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posted by n1 on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-dont-need-no-education dept.

Bloomberg reports:

Dozens of schools have seen drops of more than 10 percent in enrollment, according to Moody's. As faculty and staff have been cut and programs closed, some students have faced a choice between transferring or finishing degrees that may have diminished value.

The number of private four-year colleges that have closed or were acquired doubled from about five a year before 2008 to about 10 in the four years through 2011, according to a study last year by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, citing federal data.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has predicted that as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years.

Soaring student debt, competition from online programs and poor job prospects for graduates are cited as the main causes.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cmn32480 on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:19PM

    by cmn32480 (443) <> on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:19PM (#31935) Journal

    Both as a nation and for many individuals, crummy economy with minimal wage growth for the middle class, and they wonder why the continually increasing costs of a 4 year university are driving people away?

    Given the trend in tuition costs, I'm not sure I won't be telling my kids (who are all 6 and under) that they will need to either go into the military and get GI Bill assistance (or a military academy) or go to a 2 year school and transfer to a four year school for the last 2 years. The costs of college, even a state school, are absolutely unreal these days, and by the time my kids get old enough to go, it will be quite unaffordable unless I hit the lottery.

    "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:27PM (#31939)

      You can thank Obama for that. That's the price of socialized education teaching only leftist buffoonery.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:38PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:38PM (#31947)

      "or go to a 2 year school and transfer to a four year school for the last 2 years."

      Be careful and research this fully or you'll get stuck taking Calculus twice, like happened to me. And no I couldn't test out of it because I was already maxing out my CLEP tests (and I'm not taking sociology elective again, thats for sure). And if it isn't in writing in detail, then it doesn't exist.

      I also took calc in high school as some "accelerated math" program BS so I ended up taking it three times. Gets pretty easy the third time around. Kind of an impedance bump when I crashed into diffeqs at full slack ahead.

      Perhaps the upcoming crash in the higher ed vocational training ripoff system will fix this weird problem. I'd love to see a national curriculum for the common liberal arts 101 type classes so victims only have to take "American History, pre civil war" one time. Or maybe the entire system will be blown away, which would be a shame.

      I always thought programming and sysadmin stuff is best taught by apprenticeship anyway, both when I was younger and now older.

      • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:42PM (#31953)

        I always thought programming and sysadmin stuff is best taught by apprenticeship anyway, both when I was younger and now older.

        Sure if the goal is nothing but mindless code monkeys.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:54PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:54PM (#31962)

          Well, frankly you need about 10 of them for every architect, etc. Don't build a bridge by hiring 10 civil engineers, you get one civeng and 9 shovel operators...

          Aside from that I know from personal experience working side by side that at least locally electricians apprentices as part of their apprenticeship need to pass some fairly rigorous tests in classrooms. Light on the math and generally pretty heavy on qualitative / conceptual stuff.

          I could see some kind of requirement like completing a "programmer apprenticeship" requires successful completion of some MOOC courses for algos / automata / AI and that type of thing. Assuming that memorizing the proof of 3SAT being in NP makes you a "better" programmer, which is highly debatable. (although at least having heard of a DFA or PDA is probably a plus)

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:48PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:48PM (#31983) Homepage

        Got an A.S. in computer science, but stuck in one area due to industry and a decent job I don't want to leave. Applied to get into one state school closeby, rejected because I was just outside of their "priority area." Will likely be rejected admission to the other due to a ridiculous rule that all transferable credits must be from the local "priority area," and that school is extremely popular. My fingers are still crossed awaiting my last option. Keep in mind "priority area" is a list of schools graduated/transferring from, you can't just lie on your application and say that you live there.

        So as it stands, I have a specialized A.S. degree I have obviously completed, a hunger for higher education, experience in industry (but no opportunity for meaningful promotion because bachelor's degrees are now required for professional positions), and ability to pay because my employer offers tuition reimbursement.

        Despite all that, supply here in California far exceeds demand not only because of budget cuts but everybody else and their mom wants to go to school here in California, and foreign and out-of-state students bring in much more tuition money, so it's much more competitive. And still, as far as getting in to finish that degree, I'm at the end of my rope but hopefully not shut-out for good.

        Learning those lessons, my last "Hail-Mary" was to write a letter of concern stating my fear of being shut out, and including the awards won at work and other things -- Basically begging in the most professional way possible. Not to mention that I applied as a Hispanic instead of White this time around, haha. Nobody with the aptitude, experience, and resources to finish college should have to beg to get into a garden-variety state-school.

        Not everybody neatly follows the "get school done early" path in life, the only difference is now it is much more difficult, especially since admissions staff are sticklers for bullshit technicalities unless you know somebody.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18 2014, @03:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18 2014, @03:08PM (#44882)

        eqmyE3 []

    • (Score: 2) by Koen on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:32PM

      by Koen (427) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:32PM (#31977)

      I am instructor at a college, outside of the US but with a lot of American students.

      Be careful about that GI Bill advise: I have some students who did that. They have to wait a *very* long time for their money, buying pizzas on their credit card to survive, having the college accountant reminding them that the fee needs to be paid (we know about the situation and we know the money will come in eventually, so we don't really hassle them) and borrowing money from their friends to take the bus. Also, some of them were damaged in Afghanistan.

      /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
      • (Score: 2) by zafiro17 on Tuesday April 22 2014, @05:24PM

        by zafiro17 (234) on Tuesday April 22 2014, @05:24PM (#34460) Homepage

        If you're buying pizza on your credit card, you don't know sh*t about managing your money. Spend the same amount of money buying rice and fish and vegetables and not only will you save a ton of money but you'll be healthier too. Ridiculous.

        Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @09:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @09:06PM (#31999)

      Average cost of an in-state public school is $9,000. You ought to be able to afford to pay cash for four years of that by putting away a hundred bucks a month, starting when they are born.

      • (Score: 1) by urza9814 on Wednesday April 16 2014, @12:44AM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday April 16 2014, @12:44AM (#32096) Journal

        Penn State University has increased tuition by 25% over the past 5 years.

        At that rate, the school that was $9,000/semester when you started saving is going to be over $20,000/semester by the time they finally start attending.

        Eventually this bubble has to crash, although the fact that student loans are the only type of debt you can never discharge, even in bankruptcy, makes that a bit difficult. The government even takes peoples' social security checks to pay for it (which is illegal for any other debt). Hopefully this news is the beginning of the end.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bryan on Wednesday April 16 2014, @01:01AM

        by bryan (29) <> on Wednesday April 16 2014, @01:01AM (#32103) Homepage Journal

        Indeed, in-state public schools are far cheaper than out-of-state or private schools. But, above all, I hate this widespread idea of parents paying for their child's college. My parents made it pretty clear to me at an early age that they would not help me financially in college, or purchasing a car, or whatever.

        Did that mean that I had to spend all my free time in high school and between classes in college earning money at a real job? Did that mean that I consumed a lot of those 10 cent ramen noodle packets during my university years? Did that mean that I couldn't afford many of the textbooks for the classes I took, and so I borrowed other classmate's books? Did that mean I drove a clunker vehicle for a long time? Yes to all.

        But it didn't cost my parents anything. And I never needed to take out a student loan. And yet the process is still very doable for anyone that isn't lazy and expecting a free ride.

        • (Score: 2) by velex on Wednesday April 16 2014, @10:10PM

          by velex (2068) on Wednesday April 16 2014, @10:10PM (#32448) Journal

          How do you afford college without loans when making somewhere around $1k per month after taxes...

          Oh, this was back when ramen was only 10 cents per pack.

          Yes, back then it was entirely possible.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:53AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:53AM (#32939)

            $1k per month? Are you flipping burgers / digging ditches at minimum wage? Get a real job that requires a brain and actually pays well.

          • (Score: 2) by zafiro17 on Tuesday April 22 2014, @05:18PM

            by zafiro17 (234) on Tuesday April 22 2014, @05:18PM (#34458) Homepage

            Hey man, the world needs ditchdiggers too, then. I'm with Bryan on this one: it's about choices. How many families boo-hooing they can't pay for college education are making two car payments and have a top-flight cable package at their home? I know there are families struggling to make it and that's a real concern with serious repercussions for national economies on the whole, but poor people with determination prove time and time again that dedication to your goal is the hardest part of it. The day of the free lunch ended long ago. You need to sacrifice, make good choices, live within your means, scrimp, and so on. I came out with no student loans either but I bust my ass beforehand to make sure I had some money, and chose a school that didn't require tons of cash. You want to go to Harvard and do a PhD in 13th century Central Asian art history? Good for you, but don't come crying into your beer from your job at the insurance agency afterward. Wanted to go to school but never got around to saving that much? Hey pal, life is full of winners and losers now, isn't it. I started saving for my kids' college education a year before they were born, am trying to add to that fund aggressively even if it means I don't get to do other things that cost money, and I'm busting ass to make sure college is possible. That's my goal, and meeting it means sacrificing other stuff, including TV. Think you can handle that?

            Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
            • (Score: 2) by velex on Tuesday April 22 2014, @11:31PM

              by velex (2068) on Tuesday April 22 2014, @11:31PM (#34642) Journal

              Think you can handle that?

              I keep telling myself I'm going to get myself a four year degree one of these days, but I seem to make good money for where I live without one. It's looking like I'll be able to do the first two years' worth of classes at the community college. I'm sort of saving it for when I'm ready to change my professional identity to a female one so that college can act as an easy way to legitimize a new identity.

              I still find it doubtful that unless one is living with one's parents, it's possible to complete a four year degree in four or five years these days on minimum wage. Perhaps eight years or a decade. Then again, I've never made minimum wage in my life.

              The subtle point I was attempting to make is that things have changed. I remember when ramen was 10 cents a pack. In fact, I remember there used to be a lot more flavors. Tomato was my favorite. But as anyone who has lived off ramen knows, one doesn't necessarily even use the flavor pack to make a tasty bowl of noodles.

              Also, your point about the world needing ditch diggers is quite valid. However, it almost seemed as though you were assuming I was still working fast food and that you were attempting to inspire me to get a real job. I have a quite stable programming job already with benefits, but thanks for the offer.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lagg on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:44PM

    by Lagg (105) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:44PM (#31954) Homepage Journal

    Colleges are now actively trying to scam prospective students. When I tried to go back to finish my degree (I wanted to pursue my career and self-teaching is superior so didn't completely finish even though I probably do qualify for a degree at this point) I got a grant because I'm everything but wealthy. The grant was barely enough for classes and if I didn't use newegg I'd have to foot the book bill myself. They do this on purpose to give you just barely enough for course costs. Then they send you spam about loans.

    That combined with the sheer tedium and frustration at stupid professors I gave up once again. I'm not a genius or a special snowflake but I'm tired of sitting through courses watching completely wrong material spewed out for topics I already have years of experience in. This, combined with the fact that degrees are becoming less important to companies that matter (they've learned to look at skill rather than a piece of paper saying someone can remember literature) is why people are not going to school.

    If they want to fix it they need to stop trying to scam people and make book and course costs reasonable. Professors need to become competent in the courses they teach. For the core skills like english or math that anyone can do there is no issue. But we learned what we needed in grade school for that. More people than ever are trying to take tech related courses.

    Sadly, the professors are often just a random guy who reads from his teacher's edition and parrots everything. This not only gives people a bad deal for their money but it also produces the moron code monkeys that we often have to clean up after. But competent professors aren't something you can throw money at. And that's the only thing they know how to do these days. Maybe they should give every college student an iPad. Maybe that'll work!

    -- [] 🗿
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Tuesday April 15 2014, @10:05PM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @10:05PM (#32022)

      perhaps it depends on the subject? In the sciences proficiency in a wide array or material is a pre-requisite for many later courses. You don't want the heart surgery from someone who didn't get A's, and you don't want your anti-cancer drugs either...

      Perhaps the issue is how much education is enough? There is a very good talk on TED regarding the sytematic removal of creativity in students in order to process them through the "Victorian educational system, producing output for the factory".

      If there were greater literacy and numeracy education for adults it might help with the chronically unemployed.

      If there were greater scientific and numerate literacy in the population at large there would be a greater pressure on politicians to deal with real policies not media-baited solutions.

      Fundamentally, it would be nice if ALL educational materials were online up to , say , an undergraduate level. This would give a great many people access to materials before re-engaging in the professional academic system for credit.

      Too much to ask?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:46PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @07:46PM (#31957)

    My suspicion is after enough private non-ivy diploma-mill loan-mill colleges close, they'll make a push to privatize and ruin the public unis. The doctrine will be, "who can compete against the .gov" etc.

    Wait for the private diploma mills to be defined as the "bad guys" in the press, then they'll get flushed to "fix the problem" and the public schools will be converted into the position of being the new private diploma mills in all but name by the same crowd who got too greedy with the private colleges.

    Alternatively, if some professions begin abandoning the requirement for a 4-year degree like waitressing, bartending, file clerks and customer support, baristas, and perhaps computer programming, then you can expect the rise of demands for licensing, coincidentally requiring a degree. So your waitress will not be granted a waitress license unless she has the required degree in early childhood education or psych. Rather than merely being common like it is today, it'll be required by law. Maybe even entrepreneurs... illegal to obtain a business license from the .gov without an accredited MBA, to "protect the public", that kind of thing.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by ArhcAngel on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:02PM

    by ArhcAngel (654) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:02PM (#31966)

    When the richest of the rich avoided oppressive college drudgery. ul-entrepreneurs-who-didnt-need-college/ []
    And even common wisdom has determined intellect isn't the key to success. 19200/ []
    Neither proves anything but they do make you think.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:12PM (#31970)
    I read an Economist article [] recently that explains the phenomena. Basically, some schools provide a much better return on investment than others.

    Consider that paying for a college education is an investment in your future earnings. Whether it's worthwhile depends on how much you paid versus how much more you earn than without the degree. Some schools (such as University of Washington) cost relatively little compared to the boost in earnings, so they're a good deal. For others (Shaw University, for example), you would be much better off if you invest in treasury bills and don't spend a dime with the school.

    As this kind of data becomes easier for students to get, expect underperforming colleges to disappear. The only reason this hasn't happened yet is because the ROI for a school has been much harder to determine than the ROI of investing in Starbucks.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @08:48PM (#31984)

    In those countries where you pay your taxes and get your services[1] and where they realize that EDUCATION IS AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE OF THE NATION and not simply another opportunity to privatize everything, [] they are doing just fine, with each person taking his state-funded education as far as his abilities permit then going into the labor force for several decades and paying taxes [] such that the next generation is prepared to step up when its time comes.

    [1] ...and where they don't piss away 59 percent[2] of their budget on militarism aka imperialism aka aggression.

    [2] Someone will, of course, say the number is lower.
    That ignores the Hollywood accounting [] that the gov't does e.g. putting the Coast Guard in the Treasury Dept's budget, putting veterans' stuff in a different pidgeonhole, the massive expenditures on intelligence agencies whose chief consumer is the military, and other budgetary jiggery-pokery.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 16 2014, @02:17PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 16 2014, @02:17PM (#32312)

      What's wrong with the Coast Guard? Defending the coasts is a valid use of government resources, and is not the same as imperialism.

      Your other points are spot-on though.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:20AM (#32539)

        Actually, we agree on ALL of those points.
        The Coast Guard is one of the few legit **defensive** mechanisms for which we pay.[1]

        What's missing from the narrative is the renaming of the Department of War to the Department of *Defense* under Truman.
        That was A LIE.
        If they really needed to change it, the correct moniker would have been Department of AGGRESSION or Department of OFFENSE.

        It was at that time that American Imperialism went into overdrive. []
        It's a long article, so skip down to the 4th paragraph and look at the list of US-plotted coups.
        Some countries got off light with only 1 or 2; there were THREE in Turkey and THREE MORE in Bolivia.

        [1] I made a mistake: They *used* to be a part of the Treasury Department (1919 - 1967); they are now part of the Transportation Department.

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 1) by hellcat on Wednesday April 16 2014, @05:26AM

    by hellcat (2832) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 16 2014, @05:26AM (#32189) Homepage

    ... entrenched institutions interested solely in their own lifestyles at any expense,


    extremely for-profit orginazations ( promising the moon, delivering little, taking mostly government money with little investment in infrastructure. (A beautiful business model if you can get it!)

  • (Score: 1) by anthonytkim on Friday April 18 2014, @03:02AM

    by anthonytkim (935) on Friday April 18 2014, @03:02AM (#32944)

    The market is speaking! And so are employers, College isn't for everyone and for the last 30 years that has been the rhetoric. Even google recognizes that a GPA and college degree isn't evidence of someone's value to the company or society.

    A drop in enrollment shouldn't be the concern, the concern should be that college systems across the country are still operating under industrial-revolution standards of pumping out as many automized degrees as possible.

    Maybe we should stop freaking out about college enrollment and spend 2 minutes trying to fix the K-12 system considering we are one of the worst in the world...