Tag Archives: Garry Trudeau

Who writes the essay? Doonesbury weighs in.

In case you missed it in the Sunday papers, Garry Trudeau takes a look at college admissions essays and who is writing them.Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 3.27.14 PM

“It was an epifany. (Note: check spelling)” See the full strip here.

Not that that really happens. Right?

If your high school student needs help, rather than sitting at the keyboard, you might point them to a couple of key  resources:

  • Essay Hell — One of the few sites that our daughter, known here as Mod Squad Julie, dove into more deeply than I did, and then asked, “Why didn’t you tell me about this last summer?”
  • College Admission — That link will send you to a series of posts on writing essays, including how to respond to common prompts.
  • This post, from last summer when Julie was in the thick of it, provides a few more: How to write college essays.

Good luck (to the students) with the essays.



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College: non-profit or for-profit? Doonesbury weighs in.

In case you haven’t seen it in this week’s daily papers, Garry Trudeau reports on the astounding amount of revenue for-profit colleges take in, and how attractive that might look like to non-profit administrators.

See the first strip here. Tuesday. Wednesday.

Per usual, this Doonesbury topic coincides with real news about for-profit colleges. See Why the Harkin Report on For-Profit Colleges Really Matters. Some excerpts below:

…it’s important to acknowledge the report’s true significance: it puts thousands of pages of internal company documents into the permanent record, providing crucial evidence that fraud and abuse have run rampant throughout the sector, and especially at some of the country’s largest for-profit college companies.

Over the last decade, both publicly-traded and private-equity owned for-profit higher education companies have come under scrutiny from federal and state regulators, and have faced numerous lawsuits by former employees, students, and shareholders over allegations that they engaged in misleading recruitment and admissions tactics to inflate their enrollment numbers. Many of these companies have been accused of routinely recruiting and enrolling unqualified student and sticking them with huge amounts of debt for training from which these individuals were unlikely to benefit.

Yet, time and again, these actions have ended in settlements, in which the companies agree to pay a fine but do not admit to any wrongdoing. What’s more, as part of the terms of these agreements, evidence of abuses that has been unearthed is put under seal, hidden permanently from public view. (For examples, see here, here, here, and here.)

Trudeau cites $32 billion in taxpayer money going to these ‘failure-factories.’ Here’s the NYT article, which provides that number as well as the average $7 million paycheck for the CEOs:  Harkin Report Condemns For-Profit Colleges.

The Apollo Group, which operates the University of Phoenix, the largest for-profit college, got $1.2 billion in Pell grants in 2010-11, up from $24 million a decade earlier. Apollo got $210 million more in benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. And yet two-thirds of Apollo’s associate-degree students leave before earning their degree.

Meanwhile, an associate degree or professional certificate program costs about four times as much as those through community colleges or public universities.

The most expensive college education:  where you leave with debt and no degree.

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How long should college take? Doonesbury weighs in.

In case you missed it a week ago, Garry Trudeau takes his turn at quoting Mr. Jefferson, and asks the question never heard in these parts: “Who’s Thomas Jefferson?”

How many years do you think a degree should take? See the full strip here.

Of course, Doonesbury could be reflecting changes to student financial aid programs which became effective July 1st. See the Project on Student Debt website for their Consumer Guide to Changes in Federal Pell Grants and Student Loans for 2012-13.

Change to Pell Grant Eligibility

Pell Grants are need-based federal grants available to both full-time and part-time undergraduate students. They do not need to be repaid. For the 2012-13 award year, the maximum Pell Grant remains at $5,550.

  • The maximum number of equivalent full-time semesters a student is eligible to receive a Pell Grant will drop from 18 to 12 semesters for all students, including those close to completion.

Meanwhile, some colleges don’t want students to finish too quickly. Here’s a UPI wirefeed titled, University sues over early graduation:

ESSEN, Germany, July 3 (UPI) — A German university is suing a student for lost income because he finished his bachelors and masters degrees in only 20 months.
The School of Economics and Management in Essen is asking the court to make former student Marcel Pohl, 22, pay an extra $3,772 after he obtained his degrees in only three semesters instead of the usual 11, The Local.de reported Tuesday.
“When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn’t be true,” Pohl told the Bild newspaper. “Performance is supposed to be worth something.”
Pohl said school officials agreed in advance he and two friends could take their 60 required exams despite divvying up the lecture hours between them and sharing notes afterward.
“We didn’t get any freebies, and we agreed [to] our plans in advance with the school,” Pohl said.
A university spokesman said officials do not want to comment before the case reaches court.

Hmm, sounds like he used his coursework well.

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Filed under At College, Paying for College

How Much Do You Owe? Doonesbury weighs in.

In case you missed it in Sunday’s paper, Garry Trudeau reports on the student loan debt and what colleges may be doing about it, including emergency job fairs offering part-time internships.

See the full strip here.

Regarding that reference to full-freight parents? Reminds me of the mentions of full-freight ability helping students vault off the wait list; this from Buying Your Way into College by Jane Kim, via Smart Money in 2009:

Middlebury College and Wake Forest University began looking at wait-listed students’ financial status as a factor in admissions last year.

Meanwhile, more colleges are officially moving away from need-blind admission policies. This from Need Too Much by Kevin Kiley, writing in Inside Higher Ed about Wesleyan’s recent decision:

Sometimes good intentions can blind one to the realities that something might not be sustainable.

In the face of financial pressures, Wesleyan University is moving away from its blanket need-blind admissions policy. Instead, the college is planning to peg increases in the size of its financial aid budget to the size of its overall budget. As long as that money meets need, it will consider students irrespective of their ability to pay. Once the aid runs out, however, the college will start factoring in family income and ability to pay. This effectively means that, unless the college can raise enough money, the last students admitted to the class each year (possibly 10 percent of the class) will not include those who need aid.

More of this to come, I am certain.
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Filed under Paying for College

Is College Worth It? Doonesbury weighs in.

Doonesbury on Is College Worth It?In case you missed it in Sunday’s paper, Garry Trudeau reports on the studies indicating students are doing more socializing than learning at our colleges and universities.

See the full strip here.

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