Government Spending

Battle of the Sucky School Stats

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Today in The Wall Street Journal, there's some decent analysis on new proposed rules that would restrict eligibility for federal aid dollars to for-profit higher ed career programs, cutting off programs whose grads have low debt repayment rates and high debt-to-income ratios. (I wrote about the new rules in detail here.)

Here are two sets of less-then-impressive statistics from the piece:

"Even with this more challenging student population," concludes a study released in March by the Parthenon Group, a consulting firm, "the private sector generates superior education outcomes as evidenced by a 65% graduation rate (compared to only a 44% graduation rate at community colleges)."

And:

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that since 1995 nearly 40% of students at for-profit career colleges have defaulted on federal loans. An Education Department study found that fewer than 36% of for-profit college students repaid their federal loans, versus 54% at public universities.

None of those figures are worth writing home about, frankly. For-profit and public schools alike are pulling massive numbers of people who can't or won't finish school, and who can't or won't pay for it either. Nonetheless, President Obama remains unimpressed with your high school degree, and committed to shuffling more Americans into overfunded, underperforming higher ed institutions.

UPDATE: In related news, 1 in 4 lap dancers (in the U.K.) has a college degree.

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Katherine Mangu-Ward on Bloggingheads Talking About Supermarket Subsidies and What's for Dinner

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  1. Wouldn’t it be easier if the president declared that all adult Americans now have honorary PhDs?

  2. I want free shiiiittttt.

  3. HA! Suck it, all you B.A. losers.

    1. Yep, and all of us MS losers too.

  4. “Even with this more challenging student population,” concludes a study released in March by the Parthenon Group, a consulting firm, “the private sector generates superior education outcomes as evidenced by a 65% graduation rate (compared to only a 44% graduation rate at community colleges).”

    The next best thing compared to socialized medicine is socialized higher-ed. The results of not having to pay for it (from the customer side) and not having to provide a good service (from the supplier side) is a mediocre end product.

  5. It’s really ridiculous how many entry level jobs require a college education just to apply. Even something as banal as a secretary. A bachelor degree has become so devalued that it’s pretty much the equivalent of a high school degree 50 years ago. How soon until entry level jobs are requiring master degrees? By the time my grandchildren (if I have any) go to school, they’ll probably need a PhD and a post-doc before they can be a fry cook at McDonald’s.

    1. Hey, dude: you have to pay for that worthless degree, which funnels money to worthless teachers with Master’s and PhDs. Higher education is just another transfer program to lazy dipshits. Fuck, I have multiple degrees, all of which have absolutely nothing to do with what I do (and do well). So what did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for?

      1. Framed pieces of paper.

        1. Exactly.

      2. So what did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for?

        that much? seriously?

        SUCKER!

        1. Exactly. Oh, by the way, I did go to Johns Hopkins.

          1. If you went over 200k I hope you got an MD. Don’t say it was loans…

            1. Loans? HA HA HA HA

              My family paid for it all.

              1. And then he lit a cigar with a $100 dollar bill and sat down to his usual breakfast of gilt condor eggs.

              2. It would please Epi to know what we did with his parent’s money. Each member of the faculty used their portion to fund the rental of a nice little loft for the cute eighteen year old undergrad willing to be banged by tubby middle aged men just to get out of the dorms.

                1. “…willing to be banged by tubby middle aged men”

                  a.k.a. Hopkins Johns.

      3. So what did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for?

        The right to constantly bring up the fact you went to Johns Hopkins. “Blah, blah Johns Hopkins, blah.”

        1. If I went to Johns Hopkins, I woulkd talk about it constantly, too. (Sigh), I wish i had studied harder in H.S. and then went to MIT. I’d never let any of you fuckers forget about it.

          1. Seriously, though, this is the first I heard about Epi going to Johns Hopkins, so he’s really not bad about talking about it. I do know he lives in Seattle and thinks he’s better than me. And If I know Epi, he would respond to this post with “No, Art, I know I’m better than you.”

            1. No, Art, everyone knows I’m better than you. No homo.

            2. Caltech PhD, biotches!!! And I spent all of that time to discover that what I really liked about graduate school was working in the machine shop. My new goal is to be the highest-educated welder in the northwest. Of course, I didn’t actually go to school for welding, so I’m not certified.

      4. You know, we have a booming business in fake IDs in this country for underage drinkers.

        I wonder if there could be a potential market for fake degrees for those same people? Might be a little more complicated to pull off, but hey, if Matthew Broderick can do it…

        1. I wonder if there could be a potential market for fake degrees for those same people?

          [cough] University of Phoenix Online [cough]

        2. I get at least one email a week.

    2. I’ve seen administrative assistant jobs that say “two-year degree” in…what? Is there really a degree for secretarial work? Do they learn how to talk on the phone, file, and type?

      1. I’m guessing you’ve not stepped into a community college recently.

      2. My girlfriend is working as an administrative assistant at a real estate finance company (although she is starting to train as an auditor). The position required a bachelor’s.

    3. Almost all librarian positions require a masters just to get your foot in the door.

  6. President Obama remains unimpressed with your high school degree, and committed to shuffling more Americans into overfunded, underperforming higher ed institutions.

    Well, the US simply cannot have enough social studies grads. A productive nation clamours for more and more of those!

    I mean… Right?

  7. Have any of the people whining about the Infrastructure Gap figured out that disgruntled baristas with masters degrees in Comparative Literature are not going to build the “smart grid”?

  8. Ever notice how those who believe the government is capable of anything never actually seem discontent with its substandard performance in actual practice?

    1. Yep. If we had a private education system that was performing as poorly as our public one, they’d be calling for it to be nationalized.

    2. Yep. If we had a private education system that was performing as poorly as our public one, they’d be calling for it to be nationalized.

  9. Requiring advanced degrees for menial work is more about workplace culture than education.

    If you went to college, majored in whatever, and especially if you went on to get one or two useless graduate degrees, you are probably a very predictable and “safe” person to hire. You’re probably white, liberal, middle class and can keep yourself awake under the drone of florescents.

    1. and can keep yourself awake under the drone of florescents.

      That is where I failed at being a drone and realized if I couldn’t make it being my own boss I would starve to death trying. The florescents more than the ambition and drive, that is probably more true than I care to admit beyond the protective shell of a joke or two.

    2. What Sug said. I received pretty much the same answer form our HR manager at the law firm I worked at. Legal secretaries, who make WAY more than you would ever suspect (more than the most of the legal librarians–go figure), don’t set a toe inside the door without a bachelors.

  10. Thanks goodness that the student loan business has been no-fooling nationalized. That’ll solve this problem!

  11. Could we reform some of higher education if we admitted to ourselves that a lot of it is about signalling?

    If your goal is to let employers know which applicants are smart and hard working, isn’t there a better way to do it than see which of them spent five years drinking their parents’ money and such and such state?

    1. For my current job I had to take about 10 different tests- the wonderlic, watson glaser, etc. Why can’t we just do that instead?

      it would save a whole bunch of money.

      1. the wonderlic

        How’s training camp been?

        1. LOL, I did forget that organizations other than the NFL actually used this until Spencer brought it up.

        2. HA.

          Seriously, it let’s you know how dim some of those guys can be.

          1. “Seriously, it let’s you know how dim some of those guys can be.”

            He says with a typo! GDMFBS!

    2. Since everyone has to go to college now and we can’t let the little snowflakes fail, people don’t even have to be smart or hard working to succeed in college. When I was in grad school, I TA’ed calculus 1. There were students in there who couldn’t do basic algebra, but if we failed all of the people who should have failed, the university administration would come down like a hammer on the math department saying we weren’t doing our job. Instead, we would curve the grades so that about half the people would pass. Then some of them would go to calculus 2, and the scenario would repeat itself. I’m pretty sure people could graduate without ever earning an uncurved passing grade in a single class. This was at a flagship state school, btw.

      1. It is actually even more insidious than that. I have a friend who graduated with a masters back in the 90’s at the local engineering school named after an astronaut who died in the shuttle explosion of ’86 who worked as a teaching assistant in the last leg of his studies. He graded papers for the prof he served under, the prof came back to him, and apologized for not making the grading policies clear to my friend. There were two curves to be applied to each paper graded, the standard curve, and a second based entirely on the African-Americaness of the person who wrote the paper (that is right, this wasn’t standard affirmative action at work, it was a singular racial preference). Of course, this angered my friend, as it dawned on him after doing the numbers that he had been held to a much higher standard than his peers, and it being a minority majority campus almost everyone was getting this curve but him!

        Same school whose alumni included Jesse Jackson and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Oh yeah, my dad went there too after his hitch in the Army. I had almost forgotten that fact.

  12. If we do as they suggest in the video and let natural market forces fall into play so that only those smart enough and wealthy enough to benefit from college go, how will this be more meritocratic? Poor people with low incomes but brilliant kids won’t be able to get private student loans with less than credit-card level interest because no company in their right mind would lend a family 100% of their income in unsecured debt. Why won’t this take us back to the days when college was for the children of the rich and powerful?

    1. I know what you mean. This would be dangerous considering there are no private scholarships in existence for low income kids who work hard and apply themselves. None whatsoever.

      1. Nor are there these programs called ROTC (which my dad used), the G.I. Bill (which many of my friends are currently using), and Student Loan Repayment Program (which I used, but enlisted only). Oh, yeah, they require service in the military…

    2. In a world that requires hundreds of millions of people employed in highly technical fields to maintain the current standard of living of even the most reclusive of billionaires it just makes so much since for the elites to keep us all down on the farm guiding a mule with a plow. Head out of ass, please.

    3. ‘S called scholarships, you may have heard of them. I was from a family that couldn’t afford to send me to college and got a full ride to a state university (tuition + room and board), plus a free laptop. They got to claim a slightly higher number of National Merit Scholars attending. Win-win.

    4. State schools are very affordable, even for the poor (Not as true as it used to be, but eliminate sallie mae and it will go back to being true). And there are some damn good state schools.

      1. Of course, if we eliminate state subsidized schools too, the prices will go up, but there will still be affordable schools.

  13. Let me see, I have two college degrees in liberal arts areas. I finally went to night school and took some courses in accounting, tax and business and got a real job. My son took 1 year at a junior college, got tired of showing the teachers how to network computers and just went into the work place where he is now a 6 figure internet operations center manager. Yup, thank G*d for our beloved leader’s emphasis on college education – it keeps the competition for real jobs low.

    1. IT used to be the last refuge of the competent. Over the last couple of years, there has been WAY more emphasis on degrees and certifications.

      I can’t count the number of stories at happy hour that feature a worthless project mgr with a PMP certification creating an unrealistic timeline for a project, sea-gulling around (that’s when they flutter around and shit all over you), and then throwing programmers under the bus when the time-line doesn’t get met.

      I am so ready to GTFO of this line of work, but the money is too good. And I get to spend a ton of time trolling H&R.

  14. Poor people with low incomes but brilliant kids won’t be able to

    blabbity blah blah…

    Shut up, you credentialist dimwit.

    I have known and worked with a lot of extremely intelligent people who never set foot on a college campus; they didn’t have much trouble finding a productive outlet for their raw intelligence.

    1. I have a 120 IQ, make $90,000/year and do more independent reading than any 4-year grad I know, yet I barely graduated HS with a 1.8 GPA and decided I’d skip the SATs because I didn’t feel like losing half a day.

      Most education is just training in herd mentality group think. It’s not worthless, you do get some base facts but you’ll forget them all by the time you’re 30 anyway. 2-year trade school is just as good.

      You only need it because some corporate HR dingbat says you need it. And they only say you need it because that’s what they were told to think when they went through the brainwashing.

  15. You meet a much better class of drug dealer at an expensive private college. So there’s that.

  16. Reason’s all over Paul Ryan these days. What’s the guy’s deal? Is he free-market or just a budget hawk?

    I mean, it’s nice that he picks about accounting tricks, but how could you miss the obvious point that subsidizing education means higher costs? That’s what I’d be pounding home.

    And what about the other stuff? He doesn’t LOOK like a neocon…

  17. Is he free-market or just a budget hawk?

    The latter. Ryan voted for TARP, auto bailouts and all that other central planning shit. A little “free market” than Kim Jong Il.

    1. ^ exactly right.

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