Advocating that higher ed be approached as a business has been in the mix for quite some time. The point made regarding the underpreparedness of students is accurate, and unfortuately, colleges and universities will not direct dollars toward remediation, much as businesses direct few dollars toward training and re-training the job force.
The reality we are facing is that we are recommending a college education at any cost...usually at huge cost, and whether that outlay of funds is from the university or from the student, the outcomes will not increase if there is little or no educational foundation...if remediation is not funded...and, here's my radical belief: MANDATED. In effect, money is spent, and retention does not increase, graduation rates do not increase. Funds go to the universities but are they used to increase graduation and retention rates? How can more college education result in a stronger economy unless we measure graduates...and graduates who enter the workforce wherever they end up, not just in their home state.
The issue is where dollars are directed. If we direct dollars toward admissions, then do not follow up with ensuring that those admitted succeed, we are wasting funding. If we direct dollars toward creating better facilities, but not toward training the students how to use them, we are wasting funding.
Low income and/or underprepared students deserve higher education. But if we admit low income and/or underprepared students, we need to ensure we are helping them stay enrolled and graduate. Thus programs like Michigan's KCP initiative must continue to fight to ensure that dollars are directed by states and universities toward whatever remediation is necessary, and college and university administrators must correlate admissions of underprepared students to dollars spent on mandated remediation. This could result in increased retention and graduation rates, which can then be correlated to economic growth. Not before.
---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 10:22:27 -0400
>From: darnell bradley <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Gongwer THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 2006
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Good morning all,
>What I think this article is advocating is that we start approaching higher
>education purely as a business, driven by numbers of graduates and
>measurable skills. On the surface this idea sounds logical and reasonable
>enough, but if you look deeper-he ignores too much information for his point
>to be valid.
>What the study fails to speak to enough is the idea of access-and I can't
>fathom how his study found that having more college educated people does not
>impact the economy. From what it sounds like, his study focused on the
>Midwest, which over the time period he studied saw one of its primary
>employment sectors (manufacturing) diminished. So its reasonable to say
>these states like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, the Dakotas, etc. spent more on
>higher education across those years with less outcomes. He doesn't take into
>account the numbers of families who could no longer afford college over that
>time period due to job loss and other economic factors. During this same
>time period of his study, public schools began to decline-which left a
>number of students underprepared for college and in need of "remediation".
>He does not account for that.
>In short, if you lose all the places for college grads to work in an
>area-then you will not see a connection between economics and higher
>education. I know entire families in Chicago that were crippled when Indiana
>started closing the steel mills. I'm sure you Michigan natives can say the
>same thing about Detroit and the auto industry.
>But these are the times in which we live...I'm off my soapbox now...
>From: Retention & Graduation Issues Concerning Minorities in Higher
>Education [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Rudy Redmond
>Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:15 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Gongwer THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 2006
>Yes, but it does not seem to be intuitive.
>>>> [log in to unmask] 9/27/2006 9:01 AM >>>
>Very interesting perspective.
>King-Chavez-Parks (KCP) Initiative
>Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth
>Bureau of Career Education
>Office of Postsecondary Services
>201 N. Washington Square
>Victor Office Center, 4th Floor
>Lansing, Michigan 48913
>[log in to unmask]
>>>> [log in to unmask] 9/27/2006 8:52 AM >>>
>PROFESSOR URGES SLOWER HIGHER ED GROWTH
>The Granholm administration has urged that the state find ways to
>increase the number of college graduates as a way to improve the
>economy. And many have taken that call a step further, seeking
>additional state funds for colleges and universities to provide spaces
>for those potential graduates.
>But Richard Vedder, professor of economics at Ohio University and a
>member of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, told
>those gathered for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Issues and
>Ideas Luncheon that such a funding increase for higher education could
>actually hamper economic growth.
>Mr. Vedder said his review of state spending for colleges and
>universities over the past 30 years has shown that those states that
>more rapidly increased those appropriations saw their economies grow
>more slowly or decline compared to states that were less generous to
>"I beat this model up every which way I could and I continue to find
>positive correlation between university spending and economic growth,"
>Mr. Vedder said.
>And he said a boost in higher education appropriations also does not
>appear to show a long-term payoff. He said he checked states for
>delayed growth based on a spurt in higher education spending and could
>Among his comparisons, he said North Dakota and South Dakota have
>nearly identical demographics but, during the 1977 to 2002 period he
>studied, the former increased its university spending and saw its
>economy slow while the latter slowed its higher education
>and saw its economy grow more quickly.
>He said he found the same comparisons among Michigan, Illinois and
>Ohio. Michigan grew its higher education appropriations more quickly
>between 1980 and 2000, yet saw its economy grow more slowly than its
>similar neighbors. And he said that corrected for other economic
>differences between the states.
>Mr. Vedder said there are statistics that would, at first glance,
>appear to support those calling for more university funding. "They
>very factually point out that college graduates earn a great deal more
>money than high school graduates do," he said of those urging both
>graduates and more funding for higher education.
>But he said the argument assumes that the earning potential is tied to
>the degree. "It ignores that much of the productivity of college
>graduates is not from the degree but from personal attributes," he
>Mr. Vedder argued that most of those who have college degrees would
>earn more than those who currently hold only a high school diploma
>because they have greater motivation and innate intelligence.
>And he argued the current push for more college students and college
>graduates may bring in students to higher education who are not
>to succeed. "Low-income kids don't do very well in college in all,"
>said, also arguing that universities should, at a minimum, look to
>contract out the remedial courses that are becoming a growing part of
>the college experience.
>Even if the earnings are tied to the degree, he said more spending
>not necessarily mean more graduates, or more graduates in the state.
>Once students have a degree, there is little to tie them to the state
>where they earned it.
>"Educated people are more migratory anyway," he said. "High economic
>growth states get college graduates."
>But he also noted there is little data tracking where students go once
>they graduate and how long they stay either in their home state or in
>the state where they attended university.
>Mr. Vedder argued it is also a fallacy to argue that more state
>spending for higher education will mean more access to higher
>"The best I can tell, 30 cents of every new dollar in state
>appropriations ends up in tuition relief for students," he said. "It
>doesn't really mostly go for lowering costs or increasing access."
>And he said it would take a substantial change in state appropriations
>to make a noticeable change in the number of college students. For
>each 20 percent increase in state appropriations, 1 percent of those
>now attending higher education would be able to go.
>"I think it is time for us to show some tough love for the
>universities," he said. "The state's that neglect their higher
>education systems are not going to face the difficulties the
>people would have you think," he said.
>But he also balked at the idea of eliminating all state funding.
>"That would be a radical experiment that I wouldn't want to do," he
>said. "I think it would be a risky move in the short run and in the
>He argued for academia to begin showing some performance in terms of
>graduates and the quality of those graduates for the money it gets.
>Mike Boulus, director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of
>Michigan, said the schools have been concentrating on graduation
> "We don't talk about the role of appropriations. We talk about the
>role of educational attainment," he said.
>But he also said that the recent cuts and flat budgets, combined with
>increasing enrollment, have affected access to higher education for
>some. "You don't lose $250 million in state aid and not have it
>operations and tuition," he said.
Gloria Aquino Sosa, MA, LPC, NCC
Strategic Counseling and Consulting
Instructor & Doctoral Candidate
Department of Counseling
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