Sunday, April 26, 2009

Datapoint: Re College Textbooks

When the money stops, people sometimes stop being busy being busy long enough to figure out what works and what doesn't. It's time to get rid of everything that doesn't work. Textbooks don't really work. The opportunity is in community colleges in the States. see last snippet.
The Universities in Trouble
from The New York Review of Books
"Since the financial meltdown began to accelerate last summer, the world has changed utterly for colleges and universities just as it has for everyone who had not been stashing cash under the mattress. Along with failing banks, auto manufacturers, and insurance companies, universities have been making headlines—especially those whose gigantic endowments (Harvard's was approaching $40 billion before the crash) have sharply declined. Last year, politicians and pundits were complaining about the unseemly wealth of such institutions. This year, alumni are getting e-mails from beleaguered presidents assuring them that Alma Mater will somehow ride out the storm.
. . .
Everyone knows about the competitive frenzy to get into a few highly ranked colleges, but in fact most of the 1,500 private colleges in the United States do not attract significantly more applicants than they can enroll. On the contrary, they struggle to meet enrollment targets, especially now that families in economic distress are turning to public institutions, which tend to be cheaper.[2]
. . .
At less selective private colleges, increasing the size of the student body is a dubious strategy. Their applicant pool has been shrinking as families turn to more affordable public institutions, especially to community colleges, where enrollments are up as financially strapped students choose to attend colleges where evening classes and part-time enrollment allow them to work during the day and live at home.[7] At the same time, unemployed adults are turning to community colleges in hopes of retraining themselves for jobs that require skills they currently lack.
. . .
Today the United States stands tenth, along with Australia, Spain, and Sweden, behind Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and France in the percentage of its young people (ages 25–34) who have earned a post-secondary degree.
. . .
A report released in January by the Lumina Foundation, "Trends in College Spending," concludes that "higher education is becoming more stratified," with enrollment growing in the institutions with the least resources—the public community colleges—as more and more students are "pushed out of higher-priced institutions."

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