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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    Some of the differences would be graduation rates (Phoenix has a VERY low completion rate), and also the rigor of the work. (Kaplan is not very rigorous; my mom's hospital will no longer accept nursing precepts from them because they are TERRIBLE and lack some of the most basic skills.)
    Kaplan is dead; it just hasn't been called yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    The thought of paying $50,000 a year or starting life with a 6-figure student loan debt baffles me. How can a university education be that expensive? What are people paying for?
    In most countries, university education is tax supported. When you talk about that kind of tuition in the US, you are talking about a private university, which means that the university is not tax supported. I don't think there are any tax-supported institutions that cost that much here. State schools (which are tax supported) cost considerably less than private schools. Most student pay nowhere near $50K a year and, with very few exceptions, the only people who have six figure debt are graduate and professional school students, not your typical undergraduate.

    So that is one issue--students are paying a much higher tuition rate because they are paying all of the actual cost of their schooling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    A regular university has to make money to support itself. Professors need to be paid, or else they will go elsewhere (in most cases academia still pays less than industry though), so some are paid highly.
    And some have great retirement packages as well, which also must be paid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    The best universities are not just ones that educate students but also generate and publish new research.
    I think some teaching universities would disagree with that assessment

    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    In years past, states greatly funded their public universities. A lot of this funding has been cut, so the difference has had to come from tuition payments.
    This is definitely an issue.

    Administrative costs are also on the rise in a lot of institutions. There is much about this in academia, but at least some of that added adminstration cost is coming from demands for accountability and bean counting. Ten years ago, I had only the vaguest idea of what my school's statistics were; now, there are at least three offices devoted to various assessments that have to be done (I teach at a state school, which is affected by this more than a private school would be). The generation of statistics about pretty much everything except the number of dust particles in the ventilation system is a booming business. The state demands that we answer for the money we spend, then complains that we are spending money to provide that justification. .
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I live in a country where no university charges the sort of tuition universities do in the US, even the public ones, so excuse me if the difference isn't so clear to me. My understanding is that 1. there are universities with endowments that could more than cover the cost of tuition for every student on campus, but charge very high tuition nonetheless...
    In many foreign countries, the government of that country heavily subsidizes the country's universities. That is not the case in the US. In the US, there are public universities, which receive some support from their state governments, and private unis, which are self-supporting. The public unis do not receive the level of financial support from their state governments as many foreign unis do from their country's governments.

    What this means, in the end, is that in a lot of foreign countries, uni tuition is much cheaper than it is in the US, because their unis are subsidized by the country's government - money obtained via taxes. In some countries, tuition (and sometimes even other fees) are 100% funded by the government, making uni education free.

    The US unis that charge $50k per year tend to be either private unis (self supporting), or public unis charging that amount only to students who are not from their state. These public unis would give a lower, in-state rate to residents of their state.

    Wealthy unis with large endowments, such as Harvard, use those endowments to provide financial aid to students who have financial need. They give aid based on family income. So very wealthy students at such unis pay the full charge, but the reality is that the majority of students there would receive at least some financial aid. So that $50k+ is their sticker price. That's not the price most people actually pay.

    Most US university students do not pay $50k per year to go to uni. Most pay much less. The average student loan debt for a bachelors degree in the US is about $27k, total, for all four years of school.
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  3. #23

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    Many US universities also provide a ridiculously very high level of amenities to students, more than is found in many other countries. That also contributes to the higher tuition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    And some have great retirement packages as well, which also must be paid.



    I think some teaching universities would disagree with that assessment
    I think the great retirement packages are a lot less common than they used to be though. But yeah, the ones offered in years past still have to be paid.

    I'm not saying there are no great teaching universities, I'm just saying that research is a huge function of a university. It would be a massive mistake to shift all of that to for-profit companies, because so many things that need to be worked on wouldn't be, because they don't make money. My husband's PhD was on antibiotic resistance, this is a huge topic in academia, and an issue that has to be solved. Most pharmacetical companies aren't touching antibiotics because they aren't where the money is. (That said- when I think of 'rankings', the universities consistently on the top aren't teaching universities.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    It would be a massive mistake to shift all of that to for-profit companies, because so many things that need to be worked on wouldn't be, because they don't make money. My husband's PhD was on antibiotic resistance, this is a huge topic in academia, and an issue that has to be solved. Most pharmacetical companies aren't touching antibiotics because they aren't where the money is.
    That's true, but it's also a rather murky area, as a lot of university research is funded by grants (often from industry) and not by tuition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    (That said- when I think of 'rankings', the universities consistently on the top aren't teaching universities.)
    Rankings are only partially related to the quality of teaching, so that's not surprising.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I'm not saying there are no great teaching universities, I'm just saying that research is a huge function of a university. It would be a massive mistake to shift all of that to for-profit companies, because so many things that need to be worked on wouldn't be, because they don't make money. My husband's PhD was on antibiotic resistance, this is a huge topic in academia, and an issue that has to be solved. Most pharmacetical companies aren't touching antibiotics because they aren't where the money is. (That said- when I think of 'rankings', the universities consistently on the top aren't teaching universities.)
    Research is a major function of a research university. But liberal arts colleges do not primarily focus on research, and a lot of LACs are truly great, by any definition of that word, including reputation. There's space in the world for both - they just have two different missions.

    Like you, I can't imagine the world of research without research unis in it. As for for-profit unis and research, which you'd mentioned - the U of P is making some (minor, IMO) inroads into establishing some researchiness in their culture. But thing is, 99.99999999% of their faculty are adjuncts, and 99.9995 of them teach online only*, so IMO, it's not a fit.


    *Deliberate exaggeration. I do not know the actual stats, and can't be bothered to look them up , but know that the percentage is very high.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Wealthy unis with large endowments, such as Harvard, use those endowments to provide financial aid to students who have financial need.
    Nah, the "private" universities find every possible tax-nipple and suck as hard as they can, whether it's by Pell Grants and government-subsidized student loans, Vocational Rehabilitation and GI vouchers, federal and state research grants, government subsidies, government employee tuition programs, and a host of other tax-paid programs. The average subsidy per student at Harvard and Yale is $13,000 per student per year before subsidized student financial aid, which is often going to be higher per student because of the higher tuition, is even factored in.
    Last edited by heckles; 03-01-2013 at 09:36 PM.

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    At a research university, researchers are generally expected to be able to raise funds to support their research, and only limited internal sources of support is available. On top of that, universities generally take somewhere around 50-60% of those external research funds as overhead. This isn't true everywhere of course (e.g., it doesn't apply in most business schools) but in science (which presumably is where antibiotic research falls) it would certainly apply.
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    Yeah, I'm not sure where the idea arose that universities are funding all this research. It's faculty members writing grants that funds research. Part of what is factored into faculty promotions is the ability to raise grant money.

    Top tier research institutions are paying very high faculty salaries, ridiculously high administrative costs, very high retirement/pension plans (which typically means about 50-80% of one's highest salary paid in perpetuity on top of full medical benefits and sometimes housing). Also, a not uncommon perk is all tuition costs for children of faculty and staff are paid--regardless of where the children study (applies only to US institutions). That's for top-tier universities, but even lower-tier institutions will provide tuition discounts (sometimes free tuition) to children of faculty members if they study at that institution.

    So when you look at the costs of a research institution, they are invariably quite high. Endowments are lump sums of money that are invested, and whose investment returns are used to fund salaries and/or student aid. You are never supposed to spend the actual endowment because then you have nothing from which to receive interest over the long-haul. So just because an endowment is large doesn't mean those monies can be used to fully pay for students' tuitions. Rather, it's an investment pot from which interest can be generated to pay for certain things. Once you spend the endowment, the school will likely face imminent closure. That's how it works when you don't have the government substantially subsidizing higher education.

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    The for-profit university sector is notorious for:
    -Admitting unqualified students (for example, students in a medical assistant program who had basic literacy issues)
    -Touting high paying careers that graduates from their programs are remarkably unlikely to ever achieve (fashion design is a favorite)
    -Encouraging students to take out large student loans
    -Keeping students who want out of the program on the roster just long enough to suck their student loans for that semester
    -Telling students that their credits will transfer to other colleges
    -Flat out lying about job prospects & alumni placement records
    -Not disclosing what percentage of students who start a program actually finish that program
    -Having programs that require practical experience where they don't have slots lined up with appropriate placements (nursing, for example) or having programs that don't meet the qualifications necessary for the students to sit for licensing exams
    and sometimes not even having qualified teachers.

    They are -- too often -- a pimple on the a** of higher education, and they target lower income students & returning vets. Pretty much with the exception of one program in our area that trains A&P mechanics, I don't trust them at all.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure where the idea arose that universities are funding all this research. It's faculty members writing grants that funds research.
    While that is true, the university does provide facilities (the overhead is paid for, but the facilities are provided ) and cheap or free labor in the form of students, who often have tuition waivers and stipends. I don't know how the financing there works for everyone, but I had a tuition waiver and stipend that was paid for by someone--and it wasn't a research grant. They also often supply admin support and grant writing services.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    they target lower income students & returning vets.
    Very true

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    -Not disclosing what percentage of students who start a program actually finish that program
    That one is a problem, but not just at for-profit institutions .
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    That one is a problem, but not just at for-profit institutions .
    Absolutely true...but shocking still to see the number of students who drop out of the for-profit college programs within six weeks of starting them. Loaded up with a whole lot of debt at that point.

    I really consider them as only a step or two above payday lenders, and I'm sorry that the feds haven't stuck to their guns and refused to allow further federal loans and loan guarantees to programs with abysmal records. The students that they suck in are much more likely to be low-income students, often (probably usually from what I've seen) who don't have parents that went to college.

    Just this past weekend I spoke about college to a group of parents from three low-income school districts (courtesy of three Spanish-language translators) and like most other parents I've worked with, they really want their kids to have get the college degrees they perhaps weren't able to get. And I got asked -- twice -- about the (for profit) college whose representatives are calling their homes to encourage them to send their kids to these programs, and encouraging them to take on Parent Plus loans to pay the cost. One parent told me afterwards that the admissions officer suggested that her daughter take the GED instead of graduating next fall so that she could start the program sooner.

    For a lot of students, the alternative is community college, and while they're not perfect, I can't tell you the last person I met who ran up a lot of debt finishing a community college program or certificate. Maybe that isn't true in other areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    For a lot of students, the alternative is community college, and while they're not perfect, I can't tell you the last person I met who ran up a lot of debt finishing a community college program or certificate. Maybe that isn't true in other areas.
    That's true. However, the success rate for most community colleges isn't much better than the success rate for for-profit schools, although that is deceptive because of the way success rates are calculated.

    The primary reason that students go to for-profits instead of CCs is time--CCs require placement testing and (if necessary, and it nearly always is with this population) remedial classes, and then there are often waiting lists for the programs that are most likely to lead to jobs that pay good wages. It takes the average community college student seven years to get that two-year degree. The longer it takes a student to complete a degree, the less likely it is that student will finish said degree.

    Why wouldn't students be tempted by a school that tells them that they can take out a few loans and get the "same" degree in two years or a better one in four? Students in general don't know much about college; first-generation students can't rely on their parents to help them; poor school districts don't have the resources and sometimes don't even try. I am related to people who have gone the for-profit route; they think I am crazy when I tell them the degree isn't the same because they think it's all about having a piece of paper. I can't tell them anyting. And in the end, the point is moot because none of them finish anyway.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    For a lot of students, the alternative is community college, and while they're not perfect, I can't tell you the last person I met who ran up a lot of debt finishing a community college program or certificate. Maybe that isn't true in other areas.
    One of my first jobs out of college was teaching at some fly-by-night "trade" school who only existed to get money out of some government program. I was teaching FORTRAN and at first I was told the kids would only be able to visit the computer lab (off campus) one time a week. I wasn't happy about this but I figured I could make it work. Then, when I got there, I was told they could only afford to send them to the lab one time a MONTH.

    No one can learn how to program computers only using a computer once a month during a 6 month class!

    I quit that job and spent my last day giving a lecture on how much cheaper it was to go to the local community college and how to apply. I could tell the students were unconvinced and scared to death at the idea of going to a "real" college and that they were doing this program because some social worker had signed them up for it and therefore there was no fear involved.

    It was really sad.
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    I am actually thinking of using an online MBA program, I'm looking around. But trying to go with one that is either with a regular school or West Governor's University which is a non for profit. My job provides some generous education assistance so I'm thinking I should use it...
    Last edited by bek; 03-02-2013 at 12:33 PM.

  18. #38

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    Do online courses require the huge amt of reading that brick & mortar colleges do? And do they tailor classes to the average working adult? I know online courses are convenient, cheaper, & self-paced, but do you actually get a higher education? Is there no value to the classroom experience of professor's lectures & student participation?
    Last edited by taf2002; 03-02-2013 at 03:00 PM.

  19. #39
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    There's not a lot of partying.
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    I don't know. Some of the teachers at my school who are taking online classes still do a lot of partying.....

    That said, the standard class format appears to be something like: read this article (which can be really long, but not always), post on Blackboard (or other discussion board) and interact with classmates, and write a short paper. Rinse, repeat. Sometimes, the professor posts a lecture or powerpoint online, and the students watch/read that. And there might be a research paper.

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