Thursday, February 17, 2011

Higher Education News: Test Optional, Tuition Cuts

1. "DePaul University will no longer require applicants to submit standardized-test scores for admission. The new policy, announced on Thursday morning, makes DePaul the largest private nonprofit university to go completely "test optional." Starting with applicants for the freshman class entering in 2012, students who choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores will write short responses to essay questions designed to measure "noncognitive" traits, such as leadership, commitment to service, and ability to meet long-term goals."

2. "College tuition tends to go in one direction—up. But on Wednesday, the University of the South took the unusual step of cutting its price for the coming year. Sewanee, as the university is known, will cut its tuition, fees, and room and board by 10 percent, or about $4,600, for the 2011-12 year."

Q: Does this signal that the "college tuition bubble" is starting to burst? 

12 Comments:

At 2/17/2011 4:45 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Consumers of college education are becoming more debt averse. Private institutions seem to be adjusting costs and revenue.

A new on-line private university is gaining recognition called Western Governors Univeristy. It was founded by 19 state governors to transform basic higher education at competitive pricing.

 
At 2/17/2011 4:54 PM, Blogger Ironman said...

I can't speak to what DePaul's "de-entry-testification" might signify, but the University of the South's recent tuition, fee and room-and-board cut might be more of a timid kind of Eureka College-style marketing effort rather than the popping of the college tuition bubble.

 
At 2/17/2011 6:02 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

"Does this signal that the "college tuition bubble" is starting to burst?"

No. One vastly overpriced college cutting its prices by 10% does not make a burst bubble.

Higher education is, as far as I know, the only service industry that has continually rising inflation-adjusted prices coupled with continually declining value and quality. The health care industry has continually rising prices, but they have been coupled with increasing value.

Ironically, many are upset about health care costs while relatively few are upset about higher education's rising costs or declining value.

Most employers today still believe that a four-year college degree signifies probable success in the workplace. When employers realize that many BA and BS holders have learned little, the value of a diploma will decline dramatically. At that point, people will begin to challenge the current system of spending 4 to 6 years and $50,000 to $250,000 to get a diploma that's worth little to potential employers.

 
At 2/17/2011 6:06 PM, Blogger randian said...

I think it's obvious what DePaul's de-testing signifies: they want to eliminate more white and asian applicants. How better to do this, and make your decisions essentially unreviewable, by making applications a more subjective process? It's essentially what the University of California did when California law was changed to prohibit race as a consideration for university slots. They ignored the new law and started de-emphasizing objective criteria like test scores and over-emphasizing subjective criteria like essays.

 
At 2/17/2011 7:04 PM, Blogger hal said...

There is the teacher, who teaches the material in a classroom or lecture hall, and there is the test. Ultimately the test is what matters.

So I wonder, is the teacher necessary? Couldn't a student just study and take the test, and bypass the teacher? And save some money?

A student can use their own ingenuity and resources, like the internet and youtube, a friend or study partner, or hire a tutor, to study for the test. And if they do poorly, they can take it again, with different questions of course.

The teacher is sorta like a middle man and perhaps obsolete in some cases.

 
At 2/17/2011 7:07 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Hal: The "test optional" policy is for the entrance exams only: SAT, ACT.

 
At 2/17/2011 7:34 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Higher education is, as far as I know, the only service industry that has continually rising inflation-adjusted prices coupled with continually declining value and quality."

What's this based on? Declining value and quality? I'd disagree. A greater amount of liberal arts degrees of no value does not mean that the degrees of value are getting lower in quality (or even that the liberal arts degrees are getting lower in quality)

A degree in engineering or sciences or anything that imparts some analytical ability, has more value today than it has ever had, and certainly more quality.

Lets not try to generalize all 4-year degrees as the same. On the ground level, no such thing as a "4 year degree" exists. This doesn't of course mean that there isn't a bubble in liberal art degrees.

 
At 2/18/2011 4:45 AM, Blogger juandos said...

What's new about testing so one can end up paying less tuition etc?

C.L.E.P. testing has been around for years...

"The health care industry has continually rising prices, but they have been coupled with increasing value"...

Really Dr. T?

Hasn't over specialization which has given us many 'miracles of modern medicine' also caused a few problems that wouldn't have been a challenge to an experienced GP?

 
At 2/18/2011 11:06 AM, Blogger CFP, EA said...

I doubt that you'll have a "bursting" of the higher education bubble, though it may slow at middle and lower-end schools. But at the top 100 to, perhaps even, 200 schools, I'd be surprised.

Since employers are no longer allowed to give applicants IQ tests and college has become so prevalent, college has become an IQ/diligence/social etiquitte test rolled into one. In essence, business have outsourced part of their HR.

Employers know that kids, especially liberal arts majors, don't learn much useful - or any - knowledge in college. That's fine. They can teach them what they need. But getting into college X proves that you have a certain intelligence level, an ability to understand and work a complicated process (getting into college involves a tremendous amount of hoops), diligence to make through four years of school, malability (not only didn't try to beat up your idiot multicultural literature professor, you even managed to get an A-), and social skill by being around people who will be just like the people in a typical business.

That's a huge amount of information about a young person. And they actually paid to go to college, rather that the business having to hire them to find out these traits.

Can you make it without going to college. Of course, especially if your the entreprenurial type.

But for the most part, a degree from a good to great college is a requirement to accessing a good job and a good life. And with times getter harder and harder for the lower-middle class and working class due to immigration and globalization, people will be willing to pay just about whatever they have to pay to get that golden ticket.

 
At 2/18/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger CFP, EA said...

I doubt that you'll have a "bursting" of the higher education bubble, though it may slow at middle and lower-end schools. But at the top 100 to, perhaps even, 200 schools, I'd be surprised.

Since employers are no longer allowed to give applicants IQ tests and college has become so prevalent, college has become an IQ/diligence/social etiquitte test rolled into one. In essence, business have outsourced part of their HR.

Employers know that kids, especially liberal arts majors, don't learn much useful - or any - knowledge in college. That's fine. They can teach them what they need. But getting into college X proves that you have a certain intelligence level, an ability to understand and work a complicated process (getting into college involves a tremendous amount of hoops), diligence to make through four years of school, maleability (not only didn't try to beat up your idiot multicultural literature professor, you even managed to get an A-), and social skill by being around people who will be just like the people in a typical business.

That's a huge amount of information about a young person. And they actually paid to go to college, rather that the business having to hire them to find out these traits.

Can you make it without going to college. Of course, especially if your the entrepreneurial type.

But for the most part, a degree from a good to great college is a requirement to accessing a good job and a good life. And with times getter harder and harder for the lower-middle class and working class due to immigration and globalization, people will be willing to pay just about whatever they have to pay to get that golden ticket.

 
At 2/18/2011 5:20 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

@juandos: "... Hasn't over specialization which has given us many 'miracles of modern medicine' also caused a few problems that wouldn't have been a challenge to an experienced GP?"

The USA does not have a physician overspecialization problem. That's propaganda put out by the health insurance industry and the federal government. We have an underspecialization problem. Modern medicine is so vast and so complex that GPs and Family Practice physicians learn only a little bit about thousands of problems. For medicine to continue to improve, we need far more specialists. For example, Internal Medicine wisely created the subspecialties of hospitalist and intensivist (ICU physicians). ER medicine has been too complex for generalists for years.

Medicine does have major problems, but they mostly arise from poorly designed physician education and poorly designed compensation schemes.

 
At 2/18/2011 5:30 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

@AIG: I agree that the decline in the quality and value of higher education has affected science and engineering majors less than others. However, overall the higher education of today has far less value than it did forty years ago. How could it not? Forty years ago, 25% of HS grads went to college (many to just 2-year schools). Even with just the top 25% going to college, some weren't capable of getting a degree. Today, nearly 70% of HS grads go to college, almost all to 4-year schools, and the majority of them graduate. Since we know that today's HS grads are not smarter and better educated than 40 years ago, the logical conclusion is that the majority of college programs are greatly watered-down. My eldest daughter is a senior at a state university, and she complains that her courses are no more challenging than her high school classes were.

Anyone who has been hiring college grads long enough knows that hiring someone with a recent BA or BS degree is much more likely to get you a dud employee. Ten years ago I hired a medical technologist who graduated from Duke University with a B average who knew so little that we all were shocked. It's even worse today.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home