Friday, July 01, 2016

Make College Cheaper by Cutting Administrative Costs


The greatest problem with most universities today is that tuition is much too high, forcing an entire generation of students into long-term debt-servitude. Total student loans now exceed $1.2 trillion, and millions of students will probably never be able to pay them off.

During the mid-1970s, tuition at UCLA, Berkeley, and the other UC campuses was only $630 per year. Now the annual cost averages around $15,000, having increased many times faster than inflation.

An important factor has been the huge rise in educational expenses. Undergraduates now enjoy four years of access to nicer food, fancier dormitories, and Olympic-quality swimming pools, but must then spend 10 or 20 years paying back the crippling student loans that covered those temporary luxuries.

However, the biggest factor in rising expenses has probably been the huge growth in the administrative staff. A couple of decades ago there was one administrator for every two faculty members, and now the numbers are roughly equal. Doubling the number of these non-teaching administrators, some of whom receive outrageous salaries, explains where much of the extra money has been going.
One way of cutting tuition would be to persuade the state legislatures in California and around the country to allocate many billions of additional taxpayer dollars to increase public subsidies to their state colleges and universities. But most government budgets are very tight, so this seems unlikely to happen.

Therefore, the only apparent means of substantially lowering tuition is to drastically cut the expenses, especially those unnecessary administrative costs. Liberals and conservatives should unite behind this important political project, backed by the millions of students who desperately need cuts in their extremely high college tuition.



Brain Training Does Not Improve Academic Outcomes in Kids

Anita Slomski

Training programs designed to enhance working memory are popular methods to boost academic performance in young children with learning disabilities, despite a lack of evidence of long-term benefits. Researchers evaluated the computerized Cogmed Working Memory Training program, the most widely used working memory intervention, and found there was no improvement in academic outcomes after the intervention was given to children with low working memory

JAMA. 2016;315(24):2656. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7816

More snowflakes -- or just flakes -- in British universities

Pro-EU students claim they are so upset with the result of the Brexit vote that they have been left depressed and have a 'constant sick feeling'.

Some fanatical Remain supporters say they are 'grieving for our loss of cultural enrichment' - while others fear the stress could cause them to fail their exams.

And others blame the older generations for 'ruining their future' by opting for Leave even though the long-term effects will only be experienced by young people.

Around 75 per cent of voters under 25 opted for Britain to stay in the European Union, making them far more pro-EU than any other age group.

However, only a third of young people actually bothered to turn out to the polls despite the huge impact the result of the vote will have on their futures.

In the wake of the shock vote, hundreds of students took to the internet to complain about what happened.

A thread on popular forum The Student Room entitled 'Does anyone else feel genuinely depressed about Brexit?' has had around 300 replies.

One student wrote: 'I've felt so down all day because of this, and just have this constant sick feeling in my stomach.  'I genuinely feel like I'm grieving. I feel like I'm grieving for our growing economy (slow but steady). I'm grieving for our loss of cultural enrichment.'

Another added: 'Took about an hour for my hands to stop shaking, and for my knees to return to some semblance of working order after I saw the result.'

Although some took care not to blame Leave voters for their upset, other were more blunt in their assessment.

One complained: 'I have felt sick all day, and ashamed. And angry, with special little peaks of rage dedicated to the claptrap by degrees either ignorant, racist or both, that leavers have peddled as their "reasons".'

Other students suggested that the political turmoil had affected their preparation for exams and insisted they deserved extra marks because they were so upset.

One wrote: 'Can I class Brexit as a traumatic event when fail my exams next week? Because honestly I'm so distracted now because of it.' Another said: 'I wonder if I can get special consideration for my Further Maths and Physics exams today because I was stressed about Brexit?'

A number of students have expressed fears that Brexit will prevent them from taking courses abroad, and expressed fears that British universities could see their funding squeezed.

Most university bosses came out in favour of a Remain vote, because of the EU grants which may now be in doubt after the vote to leave.

Matthew Sadd, who is studying a Master's in chemistry at Southampton University, said today: 'I'm very worried about my future career and study prospects because I want to continue to study, perhaps take a PhD. 'I now feel with Brexit my ability to go to further into the world of research has been severely limited.  'My options are so much more limited and that really infuriates me.'

Kingston University undergraduate Harriet King added: 'The thing that really got to me is why so many people voted leave - a failed misrepresentation against immigration.

'Immigration, both economic migrants and refugees, bring so much positivity to this country. 'In my opinion the free movement of people is the most important thing in the world, and a Brexit puts a hold on this.'

Simone Nielsen, a Danish student who is about to start a graduate degree at University College London, said she is now planning to leave the country in a year's time.

'I think a lot of Europeans feel very unwelcome now,' she said. 'My boyfriend and I had planned to stay here afterwards, but now we've decided to move to a place that actually wants us there.'


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