September 2010

  • University of Florida Considers a Flat Tuition Plan

    Barry Lenson

    Over the last few months, this blog has been asking how colleges can expect to attract students when they charge a sultan’s treasure for tuition each year.   America’s state colleges and universities are starting to get worried about that problem too. That could explain why the University of Florida has just announced that it is considering charging students a flat tuition fee that would let them earn 15 or more credit hours every year without paying additional fees. (Currently students pay by credit hour at most state and community colleges, with most students now taking about 12 credit hours a year.) A flat tuition structure would allow students to take more courses, earn more credits, and graduate earlier. This structure ...

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  • Paying for College or a New Corvette - You Decide

    Barry Lenson

    “As the father of a student at Kenyon College told me, `it’s like driving a new Corvette to Ohio every September, leaving the keys and taking the bus home.’” – Froma Harrop writing on the Dallas News blog In a new post on the Dallas News blog, reporter Froma Harrop writes that American colleges are charging more and delivering less. Here’s what she has to say . . . The cost of state schools has grown six times faster than American incomes. The median income of Americans has grown 6.5 times in the past 40 years, but the cost of attending an in-state college has ballooned 15 times. Example: Tuition at the University of Illinois has increased by a factor of six since 1980, and is now $13,658 for in-state re ...

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  • Come to My Laboratory!

    Barry Lenson

    In classic movies like “Frankenstein” and “Young Frankenstein,” laboratories are shown as dark places where lightning bolts fly, test tubes bubble, and unspeakable deeds are done. Brain transplants are the first deed that comes to mind. For lots of college students, laboratories are just about that terrifying too.  On the first day of college, students are told that in order to graduate they need to complete not just a science course, but a science course that includes a “laboratory requirement.”  So off the students go to the lab, where they mix solutions (chemistry), dissect animals (biology) and train white rats to request food pellets by jumping up and down on levers (psychology).  Brain transplants don’t usually hap ...

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  • Canadian Higher Education is Different, Eh?

    Barry Lenson

    I just got back from five days in Canada, where I went to college some years back. While I was there, I ponied up $10 for the latest edition of MacLean Magazine’s latest Guide to Canadian Colleges and Universities. It lists dozens and dozens of colleges and universities that we Americans know very little about. Many of those schools look about the same as their American counterparts. There are big, famous universities that educate tens of thousands of students – places like McGill and the University of Toronto. There are also universities like Queens, which look like a big American state school. Then there are lots of colleges that look just like smaller American liberal arts colleges. But if you read the fine print in the MacLean ...

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  • $120,000 . . . $177,000 . . . Tales of Staggering College Debt

    Barry Lenson

    Majoring in Debt, hosted by The Huffington Post, is a blog where students write about the staggering debt that they have taken on to pay for their college educations. To date, about 100 students have logged on and told their stories. Stories like these . . . Jennifer Dessinger, who is $177,250 in debt, was the first person from her family to attend college. “I applied for all grants and scholarships that I was eligible for and did benefit from a few,” she writes on Majoring in Debt. “I maxed out my federal loan limit early on and then began taking out private loans.” Then she charged all her final-semester costs to a credit card. She is hoping to start a career as a photographer, but worries that her income won’t cover her $ ...

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