This doesn't seem to be a parody.
[quote]How about these colleges take some of that tuition money and hire somebody who's job it is to say, "Hey, you're taking a fuckload of classes about puppets. Stop it." I don't mean someone you can talk to, I mean someone who talks to you. How about you make it a requirement to figure out how the fuck you're going to use your ability to dissect Othello to help you get a job doing actual shit. That class had 30 people in it—are they all going to become theater professors? How is that class not a pyramid scheme?
[quote]The stakes are high. Colleges aren't even making sure their students are prepared to make decisions about college. That shit is amoral, it's unethical. The university systems operate with the same mentality of a drug dealer—if you get hooked on their shit and fuck your life up, well, that's on you. If you want your money, Portland State, come pry it from my cold, dead "I don't have your money because I took a bunch of improv classes."
If you wanted someone to teach you a skill for the sole purpose of getting a job, you should have gone to community college or a trade school. It was never supposed to be the role of the universities to prepare people for immediate hire. It was to give them an overall education, teach them to think critically and independently, and prepare them for lifelong learning.
I do feel sorry for those who don't have a family history of higher education and who truly believe a "college education" will/should net them a job after graduation. It was never supposed to in the first place, and the fact that many universities have tweaked their programs to make their graduates attractive to universities is simply a sign of the universities responding to the demands of the industrial marketplace.
I might have known this was from the Portland Mercury.
Look for this to be a Portlandia episode soon
Apparently the provost should have taught him how to buy a towel, too.
[quote]I used to feel so fucking superior, lording over them my ability to write a persuasive essay. Now they own jet skis and go to Hawaii, and I still use the same towel my mom bought me before I moved into the dorms.
He appears to be in his late 20s.
Well, to be fair, the person writing that has a point. He's not making it very well but it's worth pointing out. Universities have become industries and in the process, adopted a more corporate mentality. What do American corporations want most? Customers' money. Students are the customers for universities. They want their money. So, when it comes to giving out financial aid, they are very willing to lend and not all that helpful. They should have counselors who talk to potential lenders about the realities of student loan debt. Instead, the culture is based on encouraging students to borrow maximum amounts of money. The only winners in this set-up are the universities.
I'm sure that many people would think twice about the amount of money they borrow if they knew that they can't discharge student loans in bankruptcy.
Frontline did an episode about how bogus "colleges" are taking GI Bill money. A generation ago, these colleges were advertising on the back of matchbook covers. Rules have been relaxed so that for-profit "trade schools" can now call themselves colleges after making a few changes. I know someone who is a retired provost who now has a job upstate turning a trade school into a "university."
What was sad was how these ex-GIs were the first ones in their families to go to college, so they had no experience picking schools. They get bombarded with ads on military messageboards and via email. One guy got an extraordinarily expensive degree in "graphic arts" because he was good at drawing cartoons. Remember matchbooks from years ago? "Of you can draw this pirate, you can be an illustrator!" The guy had used his GI bill money and took loans to finish his worthless degree and was now deeply in hock.
Another ex-GI had traumatic brain injury which caused him to have difficulty understanding complex things and which made him get very angry. He'd used his GI bill money trying to get a degree in something he never could finish -- they showed holes he'd punched in his wall from frustration trying to meet course requirements. These "colleges" and "universities" use ex-military people to convince these other poor ex-military suckers to sign up for a degree and hand over the GI bill money.
Then there are colleges that are pushing health care careers when hospitals are closing all over the place and as Medicate funds are being cut.
My nephew got a degree in something utterly ridiculous like "Film and Culture."
He was told by his college counselor that his BA degree didn't matter. It would be his masters degree that would land him a job. He then went into the military for GI bill money to get a master's degree.
This person who wrote the screed in OP's post is trying to make a valid point but is too self-involved and inarticulate to do it successfully.
[quote]...hire somebody who's job it is to say...
Well, I guess he didn't major in English.
[quote]If you wanted someone to teach you a skill for the sole purpose of getting a job, you should have gone to community college or a trade school. It was never supposed to be the role of the universities to prepare people for immediate hire.
I thought so too until my company began to demand its applicants for secretarial positions have college degrees.
Gone were the bright happy gals with high school diplomas replaced by the sullen bitches who were mad because they had college degrees and all they were was secretaries.
I always assume anything with the word "Portland" associated to be parody.
The article is indicative of a much larger issue that will have a huge impact down the road on the economy, which is the cost of a college education, and how students have to take on massive loans.
A typical student graduating from a shitty state school will graduate with anywhere between $40-100k in loans. Only to enter a work force where wages have not increased in decades. These people are saddled with this debt for ever. There is no loan forgiveness for student loans - even bankruptcy will not get someone out of their loans.
Ans yes, the student who wrote the original letter is a maroon. College is not a vocational school, sweetie.
The kids now are not unlike the indentured servants of yore...
NC's Republican governor recently went on a rant about worthless liberal arts degrees and wants to tie funding of state universities to the number of graduates who get jobs.
Two conservatives blasted his ideas:
[quote] Ironically, the notion of colleges and universities as factories for job-performance smacks much more of leftist, socialist societies where individuals were not valued for their knowledge or perception but for their ability to perform tasks. As a philosophy, conservatism has in fact battled this idea for hundreds of years. The governor is apparently not familiar with this history. Perhaps his education was not liberal enough.
The irony is that the guv, himself, has a liberal arts degree.
[quote]There is no loan forgiveness for student loans
Student loans are forgiven after 20 years of repayment.
[quote]Student loans are forgiven after 20 years of repayment.
There's no forgiveness for *delinquent* student loans.
I don't understand why everyone feels like they have to go to a four year university these days. My friend's daughter has attended four different universities in two years. She is miserable at each school, and has no idea what to do with her life. My friend said that she will probably just end up marrying a rich guy and not working, yet he has taken out 80k worth of personal loans to pay for her education. Another friends daughter is getting a bachelors degree in criminal justice so she can be a parol officer...200k in debt for a criminal justice degree to get a job that you don't need a degree for? It makes no sense.
R13 - Monthly loan payments are no more than 10 percent of discretionary income, defined as you income minus 150 percent of the poverty guideline. If you are delinquent, it's because you're an idiot.
[quote] Universities have become industries and in the process, adopted a more corporate mentality. What do American corporations want most? Customers' money. Students are the customers for universities. They want their money. So, when it comes to giving out financial aid, they are very willing to lend and not all that helpful.
It's a two way street.
I'm in my thirties and finishing a BA. I'm around a lot of twenty year olds that have a very transactional view of college - I've spent money, so therefore I should get the degree that I want, period.
Most of them don't show up to class on time, if they show up at all, and spend the majority of the class trying to surf Facebook or their cell phones. And if they're called out for it, then they have a big hissy fit with tears and the attending visit to the dean's office. (Not to mention mom/dad/stepdad/stepmom calling later to harass the professor about the grade they were given.)
Almost no one at that age understands that the coursework is meant to challenge you - it's simply a tepid goalpost for lazy undergraduates to hit as blindly as possible.
I don't at ALL disagree that universities have become corporate entities, and they've led a lot of people who have no business going to college into a mindboggling amount of debt.
What we are missing in the US is more meaningful trade schools and apprenticeships so that people can learn practical skiils. Not everyone is meant for a university experience. And that's not me being elitist or snobby - everyone has their strengths and for some folks, it's not in knowledge based industries.
I also think more US colleges, or specific trade schools, need to focus more on STEM fields.
I grew up poor and was on my own at 18. No money for college. I went to community college for 5 years and got the majority of my general ed out of the way while I was working 2 jobs. Finally realized I wasn't going anywhere in my life and applied for UCLA and was accepted. I took out the max in student loans which was $25,000 at an interest of 9%. I graduated in 1995.
Cut to 2004 when I was laid off. Got an unemployment deferment for the two years I couldn't afford to pay the minimum payment. At the end of those 2 years of deferment, I owed $35,000 because of the interest.
I've been paying on them now for 7 years and now owe $27,000. I will be well into my 50's before they are paid off.
I will never be able to afford a house in CA. I'm still making the same wages I was making in 2004 and often take on 2nd jobs just to try to put some money away.
BUT, had I not taken out the loans, I would probably be in a similar boat but without an education. Not that it mattered in the long run. I've never heard of loans being forgiven after 20 years. I consolidated with Sallie Mae already and they refuse to let me refinance at a lower interest rate. I've tried.
What r1 said, a hundred times over. This "what good is literature going to do me in the workforce" crap is insane.
[quote] I don't understand why everyone feels like they have to go to a four year university these days.
Because even jobs in the mailroom now require applicants to have a Bachelor's Degree.
That isn't true, r19.
R20, have your READ job postings for reputable companies lately? First thing listed under "requirements" for even the most basic entry-level positions is "Bachelor's Degree."
R20, as someone who (a) is back in college now and (b) has experience in the HR/career field, I can tell you that it MOST CERTAINLY IS true.
Most entry level jobs require a BA. I was lucky in a much more applicant-friendly job market to land some administrative gigs that I did great at without a BA, but it's almost impossible in this market to get anything in the corporate world without one now.
Jobs that required a BA and 3-5 years of experience 5 to 10 years ago are now saying "Masters preferred."
It used to be a good thing if an applicant matched 80% of what a job listing outlined as duties/requirements. These days, companies will get dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants who match 100%. It's a rough market.
[quote]I'm sure that many people would think twice about the amount of money they borrow if they knew that they can't discharge student loans in bankruptcy.
I certainly would have. I'm not in a position of having wages garnished because I wasn't able to make sufficient payments.
I graduated a year early from high school I had no problem getting loans and staying in college far longer than I should have. But I received minimal guidance and most of it useless. Nor did my parents care as it wasn't their money.
I now have two bachelor degrees, in advertising and psychology, and a minor in French. Oh, and some postgraduate work.
It wasn't until I was really nearly done with the BA in psych that I realized I didn't want to go into clinical or teaching and a BA in psych isn't worth much. So I had an advertising minor and changed to a double major.
As you can imagine, I'm not currently working in either field.
I absolutely accept that I made some poor choices but the university's academic advising did nothing to discourage any of those choices.
I never took out loans as an undergraduate and am now back in scool pursuing a graduate degree in engineering after being out of school for 15 years. I have taken out loans but calculated what I would need given my living expenses and borrowed only about a third of what I was offered. I was required to attend an information session conducted by the university's director of financial aid, as well as complete on-line information modules after which there were quizzes. You are absolutely made aware of the obligations you're assuming. And I don't see too many slackers amongst the 20-somethings but perhaps that's due to the intense nature of engineering programs.
Colleges taking advantage of students is nothing new.I went through this 32 years ago. I was accepted to a college, and took out student loans. It was a very big mistake, because I was unprepared academically. As it turned out,there were many of us there in the same situation. Usually, we were minorities, military or people from families that had no experience with higher education. The college was so devoid of students that there were empty dorm rooms. Some were filled by students from a nearby tech school.The college in question was accepting just about anyone who could fill out the application! We realized we had been taken advantage of and should not have been accepted. Nevertheless, we still had loans to repay and very little income with which to do that! I never contemplated defaulting on the loans, but nowadays, looking back, I question that choice.
As it turned out, the college needed to obtain money from scholarships, grants, loans and such. In order to do that, they need that student enrolled in the school. They don't give a rat's ass if you can't do the work. You'll be gone in a year, maybe two, and some other sucker will be in your place.
Forget about part time studies at that college. They had an outrageous part-time plan that discouraged such a thing.
If you want an education, just pick up the books and start reading. Learn to think critically. Learn to debate. There are other ways to learn a foriegn language. Many of the goals it appears a college degree are needed for can be accomplished without the college!
[quote]If you want an education, just pick up the books and start reading. Learn to think critically. Learn to debate. There are other ways to learn a foriegn language. Many of the goals it appears a college degree are needed for can be accomplished without the college!
Very true r25, but credentials are more important than knowledge in these professionalized times.
[quote] If you want an education, just pick up the books and start reading. Learn to think critically. Learn to debate. There are other ways to learn a foriegn language. Many of the goals it appears a college degree are needed for can be accomplished without the college!
I appreciate the idea, but this isn't quite true. That being said, a degree doesn't automatically equal a job, either.
Reading does help, as does attending public events related to that field. If I was 18 or 19 again I would take a year and try to get a volunteer position at a company or job in the field(s) I was interested in to get a real sense of what that field is like. You'd be surprised how many people spend 100K+, get the degree, get a job and then say, "oh...I hate this."
I also spent a year taking my prerequisites at a community college. It was $1500 a semester, and with the scholarship I have at my university it's a lot cheaper. Many people are doing the first year or two at a community college and it makes way more financial sense, plus a lot of those 2 year schools have programs that easily identify what credits to transfer or what classes to take that will easily transfer over.
I live in the Hamptons and if you are a good plumber or roofer or even a good handyman you can make a fortune out here. The 1% builds bigger houses every year. They move into the bigger houses and people buy their old houses (usually 7 or 8 years old) and completely renovate them. We actually have traffic jams on the back roads in the dead of winter from 3pm til 5pm because of all the work that's being done out here. I tried to tell my nephew, "you can get an affordable townhouse a half an hour way in Manorville and make plenty of money if you learn how to put in flooring or do moulding."
But he insisted on wasting money on a degree in cinema.
Master carpenters out here live in mansions. They pick and choose their projects. One thing though -- never work on a lawyer's house. You won't get paid.
r27, please.Some of the best educated people I know are self-taught. They were older people from the days when college was for mostly the wealthy and discrimination against many things was a given. Just consider Malcolm X! When asked where he obtained his education, he answered back, "Books!" A student,enrolled in a school or not,in order to be truly educated must do far more reading than the textbook or the suggested reading list. One can't do just the minimum reading and thinking to be a professional or at least educated on a topic.
A homespun education may not get a person a job, but there is no guarantee that degree will lead to employment.
I came out of community college and UCLA in the mid-90's with $6,000 in loans. I could have finished with $0 in loans if I had lived with my mom and commuted, but I wanted the "college" experience and took out a loan to cover rent for a Westwood apartment. I don't regret doing that. Actually I wished I had lived near campus for more than a year. I repaid the loan within 2 years.
The educational choice I do think about was grad school. Regret is too strong to describe it but knowing what I do now, I may not have made the same choice. I'm in DC where a BA is the equivalent of a GED so a masters degree is the really the minimum for any meaningful white collar job. So I don't regret going to grad school but perhaps I would have stayed in California and gotten my degree at a UC rather than come out to DC and attended a private school. Yes, my grad program is ranked #1 in the field but considering I'm a basically a paper pusher, I probably would have gotten the same jobs if my degree was from UC San Diego. Instead I took out 70K in loans for the prestigious private school.
So yeah, my advice is not only to consider if college is needed, but to also weigh the value of the schools and programs. Consider the field in which you want to work and see if it makes sense to go to an expensive private school rather than a cheaper alternative. Paying 42K in annual tuition at Georgetown so you can then work as a social worker for 35K a year isn't a great idea.
R29, I don't at all disagree with anything you said. In fact, my reading skills were the thing, quite frankly, that got me as far as I did in my corporate career without a degree.
But I am back in college right now because most midlevel and upper level jobs are in a gated world. And regardless of your job experience, you simply don't get seen without a degree.
In the old days, when an actual live person would look at a resume, career achievements might have trumped education. In the 21st century, when resume intake is done electronically, any online application without a degree gets an automatic buh-bye.
"I always assume anything with the word "Portland" associated to be parody."
Unfortunately not. It's all true.
Put the dog in the baby jogger and let's go to the Artisan Salt Store!
"It was never supposed to be the role of the universities to prepare people for immediate hire. It was to give them an overall education, teach them to think critically and independently, and prepare them for lifelong learning."
Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world that valued ANY of those?
If corporate America could figure out how to get robots to do everything, they'd love it.
[quote]Paying 42K in annual tuition at Georgetown so you can then work as a social worker for 35K a year isn't a great idea.
Don't be dramatic, R30. No one goes to Georgetown so they can knock on doors peddling their social work degree. You go there for the prestige and connections.
Yes, connections. Not one person on this thread has mentioned how important they are. College, particularly an elite one, is a great way to forge those necessary relationships that will get you those internships that lead to your first job.....and jobs after, etc.
My son is a junior in college now and all of his friends who have internships have gotten them either through their own family connections or those of their college buddies.
[quote] It used to be a good thing if an applicant matched 80% of what a job listing outlined as duties/requirements. These days, companies will get dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants who match 100%. It's a rough market.
So do you have any advice on how to get a job if you're not a 100% match? I'm trying to make a career transition and have applied to so many jobs that I know I am perfectly capable of doing and that 5-10 years ago I'd have gotten easily. These days, though, it's not enough that I *can* do the job because I'm competing against a thousand other applicants who've already done it. I've been feeling pretty hopeless lately.