association–not Chicago Transit Agency, Rahmbo’s first target, still on the ground bloody–gave Rahm a black eye.

    But I love Obama for doing this.

    It takes a while to change out the bureaucracies… Obama inherited a government full of Bush’s true believer Regents U moles. Look at the shit he’s doing now. Haven’t heard from Cornel West lately. Maybe because Obama is getting changes accomplished reversing some of the horrible damage the Bush years did to African American household’s income and household wealth.

    My only prayer is that other Democratics look to their leader and use the playbook he and deBlasio have used to win elections and effect change. Burn that old 1990s Clinton playbook. It’s done. Over. Like Alex Sink*, You. Will. Lose. (And what a sad say for labor that was, a lot of money and volunteer time burned on a candidate that district residents never really warmed up to.)

    Students. Latinos. African Americans. Progressives. Oh, and these categories overlap. That’s your team. That’s who needs to believe you’re on their side.

    *-or Elizabeth Colbert, who ran as a conservadem and never mobilized African-Americans in her district to vote for her

  50. 50
    raven says:

    @🍀 Martin: I’m sorry you’ve confused me. Which programs don’t universities want to fund? Also, are you saying students are forced into disciplines they don’t want to be in?

  51. 51

    Are you really surprised ? First grifters are strong interest groups. Second one of the main grifters is The Washington Post Corporation. It is very unwise for any politician to crack down on the scam which cross subsidizes publishing The Washington Post.

    I would not be surprised at all if the Obam administration negotiated the crack down with Jeff Bezos. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it happened only because he decided that he is rich enough to do without the money.

  52. 52
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @JoyfulA: In Florida they tried it and it was a transparent attempt to force poor kids who were working their way through school not to go to the top tier state schools. They want them back for rich white kids again.

  53. 53
    Mike in NC says:

    Graduated from the now-defunct Computer Learning Center. They cared a great deal about collecting the tuition. Student placement was pretty much an afterthought.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @JoyfulA: They expanded rapidly at some point in the last 15 years. I don’t actually know anything concrete, but that made me very suspicious.

    There have always been 2nd and 3rd tier engineering schools for slow boys who couldn’t succeed at anything else but were too pale-skinned to do physical labor.

    I know. That was a mean thing to say. But there’s part of my family who basically used to think that those engineering drone jobs were set-asides for their autistic white cousins and Black people immigrants (j00000z) argle bargle just like that guy who got in the tower in Texas and started shooting his classmates.

  55. 55
    raven says:

    You want to know what is wrong with colleges? Someone decided it was really important to show the teams getting off the goddamn bus when they show up at the stadium.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: After he got out of the marines.

  57. 57
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @🍀 Martin: They all say there’s no connection, but there surely is, especially when state funds are involved. Let’s not forget that there are also opportunity costs, for example when the college president woos the big donors to give insane dosh to buy a football coach but doesn’t mention they maybe could use a named dorm or classroom building, or, well, let’s go deeper, when you have no income tax that’s basically a subsidy on being a rich asshole and then the rich asshole is only asked to give the widow’s mite to athletics WHILE AT THE SAME TIME all those user fees the poor and working class and middle class are paying are going to THAT SAME RICH ASSHOLE’S COMPANY to build research buildings* on campus with millions of state general fund dollars. Follow the money.

    *-using migrant labor he doesn’t even pay the worker’s comp or unemployment insurance payroll taxes on

  58. 58
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: oh lawd, I may be all GO NAVY but even I wouldn’t saddle the Marines with responsibility for that one

  59. 59
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Walker: It’s definitely still for fans and not a SDCC like cluster****, also, Atlanta has gotten to be such a great city to visit in recent years. I’m going back this summer when the Pleasant St trolley opens so I can visit the MLK sites on public transit AND maybe come back and check out the aquarium AND go back to Mary Mac’s and maybe do some Peachtree barcrawl… there’s an embarrassment of riches.

  60. 60
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @🍀 Martin: I thought retention was one of the first things you looked at when applying to colleges. Has that changed since the 1990s?

  61. 61
    dmsilev says:

    @Robert Waldmann: I thought Bezos just bought the Post and that the rest of the Kaplan empire is still as it was.

  62. 62
    Citizen_X says:


    I’d just tell you to shut the fuck up and teach since my student loans are paying your salary. You’re on my time bitch.

    This is where one pulls out one’s phone and calls campus police, and has them deal with the disruptive (soon to be ex-) student.

    (I mean, seriously: your sentence was nonsensical crap, and their critique would be an inherent part of their job. If you can’t take that without a hostile response, you have no business on a college campus.)

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Haven’t heard from Cornel West lately…

    Brother West has given up on Obama.

  64. 64
    tybee says:


    he’d be mostly silent. and that’s a good thing.

  65. 65
    Peter says:


    I’d just tell you to shut the fuck up and teach since my student loans are paying your salary. You’re on my time bitch.

    Actually, unless you are currently attending the school at which our Smiling Mortician teaches, your student loans are not and never have paid for his salary.

    You really are the thickest son of a bitch on this blog, aren’t you?

  66. 66
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Emily68: As do some high schools. Those for-profit culinary schools are TERRIBLE. In the USA anyway. I’m sure other countries actually regulate those fuckers.

    The ONLY certificate I’d trust is a recent, genuine safe food handling cert!!!! Wannabe chefs don’t learn SHIT in those so-called culinary institutes.

  67. 67
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @AMinNC: Trucking schools are a scam. The most evolved form has the NY scam where the instructors use an earpiece to tell the students the answers when they sit for their CDL exam; the Southern version has the instructors also administering the CDL road test! You pass! Gar-ron-teed!

    Florida’s voc-tech in high schools was completely dismantled so as to give away Florida’s public school students to the testing companies. From what I’ve heard it’s been bad for the kids and the trades.

    Community colleges do trade school stuff but the union guys–okay, they’re biased–say their union apprenticeship program is superior.

    Of course, Florida’s support for its community college system is kinda an afterthought.

    And whoever said it’s all about that campaign donor stuff is completely correct. It’s sick.

  68. 68
    shelly says:

    Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stopped to talk with patrons at the Pink Cadillac Diner on Farmington Road as part of a newly revealed listening tour Saturday.

    What is it with Republicans and ‘listening tours?” First Paul Ryan pretending to care about the poor….And lets not forget Sarah Palin and her bus tour of Real America

  69. 69
    muddy says:

    They mean for you to have to listen to them.

  70. 70
    Another Holocene Human says:

    ESRI and other software companies offer paid trainings on their software. I found it to be high value. Of course more power users means more sales. Companies often pay for these trainings. Prices vary, but often it’s not in the range where you’d be taking out loans anyway.

  71. 71
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Whitman’s initial 18-month tour of duty in 1959 and 1960 was exemplary, and he earned a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Sharpshooter’s Badge and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. Whitman received 215 out of 250 possible points on shooting tests, and did well when shooting rapidly over long distances and aiming at moving targets. After completing his assignment, Whitman applied to a U.S. Navy and Marine Corps scholarship program, intending to complete college and become a commissioned officer.[8]

  72. 72
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @shelly: It works on stupid people. I’ve got a local pol doing that. It might even work. The problem is that her opponent isn’t a liar so yeah, she has some positions not everyone agrees with. So this tea partier has learned from her antecedants who turned everyone off running anti-gay and pretends to be for whatever your group is for. It’s so ridiculously transparent to me but a lot of people are buying it.

    Also, emo-progs are dumb. About 300 of them voted once again for this bizarre dude with a raging case of narcissistic personality disorder. Sigh.

  73. 73
    Gene108 says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    I would not say public universities and traditional not for profit education are scams, but they do need to account why tuition has skyrocketed much faster than inflation.

    It is not all about budget cuts either.

    When I was at NCSU, 20 years ago, NCSU and UNC-Ch, lobbied to set tuition rates independently (ie higher)of the rest of the UNC System. The legislature allowed this to take effect the year after I graduated.

    I went to Drexel, a private non-profit, for grad school and they aggressively expanded their business school and what struck me is part of the reason is the ROI on tuition from a business school is higher than other departments.

    Traditional higher education really needs to address the rise in tuition and if it is necessary or how rate of tuition increases can be lowered.

  74. 74
    Felonius Monk says:


    What is it with Republicans and ‘listening tours?

    Well, it is just the reincarnation of the old time medicine show except it’s not as entertaining. They are out there grifting — selling worthless bullshit to the rubes who just lap it up.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @raven: I’m glad you asked for a follow up because I read that comment several times and could not decipher what went into which category.

  76. 76
    🍀 Martin says:


    Which programs don’t universities want to fund?

    STEM and health programs, mostly. They require labs and fabrication facilities, and those are expensive. Class sizes can’t scale nearly as well as humanities/social sciences. They need more teaching assistants, grading is harder, etc. And faculty are more expensive to hire because competitive salaries from industry are higher. A new engineering PhD can get $100K-$125K from industry, but a new humanities faculty can be hired for $60K. They’re just more expensive programs to run per student, but tuition is the same, and the support from the state is the same.

    Also, are you saying students are forced into disciplines they don’t want to be in?

    Absolutely, in HUGE numbers. Of the top programs, more will forced into disciplines they don’t want than will get into the discipline they do want. And these aren’t uncompetitive students, they’d have a high likelihood of completing the degree they wanted if only there was space for them. In some fields, we could increase the number of in-demand graduates by 10x. But they’ll still attend because the same will probably happen from every school they apply to because students don’t realize how this works. Their friends with comparable grades got in the previous year to a less impacted major, so they think they’re competitive for an impacted major, but they turn out not to be and they wind up aiming too high and not getting their major of choice anywhere. Its gotten bad enough that a large number of students in some states are giving up on their own public system in favor of privates and other state’s schools, simply because the programs are so hard to get into, even for quite strong students.

    This isn’t uncommon for top 10 schools, nor has it been for a long time. But this is now mid-tier publics, and in some cases the entire public university system for a state. And it’s the result of too little support from the state, and from a lack of incentives to align enrollment to the needs of the state. I got a call a few months ago from the governors office to provide information on how many graduates get turned out in our region (from my school and the surrounding ones). A large corporation was looking to move into the area and would need to hire a large number of STEM graduates over a prolonged period of time – thousands annually. It was more than all of the universities in the area turn out. Basically, the public and private education system wasn’t going to be able to meet their demand, and without that, they’d be forced to hire away from other companies, which would drive salaries (and their costs) up. These are already $60K+ starting salaries for a new B.S. degree, so this isn’t low-wage stuff here, and going from $60K to $80K is a legitimate business problem. There were a few followups, including questions about the degree to which various schools could expand, which we answered, but which the state wasn’t willing to fund. It was pretty clear that the company saw access to qualified labor to be a big issue. The company went to Europe instead. I doubt it was because the taxes there were lower.

    Now, my guess is that the state and local governments were willing to put a lot more money into tax amnesty for this company than it would have cost to expand educational opportunities that would have benefitted both taxpayers and industry, but they were unwilling to spend on education. Because that’s spending, and tax amnesty isn’t spending. And this is a very blue state. But that’s probably 1000 students per year that won’t be able to study the field that they want and get a well above median salary job. It’s also tens of thousands of jobs that the state loses.

    I’ve previously argued that companies like Apple put jobs in China because they can hire engineers there on a scale that they simply cannot find in the US (Tim Cook has said that straight up several times). I’ve run into that kind of thing several times first hand. It’s not some Brooksian fantasy. We’re fucking our next generation over on educational opportunities, and fucking ourselves over on jobs because of underfunding sprinkled with universities propping up less popular programs in part due to costs, but also to not piss off the faculty. There’s a lot institutionally that could be done without the state, but attitudes like ‘but the humanities will die’ kill these efforts, and they kill them in a LOT of places.

  77. 77
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Another Holocene Human: It’s part of it, not all. And retention doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it will. Retention means they graduated from the institution, not that they got the degree they wanted.

  78. 78
    Cacti says:


    Community colleges sometimes have culinary programs.

    Yup. And at a fraction of the cost.

    My cousin is a sous chef at a large resort and got his associate’s in culinary arts at his local community college.

  79. 79
    Kay says:

    For-profit colleges have enormous political clout. It’s both sides of the aisle. Anita Dunn’s firm lobbies for them, for example.

    Here’s one who may surprise you:

    Last August, while Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was in the midst of an intensive round of fundraising for her 2012 reelection bid, a four-year-old civil lawsuit alleging fraud by an education company in which she and her husband are heavily invested became public.
    Nationally, most of the coverage of Snowe’s decision to drop her reelection bid has focused on the centrist Republican’s frustration with the polarized politics on Capitol Hill. But in Maine, a few newspapers have speculated that her husband’s legal entanglements had a role in Snowe’s sudden and surprising decision, which left her with more than $3 million in her campaign coffers and her party without a Senate candidate less than three weeks before the filing deadline for Maine’s June 12 primary.
    According to the senator’s most recent financial disclosure form, she and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan Jr., have investments worth between $2 million and $10 million in Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh-based company that operates for-profit higher education institutions. McKernan is chairman of the board of directors of the company, now embroiled in a lawsuit in which the federal goverment, 11 states and the District of Columbia are seeking to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid that the education firm has received since July 2003.

    We started to see the problems really explode when the economy tanked. They were coming into the law office with these crazy stories- they couldn’t get out of the contracts, none of the credits transferred, they had been promised all sorts of things.

    We started literally begging people not to sign up, because student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and they were getting these degrees that they could never use to find a job here and even if they did find a job in these “fields” pay would top at about 15 bucks an hour. We also have a fine public community college that’s close, so we’d suggest they go there instead.

    There’s nothing we can do for them after they borrow the money. They’re stuck, forever.

    It was interesting to watch what happened. It was like word (eventually!) got around. The online degree mills are completely discredited now, locally, IMO. If you talk to people here now, they all say “those are a rip off”. I’m glad they talked to one another, tipped each other off, if that indeed is what happened. They destroyed their own reputations, the for-profits. Pure greed and a complete lack of ethics.

  80. 80
    trollhattan says:


    Them’s fightin’ words!

  81. 81
    Another Holocene Human says:

    OT: does anyone else find that #Crimea is starting to remind them of the end of Reconstruction? Complete with ballot box shenanigans, white hoods ultra-nationalist “defenders” and provocateurs, and white crosses being marked on Tatar households’ doors?

    The Federal Government of the USA did nothing when this happened:

    Wonder if Ukraine’s allies will be ready when Putin’s armies march into Eastern Ukraine after turning Ukraine’s Redneck Riviera into hell on Earth?

  82. 82
    raven says:

    @🍀 Martin: I think I have to yield to you on this. Thanks

  83. 83
    Ben Franklin says:

    USC used to be (and still is as far as perception goes) a prestigious institution. In that last decade of my employment I saw the quality of the results disappointing when my Co. recruited primarily from that source.

    As to higher learning from institutions, I have to say.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  84. 84
    Tyro says:

    @JoyfulA: Pennsylvania has a big push on graduation within 5 years. Why?

    Because with full time enrollment at a university, one should expect to graduate within 5 years. Otherwise, that indicates people are dropping out, failing classes, can’t handle a full time course load, etc.

    Nothing wrong with finishing your degree part time, but the goals of a part time program and full time one are different, and students should know what the expectations of the university are.

  85. 85
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @🍀 Martin: But kids often have unrealistic expectations and end up changing their majors. What if your high school math/science track was easy and you get into diff/eq first semester sophomore year and realize your brain won’t stretch to accommodate it? Or if you loved English and theater in high school but you’re finding out that you suck at acting and you’ve discovered a love of activism in your summer job? Or if you love cats and wanted to be a vet but found out in your internship that you HATE everything about veterinary surgery and could never actually work in that field?

  86. 86
    Kay says:

    My favorite marketing ploy was when they re-branded themselves “private sector” colleges. Love that stuff so much. I love when I first hear the new term and then Eric Cantor picks it up. Then I know it’s “official” :)

    Also, the truth is these rules are weak. The lobbyists got a lot of what they wanted.

    It’s still pretty much “buyer beware” out there. Just go to a community college. It’s safer, and you’ll be keeping your money local and paying local people.

  87. 87
    Tom says:

    @🍀 Martin: I work part-time at a for-profit career college and while I don’t think the for-profit model is sustainable I can say a few positive things about where I work. I can’t speak to the corporate administration but on our campus we’re very student-focused and we closely track metrics such as retention, graduation and placement rates as part of our accreditation (ACICS) documentation.
    That being said, our typical student is either someone who is the first in their family to get beyond high school or otherwise would have a tough time succeeding in a traditional college setting. There are certainly a lot of bad examples out there (I hear UoP horror stories all the time) but like everything else involving humans, it’s complicated.

  88. 88
    Another Holocene Human says:

    My uncle started college in the early 1980s studying engineering because his late father had been an engineer. (Under same SS program Zombie Eyed Grannie Starver was on, for widows and orphans.) But he dropped out because it wasn’t for him. Ended up being a doctor specializing in gerontology. (And yes, he was very fortunate.) How may people pursue a major because of Dad or Mom and then realize halfway through that it’s not for them?

    George Takei got pushed into getting an architecture degree by his dad.

  89. 89
    James E. Powell says:


    My brother in law got his culinary degree at a junior college. He has been an executive chef at some decent places.

  90. 90
    raven says:

    @🍀 Martin: I must say that there is a tremendous emphasis on STEM and nursing in Georgia.

  91. 91
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Gene108: Not sure why that was directed at me, since my only argument was that I do indeed provide a useful social benefit when I help students learn how to write clearly.

    @Peter: Thanks.

  92. 92
    mclaren says:

    The pathological liar and scammer Richard Mayhew presides over a far more outrageous extortion racket than ITT’s education scam. Mayhew’s insurance company funnels rivers of cash from Medicaid into the pockets of rent-seeking wildly overpriced U.S. doctors and extortionate wildly overpriced U.S. hospitals and inanely overpriced American medical devicemakers.

    If greed and extortionate rent-seeking and crony capitalism and grotesque outrageous scams that impoverish the middle class are what you’re worried about, everyone reading this thread should be far more concerned about parasites like Richard Mayhew than about eensy teensy little bit players like ITT Tech.

  93. 93
    Kay says:

    Cordray’s enforcement actions may have more effect than anything the DOE does. He’s aggressive and a very smart lawyer, or he was when he was a state AG.

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services, accusing the large for-profit higher education company of engaging in predatory lending and other abusive practices.
    The bureau’s lawsuit marks its first enforcement action against a for-profit college and is an indication, some observers said, of how seriously and aggressively the watchdog agency — which officially turns three years old this July — plans to use its enforcement powers in this contentious, politically charged sector of higher education.
    The complaint accuses ITT of pressuring students into predatory loans and misleading consumers about their colleges’ job placement rates, accreditation and the transferability of credits. The CFPB alleges that the company developed a private loan program that coerced borrowers into high-interest loans that ITT knew were likely to fail and, by the company’s own projection, had default rates as high as 64 percent.

    When Cordray was confirmed and Republicans fretted that he would use the agency to expand his reach, I was thinking “yes, yes he will, you know, if he can figure out a way to reach…whomever” :)

  94. 94

    @Smiling Mortician: Just out of curiosity, what are your favorite books for grammar and composition?

  95. 95
    rikyrah says:

    The Veronica Mars movie is out!!

    I’m watching it – On Demand!

  96. 96

    @Kay: What is your assessment about the Democrats chances in the upcoming elections. The coverage from both NYT and TPM was negative and bleak. Do you agree with their assessment?

  97. 97
    raven says:

    @Gene108: It’s not huh? In Georgia we have had record budget cuts and record enrollment every year for a decade. Here’s an article about funding. There have been no raises for anyone in the university system in six years and there most likely won’t be any this year.

  98. 98
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Brown is, I think, making a mistake that will terminate any political career he might be contemplating. I don’t think most NH voters will care too much for a carpetbagger from Taxachusetts, no matter how much money the Koch brothers funnel him through Kkkarl Rove.

  99. 99
    Cassidy says:

    @Peter: Says the knucklehead that’s too stupid to realize the hupothetical is Is if I was in his class, implying I’d be attending.

  100. 100
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: My favorite college-writing book is the one I just finished writing (sorry, but it’s true). I use it now because I can, but it won’t be available for others until its national coming-out party in January 2015. I wrote it because I don’t much like the available comp-rhet books for freshman writing — they’re too dry and cumbersome, which just gives students crappy models. In the past, I’ve used Lunsford’s Everything’s An Argument and Rottenberg’s Elements of Argument because they both do a good job of showing that all academic writing is argument, even when it’s expository — which really helps students to understand the need for clear claims and supporting detail within a coherent structure. For grammar, I have often used Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference, but since my book also has a decent grammar reference section, I don’t really use that anymore either.

  101. 101
    Cassidy says:

    I forgot how many of you work at colleges. Gotta keep those teenagers accumulating debt to get that pay raise I guess. Fortunately, people are getting smart enough to realize that a lifetime of debt isn’t worth a piece of paper. Go learn a trade, join a union, and be done with this price gouging in the name of buying the university president a new BMW.

  102. 102
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    What if your high school math/science track was easy and you get into diff/eq first semester sophomore year and realize your brain won’t stretch to accommodate it? Or if you loved English and theater in high school but you’re finding out that you suck at acting and you’ve discovered a love of activism in your summer job? Or if you love cats and wanted to be a vet but found out in your internship that you HATE everything about veterinary surgery and could never actually work in that field?

    Well, I’ll reject the first issue. It’s not hard to find student to admit that are qualified, and if you can’t teach someone to do something, I blame your failure to teach rather than their capacity to learn. Yeah, there will be some that give up, but that will be a small number. Remember, teaching is our job here. About 1 student in 8 will blow up regardless of how well prepared they are. They get to college and go a little wild, or they have medical problems, or what have you. So if you are racking up an 88% retention rate, you shouldn’t be disappointed. You’ll never get much better than that.

    The latter two are perfectly valid issues. Most universities in the admissions process look to see if students have a sense of what they’re getting into. If you want to be a vet, have you volunteered or worked in a vet office, or a shelter? Do you have acting experience? Have you done your school plays, community theater, commercials, what have you? Those are almost as important as academics in many fields. It doesn’t matter if you flunk out of your major or decide you just don’t like it, you took a seat that another student could have had and then graduated, and that’s considered. So, institutions that can afford to be selective like this do so. But again, that’s part of my original argument – if you can’t afford to be at least minimally selective, it’s not fair to all involved to take students that you think will fail, and if you have demand elsewhere and can find students more likely to stay in the program, then they should be taken instead. But the harsh truth is that most institutions, at least most programs at most institutions, have no sense of what a successful student looks like and doesn’t have enough focus on retention. There’s a much bigger focus on managing the population, trying to manipulate the student population to match resources than the reverse. So, yeah, we’ll shove hundreds or thousands of students into areas that they don’t want to be in because we can’t figure out how to shift the money, faculty, facilities into areas that they do want to be in.

  103. 103
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I do, generally. It’s anecdotal, so don’t take this to Nate Silver or anything, but I went to a county meeting and then a larger meeting and then a labor council meeting and it’s not good.

    Frankly, I don’t think they’re reaching people. If I were running it I would drop “opportunity” and hammer “security”. People are scared. They’re right to be scared. They’re financially insecure. The idea that they’re ready to jump onto a “ladder of opportunity” is David Brooks and Tom Freidman. It’s a theme only financially secure people respond to.

    I honestly do not think pundits ever got how profound the financial crash was for people. They never got how scared people were. Our local economy, which is very auto-manufacturing centered, is doing much better but come on. Give them a break. They’re RECOVERING. Stop telling them to work harder or “retrain” or whatever the fuck this mishmash of “opportunity” is. They need a BREATHER, a safe harbor, not career advice. Just be on their side.

    The only bright spot is Republicans here are exhausted and dispirited too, but you know they vote no matter what, so Democrats have to be better at this.

  104. 104
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Cassidy: If you were in my class, you would have learned about the appropriate use of the subjunctive for hypothetical examples.

    But as long as you chose to go back to what you said to me, you asserted that if I were to help you to write a more coherent sentence in my freshman comp class, you would tell me to shut the fuck up and teach.

    Just so we’re clear about your hypothetical.

  105. 105
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I have this shorthand for wonky, all head no heart Democrats and it’s the earned income tax credit. There’s nothing wrong with the earned income tax credit, but it’s a poverty measure. No one is voting, ever, based on the earned income tax credit. It’s just not inspiring or compelling. It’s too remote.

    So I love Sherrod Brown but I’m cranky one day here after these political meetings and I pick up our local paper and he’s in there and he’s telling people to take advantage of the earned income tax credit. He’s a very good politician! I thought “dear God, that’s all Sherrod Brown has”.

    It was like my worst fears were realized :)

  106. 106
    Cassidy says:

    @Smiling Mortician: You’re funny. I’m using a small keyboard on my phone. I can fix that. I can move to the laptop, etc. You otoh, are still a small person, teaching a small class, doing your part to make sure people stay in debt their whole lives. You must be so proud. How much is that worth to you? An extra $5 a month? $10? Crushing debt and a worthless piece of paper all so you can buy two extra cups of coffee. Seems worth it to me.

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:


    Frankly, I don’t think they’re reaching people. If I were running it I would drop “opportunity” and hammer “security”. People are scared. They’re right to be scared. They’re financially insecure. The idea that they’re ready to jump onto a “ladder of opportunity”

    I wish someone could grab these people by their lapels and shout right into their faces that This. Is. Bullshit.

  108. 108
    🍀 Martin says:

    @efgoldman: Yeah, that shit wouldn’t fly with me. There is no fucking way I would run a program that couldn’t get every student out in 4 years, provided the student made reasonable decisions. It’s been 3 years since we had even a single student take 6 years to graduate.

    Not only is it bad for students, but it undermines the institution. Once you let students pile up in your program, you’re fucked. You’re now servicing more and more students and getting less and less out of it. Your goal needs to be to get them in and get them out on their schedule.

    @Cassidy: About 50% of our students are low income. About half are also first generation. They graduate with an average of $35K in debt and an average of $58K starting salary. 90% get jobs within 6 months. Compared to not going to college, that debt can be retired in 2 years. It’ll take you another 4 years to make up the income that you could have earned instead of going to school. So it’s all upside after that, and we hope the students have more enjoyable jobs as a result. That’s not uniform from discipline to discipline or school to school, but there’s a lot of no-brainers out here.

  109. 109
    Cacti says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Wonder if Ukraine’s allies will be ready when Putin’s armies march into Eastern Ukraine after turning Ukraine’s Redneck Riviera into hell on Earth?

    Looks like it’s already begun.

    The village of Strilkove, six miles beyond the Crimean border has been invaded and seized by troops, Russian gunships, and Russian armored vehicles.

    Vladolf Putin doesn’t appear to be content with the Sudetenland Crimea.

  110. 110
    Cassidy says:

    @Smiling Mortician: And yes, if you tried to be a condescending prick, I’d tell you to shut the fuck up and turn around. You’d do it to. You’d fume after I left and go home and think of witty shit to say later, but you’d still do it.

  111. 111
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: That’s way below you.

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    There is no fucking way I would run a program that couldn’t get every student out in 4 years, provided the student made reasonable decisions.

    Back in the days of yore, I had a hell of a time finishing my BS because they did not offer but one or so of the final few credits I needed every semester.
    So I got to pay the same baseline fees and then take 3 or 6 hours and get to pay more fees next semester, when I had the capacity to take 12 hours that one semester.

  113. 113
    raven says:

    @🍀 Martin: And the students who work while they go to school? What’s so magical about 4 years? It took my 9 to get my undergrad, got my masters at 40 and doc at 50 (GED at 17).

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @raven: No it isn’t. That is exactly the right level.

  115. 115
    Amir Khalid says:

    Off topic, sorry, but MH370 related.

    This is a map released at Najib’s Saturday briefing. The two red arcs shown are part of a circle at whose centre is the satellite last pinged by MH370 before all contact was finally lost. Only the distance from which MH370 pinged the satellite is known, so its location at that time could be anywhere along the circle on which those two arcs lie. The circle passes through the Gulf of Thailand, rather close (as these things go) to MH370’s intended flight path. There is a gap between the arcs at that point in the circle. I am not an expert, but I wonder if this is significant.

  116. 116
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I read the rationale. “Opportunity” is positive.

    But capacity for risk is a class issue. It’s an income issue. They don’t want any more risk, and that’s all “opportunity” sounds like to scared people. Also, maybe they could stop telling them they don’t work hard enough, and stop telling them “what employers need”?

    Employers will get what they need. They never fucking shut up, and they own the podium. I’m confident they’ll get everything they need. Let’s be on the side of the employees! How about that?

  117. 117
    raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: Good stuff. This topic has been on life support for a while.

  118. 118
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: I think people have been way past that for some number of years now. They don’t want opportunity, except for their kids. They want a pay check and a chance to look their kids in the eye each morning when they send them off to school.

  119. 119

    @Kay: If there is one thing where Obama administration has underperformed, that would be economics. The immediate pivot to austerity was stupid, economically and politically. It is not the 90s anymore. I am not sure that Hillary gets it either.

  120. 120
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    :” If there is one thing where Obama administration has underperformed, that would be education”

  121. 121
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: Sorry. I have zero empathy for people who will defend a system that’s rigged to pull as much money out of people as possible. It isn’t about providing education anymore. They’re no different than any corporation or bank that tries to figure out how to tack on as many fees as possible. At least the for profit colleges are up front about taking your money. They may provide a shot degree or certification, but they won’t try and justify the cost with some bullshit. Don’t get me wrong; fuck the for profit schools. If they all go under we’ve lost nothing. OTOH, I’m not going to pretend that colleges and universities are some sort of noble step up. It’s a fantasy.

  122. 122
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I will never, ever forget the kids’ toys piled up at the curb when they foreclosed. It was like they were everywhere I looked. They were staying in the houses because the idea was they would live rent free and then have some means to get something else when they got booted, but the whole family would fall apart while this was going on and they would end up bailing quickly. Ugh. Just so sad. I cannot handle all those Big Wheels I saw during the worst of it.

    This was a profound experience people had. It has to be reckoned with. No ladders right now. Ladders are risky.

  123. 123

    @raven: Then that would be two things, they should stop listening to Friedman and Brooks and their claptrap. I am waiting and watching what DeBlasio does in NYC.

  124. 124
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: Since I have obviously wasted my life, first as a baby killer now as a higher ed vampire,I may go kill myself right after this game. How is it being pure? Tell me quickly, there is only about 10 minutes left.

  125. 125
    Peter says:


    Sadly for your pathetic peabrain, if you actually look at the numbers, although University isn’t as solid an investment as it was twenty years ago, even with current huge student loans it still usually pays for itself fairly quickly and then is pure profit from then on. So in the long term you’re functionally being paid to enrich your mind for four years.

    That’s not to say that tuition rates haven’t bloated, or that that’s not an issue. Or that student debt isn’t a problem. Or that the job market doesn’t need improvement. But the idea that a Bachelor’s degree isn’t worth the price of admission, even in the current insane pricing climate, is simply not supported by the facts.

  126. 126
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: I wasn’t talking about you, but if the shoe fits, that’s your business. You can be offended if you like, but until the higher education system stops jacking up tuition for nothing and creating new ways to charge more money, I’ll continue to be critical.

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: EMOPROG FIREBAGGER!!

  128. 128
    Cassidy says:

    @Peter: You’ve got your talking points down, I’ll give you that.

  129. 129
    Cassidy says:

    Has it been 10 minutes yet?

  130. 130
    Peter says:


    Talking points from whom? Do you actually have an argument to make or – no, wait, I forgot who I was talking to.

  131. 131
    JoyfulA says:

    @Tyro: That sounds restrictive and boring. Of course, I’m the type who spent one weekend in a dormitory and refused to have anything further to do with regimented living.

    Luckily for the system and me, we’ll never meet again.

  132. 132
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: It would take a lot more than your nonsense to offend me. What I do makes a difference for people and that’s what I’m in it for. You can make your blanket generalizations all you want. Doesn’t mean shit to a tree.

  133. 133
    Cassidy says:

    Change of plans, Peter, you go kill yourself. Raven, you stick around.

  134. 134
    Citizen_X says:


    And yes, if you tried to be a condescending prick, I’d tell you to shut the fuck up and turn around. You’d do it to.

    Um, that’s “too.”

    If you’ve got a point, lay off the internet tough guy shit. Ain’t nothing more pathetic than that.

  135. 135
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: Sure.

  136. 136
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    OT: does anyone else find that #Crimea is starting to remind them of the end of Reconstruction? Complete with ballot box shenanigans, white hoods ultra-nationalist “defenders” and provocateurs, and white crosses being marked on Tatar households’ doors?

    If only Canada — or Germany — had marched into those Reconstructionist states and forced them to hold honest elections! Imagine how grateful our own American citizens would have been, to have this burden taken out of their hands!

    It’s a terrible situation, but I’m not seeing a way “our” interference on the ground is going to make that situation anything but worse.

  137. 137
    EriktheRed says:

    @Cassidy: @Cassidy:

    Attitudes like that are what make the current the GOP the charming party they are today.

  138. 138
    RSA says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    There is no fucking way I would run a program that couldn’t get every student out in 4 years, provided the student made reasonable decisions.

    The main program in my department is structured that way. We have a relatively small number of core courses, aside from those required by the college and the university; the lower-level courses are taught once a semester, the upper-level once a year.

    But there’s a lot that’s out of our control.

  139. 139
    Cassidy says:

    @Citizen_X: You’re boring and the grammar scold is a worn out schtick. Run along now.

  140. 140
    Dr. Loveless says:


    Wondercon, also too. It’s next month, but I believe there are still passes available. Similar to SDCC (run by the same people), but smaller, more comics-focused, and definitely lower-stress. Just a suggestion.

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cassidy: S/he may be boring, but you are being a boor.

  142. 142
    Cassidy says:

    @EriktheRed: Because I don’t like seeing lower class people scammed into renting books for a few dollars less than buying a new one or paying to live in forms they don’t need because they can live at home jus a few miles away? Not believing people should have to accumulate debt just for an education? So you’re cool with a system that punishes the poor for being poor, unless you can play football, but is nothing more than a 4 year networking conference for the rich? You got some fucked up priorities.

  143. 143

    @Cassidy: You can buy textbooks online from anywhere around the world and pay a fraction of what you would at the book store.

  144. 144
    karen says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    It’s a terrible situation, but I’m not seeing a way “our” interference on the ground is going to make that situation anything but worse.

    It’ll give John McCain a hard-on, isn’t that worth something?

  145. 145
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, still not all too concerned about the feelings of others. They’ll be awright.

    Remember kids, fuck the university scam. Go learn a trade, join a union, enjoy life.

  146. 146
    karen says:


    If you’re sick be sure to a doctor — oh wait a second, all college is a scam so maybe you should save yourself and self-medicate. After all, doctors aren’t real.

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cassidy: Learning a trade is a perfectly reasonable and respectable option. So is the academic route. Horses for courses.

  148. 148
    EriktheRed says:


    No, it’s the I-can-be-a-rude-dick-to-a-teacher-because-I’m-under-the-delusion-that-me-paying-tuition-makes-me-his-boss attitude.

    Like some other guy said, chances are you’d have your ass hauled out of class if you really did that and a lot of your fellow students would laugh at you, too.

  149. 149

    @karen: What about the world wide web too? Would that have happened in a vacuum?

  150. 150
    Peter says:

    @Cassidy: You know, if John wasn’t so lenient as a bloghost, that would likely be a banning offense. Food for thought.

  151. 151
    Tyro says:

    @JoyfulA: There are plenty of commuter colleges that can accommodate night classes, living off campus, etc. But if your curricula aren’t set up in such a way that a typical full time student can’t graduate in 4-5 years, then your school has structural problems.

    Maybe that sounds boring to you, but being stuck working odd jobs for 10 years while trying to figure out what I want to major in sounds boring to me. But that’s why we have commuter colleges and “colleges for working adults.” If a school advertises itself as a school for full-time study but most people drop out after two years and don’t come back or can’t get their requirements done for their major in 4-5 years because of bureaucratic difficulties while the schools keep taking your tuition money, applicants should know about that.

  152. 152

    The birth of the Web. Without which we wouldn’t be sharing cat pics or trading insults.


  153. 153
    EriktheRed says:


    Oh, and Cassidy?

    Try joining the Army and telling your Drill Sergeant he should just shut up and train you because your taxes pay his salary.

  154. 154
    scav says:

    @EriktheRed: Hey, it’s Cassidy’s go-to suduction technique. Gets him good-night kisses from the kiddies and his wife’s compliance afterwards. Got him a Boss of the Year coffee cup too!

  155. 155
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think you misunderstand. I have no criticism for people with an interest in academics and wish to pursue the knowledge and enter into that career field. I wish them all the luck in the world. I think their education should be free, personally. Everyone should be able to pursue higher education. They shouldn’t be locked out of it because the universities keep jacking up tuition and adding on fees. It’s not worth it. If advise any young man coming out of high school to apply to the apprentice program for their local trade union. They’ll make more money, have a good retirement, and not have to take out student loans to do it. Seriously, would you rather be a 23 y/o with a Bachelors working for tips at a steakhouse or 20 y/o apprentice at the local pipe fitters?

  156. 156
    RSA says:


    When I was at NCSU, 20 years ago, NCSU and UNC-Ch, lobbied to set tuition rates independently (ie higher)of the rest of the UNC System. The legislature allowed this to take effect the year after I graduated.

    I’m a professor at NCSU (I arrived after this happened), and I was on the Faculty Senate for a year, so I’ve heard about some of the issues.

    As @🍀 Martin writes, engineering students are more expensive to educate than in other fields, and that partly drives up costs. NCSU’s $8,206 a year is expensive for tuition, about 25% higher than some of the other campuses in the North Carolina system but it’s not outrageous, I think. We have a set of peer institutions (comparable and aspirational, though the latter term sounds funny to me–universities we wish were our peers) and NCSU’s tuition is lower than most of them. In fact, UNC and NCSU are #1 and #4 in the 2014 Princeton list of best university values.

  157. 157
    Cassidy says:

    @Peter: Go step in front of a bus.

    @EriktheRed: Go join him.

  158. 158
    🍀 Martin says:

    @raven: As I said:

    Your goal needs to be to get them in and get them out on their schedule.

    If your schedule is 9 years, that’s fine. The problem is that we present students with 4 year degrees, we show of the plan to graduate in 4 years, and then we don’t come through with the classes, or we don’t let them in when we do offer them, yet we still demand payment. That’s just wrong. Half the universities in this nation should have a class action suit filed against them on behalf of the graduating class for failure to satisfy that part of the deal. If UMass above wants to advertise the journalism program as a 6 year program and students still want to go, then fine. But if they advertise it as a 4 year program and then only offer courses in a manner that takes 6 years, they deserve to be sued.

  159. 159
    opiejeanne says:

    @🍀 Martin: My son was set to graduate in 1992, needed only 8 credits and that spring quarter he could not get into one of the classes, one that he’d been trying take every quarter since his freshman year. They had dropped seniority registration at some point so he tried again the following fall quarter and still didn’t get in. That was the year that this was suddenly a problem with all of the Cal States, seniors who were done with all but one single class.

    He tried again in the winter and when that failed he never bothered to finish after that. So, he’s 4 units shy of a BFA, and it was some basic Freshman class other than English 101.

  160. 160
    Kay says:


    Clearly you are a dangerous radical.

    I would rework the whole thing. State candidates are better positioned to talk about these issues, these practical things. Also, people hate Congress. They always do, but they hate them more right now.

    So focus on the states, get Democrats out for state candidates or state issues, and hopefully they can drag along the federal candidates. What is so wrong with this, other than it being horribly insulting to Congressional candidates? They have to put ego aside and accept help :)

  161. 161
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cassidy: I know which choice I would make and it would not be the one you are advising. But that’s me.

    Also, let’s just say that your respect for higher education was not particularly evident throughout this thread.

  162. 162
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t respect the system, obviously. If you’re gonna defend it as some sort of noble pursuit or try and justify the nickel and diming, I’ll call ya an asshole. Higher education is a broken system. I’m not going to treat it as some sort of respectable institution because it creates half-assed lies to cover up it’s increases in price.

  163. 163
    gene108 says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Not sure why that was directed at me, since my only argument was that I do indeed provide a useful social benefit when I help students learn how to write clearly.

    Cassidy is on some rant about higher education – traditional and for-profit – being a rip-off. You said traditional higher education is not a rip-off. I generally agree, but I think there’s more to the spike in tuition over the last 30 years than states cutting funding.

    Even before the Great Recession hit, you had universities looking to ramp up tuition. Some of the arguments are to pay professors more to retain top talent, while part of it is to have better facilities, such as dorm rooms.

    I can understand the need for some capital upgrades like projectors, wi-fi connections, etc. throughout campus buildings, but it seems some of the expansion is done purely on the basis of what can get the “most bang for the buck” with regards to increasing tuition paying students, with the least overhead costs involved.

    I think the time is going to come very soon, when traditional universities are going to have to account for the need to constantly raise tuition. I do not think traditional universities – public and private – are entirely innocent of the fiscal problems caused by the cost of higher education and not everything can be laid at the feet of state governments cutting funding.

  164. 164
    gene108 says:


    My brother went to UNC-Ch from 1988 to 1992. Mom paid around $700 / semester for full time undergraduate tuition.

    I went to NCSU from 1992-1996. Tuition got bumped to $800/semester my sophomore year for full-time undergraduate education.

    This does not count fees like lab fees, computer lab fees, etc., which may have been up to $200 (I can’t remember exactly).

    The year after I left, NCSU and UNC got to bump their tuition up to $1200/semester.

    Like you stated, it’s $4100/semester now about 5-6 times more expensive than mom paid for me and my brother.

    Per this CPI Inflation calculator $800 in 1994 is about $1262 in 2014.

    I agree UNC and NCSU are still very good values for the money, but why has tuition risen 3-4 times faster than inflation over the last 20 years?

    We really need to see what the factors affecting this are because it really is an issue, in my opinion, that seems to be glossed.

  165. 165
    gene108 says:


    All of this comes as no surprise, given the rising cost of higher education. Between 2001-2010, fees for undergraduate tuition, room and board at public universities, rose by 42% nationwide while prices at private not-for-profit schools rose 31%, after adjusting for inflation. In fact, college tuition costs have risen faster than inflation every year since 1981.

    Prof gives a theory of why college tuition is rising so much faster than inflation over the last 30+ years.

    It’s not entirely linked to state funding.

    That’s all I’m trying to say.

    State budget cuts do impact tuition, but the correlation of $1 in budget cuts = $1 in tuition increases does not exist or else tuition would not have increased as much as it has. Other factors are causing the rise in tuition.

  166. 166
    RSA says:

    @gene108: Thanks for the data. That’s an enormous increase in tuition, once you put it in perspective.

    I agree UNC and NCSU are still very good values for the money, but why has tuition risen 3-4 times faster than inflation over the last 20 years? We really need to see what the factors affecting this are because it really is an issue, in my opinion, that seems to be glossed.

    I agree, figuring out those issues is important. Even though I’m on this inside, to some extent, I have no idea. The average professor isn’t making a huge salary (and a four-year freeze ended just last year, if I remember correctly, when people were given one-year COL increases); our department has lost staff; we’re always squeezed for research and classroom space. It’s a mystery to me.

  167. 167
    TerryC says:

    @🍀 Martin: Want to write for my journal, Planning for Higher Education? We should talk.

  168. 168
    🍀 Martin says:

    @gene108: Universities are in a difficult spot. The state doesn’t provide adequate funding to support a quality education in many cases. They also don’t allow institution to raise fees to compensate. So universities increasing turn to ‘other revenue sources’. Most top public universities get no more than 10% of their funding from the state. So, universities are investing in all sorts of other things – from initiatives to boost research (which generates grant money which can be used to support graduate students and some instructional facilities, though that’s difficult and limited.) Sports is another revenue stream – and some universities do make money off of their athletics programs (I still don’t support that, though), and public/private partnerships, camps, and so on.

    I think most of these efforts are misguided. They’re going in too many directions at once, and the administration can’t possibly execute competently on all fronts, and we find that they often don’t. Either there is corruption in the sports programs, or the things they thought would bring in revenue turns out not to, often because of a lack of expertise. Faculty are spread too thin across diverse goals. Staff are too few in the programs that aren’t losing money, and the ones that are adequately staffed are often only viable assuming never-ending growth.

    Other problems plaguing institutions are unproductive faculty that the institution is unwilling to address, and difficulty balancing resources because if that student demand shift from one program to another – the institution won’t eliminate positions so they need to add positions they can’t now afford. There are capital challenges related to these. One of the biggest problems the CalStates faced was they built into a model of relatively small class sizes and therefore built a lot of smaller classrooms but not many big ones. When that model broke down, it wasn’t an unwillingness to teach larger courses, but a lack of rooms to put students into and no money to address that. It’s not like you can sell your small classrooms for cash.

    In-room technology is not a significant cost. It’s fixed and even a really nicely set up room, including a two motion tracking camera lecture capture system is maybe $75K per room, and a big university might have 40 such rooms to set up with that. $3M gets you cutting edge technology across the institution. A single lecture hall will cost more than that to build. Hell, a single chemistry lab with vent hoods and all safety features will cost you half a million. The in-room technology can help you address a lot of other problems if the institution uses it well. The lecture capture allows you to get those dozen students trying to graduate into an otherwise full class.

    Honestly, our biggest fiscal challenge has been health insurance. The faculty don’t want their benefits cut so we have high-cost plans that the administration has been slowly weakening, but not as quickly as costs are rising. Costs for our faculty/staff health insurance has been climbing at a rate of about $300 per student per year. Those costs don’t all go on students, but a lot of it does. The rest should come off of the overhead from grants, but most schools traditionally low-ball that to make their grant apps more competitive. That behavior causes institutions to shift the costs to students. The feds could help with this by raising the minimum overhead a school can declare, basically conceding that overhead costs are higher than schools are claiming (because they are). A 2.5% increase in overhead would recover probably $5M a year to most mid-tier publics. That might also encourage additional administration hiring, so it’s not necessarily a solution.

    We’ll see how ACA helps that. That probably will also vary a great deal by state.

  169. 169
    🍀 Martin says:

    @TerryC: Yeah, I’d consider that.

  170. 170
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Thread’s dead, I think, but anyway:


    You said traditional higher education is not a rip-off.

    No, I didn’t. My only argument was that I provide a social benefit when I teach. I said this in response to Cassidy’s claim that higher ed is a scam that pretends to have a social benefit. The rest of the argument that you attribute to me (essentially a defense of higher ed in general as a non-ripoff) was nowhere in either my comment or my thoughts.

  171. 171
    karen says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    You missed my sarcasm?

  172. 172
    KS in MA says:

    @Smiling Mortician: I would love to know how to get your book when it comes out. Be sure to let us know!

  173. 173
    Tripod says:

    We tend to hire out of ITT, Devry type puppy mills, if only because they’re the only candidates who have basic, practical, entry level IT skills. They don’t have good things to say about the schools, but there you are.

  174. 174

    @karen: Oops, my bad, that should have been addressed to Cassidy, not you.

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