Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘student loan reform

A Few More Friday Links

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Temporary Boom in Humanities* We shouldn’t be assessing the health of the humanities by market-share metrics that are far more about demographics and the changing face of higher ed than they are about the intellectual shifts at the heart of actual humanities practice. Besides, the actual numbers show long-term stability post 1980:

The interpretation: The chart never quite reinforces the point that something terrible is going on in the humanities right now. Anyone looking at it closely will notice, as Michael Bérubé has, that the real collapse of humanities enrollments happened in the 1970s. The Great Recession has been less ruinous to enrollments than were the mid-1990s. Sure, a few Harvard majors have switched from history to government in the last decade: is that really a story?

But it does succeed in making the humanities appear massively out of date. And that’s a compelling story for all sorts of people. It makes humanists feel as though they deserve a larger share of the university, and that their sense of being under seige is due to the some pathology in the culture at large; it makes traditionalist critics of the humanities feel secure in pointing out that something has gone very wrong in the field.

* Malcolm Harris has a followup on his previous excellent student loan piece from Boston Review.

* Obama: PRISM Doesn’t Apply To U.S. Citizens. I don’t see how this could mean why Obama seems to be implying. Surely he’s saying that they’re collecting all data but only using data from noncitizens? How could they discriminate between citizen bandwidth and noncitizen bandwidth at the point of recording?

* But the real question: is Glenn Greenwald working for the ChiComs?

* Obama says go ahead kill all the wolves.

* And still another outrage of the day, as if your docket weren’t full: Hacker Who Exposed Steubenville Rape Case Could Spend More Time Behind Bars Than The Rapists.

Local News

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Thursday Links

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* New dystopian novella from Margaret Atwood. It’s a $2.99 Kindle single.

* A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday, during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.“

* Some student loan borrowers with the biggest debt loads didn’t fully understand what they were getting into when they borrowed the money, a survey of those borrowers has found. I’m shocked, shocked!

* Disney taking a bath on John Carter.

* …let’s start by setting forth two uncontroversial propositions. The first proposition is that the health care law is constitutional. The second is that the court could strike it down anyway.

* George Orwell reviews Mein Kampf.

Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarized version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation “Greatest happiness of the greatest number” is a good slogan, but at this moment “Better an end with horror than a horror without end” is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.

* Stand Your Ground and Vigilante Justice.

* Vernor Vinge Is Optimistic About the Collapse of Civilization. At least that’s one of us!

The $ in Univer$ities

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The For-Profit College Rip-Off: Predatory Schools Take 90 Percent Of Revenue From Govt, Leave Students Bankrupt.

The Education Department today released new data on the rate at which higher education students default on their student loans, which showed that students at for-profit colleges — schools like the University of Phoenix or Strayer University — are defaulting at rates far above those at other institutions. In fact, 25 percent of students who attend for profit colleges default within three years. Here’s a chart comparing default rates at different types of schools (the green bar represents defaults at private, for-profit schools).

Here are some more key facts about for-profit colleges:

– Just 11 percent of higher education students in the country attend for-profit schools, yet they account for 26 percent of federal student loans and 44 percent of student loan defaults.

– Many of the schools make up to ninety percent of their revenue from U.S. taxpayersthrough the Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and other federal assistance used by their students. 91.5 percent of Kaplan’s revenue comes from the government, along with 88 percent revenue at the University of Phoenix.

– CEO’s of for-profit colleges receive up to 26 times the amount of pay that the heads of traditional universities do.

Strayer CEO Robert Silberman was paid $41.9 million in 2009. As Bloomberg News noted, “Silberman’s annual compensation would have ranked him eighth on Equilar’s list of the highest-paid executives at the largest 1,000 companies.”

The schools also engage in aggressive recruiting and marketing tactics, promising students quick degrees and good jobs, when the result is more often a rip-off, resulting in “crushing debt and bleak job prospects.” A new report from the National Consumer Law Center said that the for-profits’ in-house loan programs are, for all intents and purposes, predatory.

There’s still more at the link.

But Probably Not

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“Not being able to attend your first choice college … [is] not the end of the world,” he says. “You can still have a productive life and career.”

$$$

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Friday Friday

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* Orrin Hatch is today’s douchebag of liberty, with hypocrisy so brazen it offends even Mark Halprin.

* An interesting paper flagged at The Sexist reveals that young men hold shocking double standards in the way they imagine themselves rejecting sex and the way they imagine women must. There’s an almost total lack of self-reflexivity here, as characterized by one of the authors of the study:

“The gist of it is that these young men evidenced an understanding of and even a preference for nuances and diplomatic communication to refuse sex, but then when discussing rape, reversed course and began to argue that anything the least bit ambiguous was unintelligible,” Millar writes.

* Steve Benen and Kevin Drum spare a moment for student loan reform, the other Big Fucking Deal legislation passed this week. Ezra Klein, too, notes that behind the large-scale reform of health care includes a lot of medium-scale reforms that might have been big fights on their own, but which slipped by without comment—suggesting that perhaps Obama really has been playing 11-dimensional chess all this time.

* The New England Journal of Medicine warns that the war over health care has only just begun. While repeal does not seem to me to be an especially important concern—among other things I don’t think Republicans can win the presidency in 2012 or get 67 votes in the Senate when they don’t—the authors raise important points about some difficult areas of implementation that need to be handled carefully by the Administration.

* Nate Silver has your health-care post-mortem.

On balance, I think if you polled Republican strategists right now and they were being honest, they’d probably concede that Democrats are better off for having brought health care to completion after having invested so much energy in it before. The Democrats have a case they can make now — we’re making the tough decisions and getting things done — which may not be horribly persuasive to much of the electorate but is at least marginally better than the complete directionlessness they seemed to be exhibiting a few weeks ago.

On the other hand, I think if you polled Democratic strategists and they were being honest, they’d probably concede that — electorally-speaking — Democrats would have been better off if they’d found a different direction last year, focusing perhaps on financial reform and then only turning to health care if their numbers warranted it. One of the risks in undertaking health care in the first place, indeed, is that there was essentially no exit strategy: no matter how badly the electorate reacted to the policy — and they reacted quite badly — Democrats would probably have been even worse off if they’d abandoned it somewhere along the way.

* And prodigy, 13, claims age discrimination by UConn. I for one welcome our new adolescent overlords…

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