Two articles of note from InsideHigherEd.com — one good, the other bad.
The good: This article about small schools using football to "correct" gender imbalances and how doing so sets male students up for failure. I’ve blogged before about the inadvisability of starting a football program up at a small school as a ploy to get more males to enroll, especially when you can’t afford it and it doesn’t enhance the academic climate.
The bad: This article, provocatively titled "The Children Left Behind", about a study that aims to investigate the socioeconomic factors that affect whether college students graduate. It’s bad because there are enough logical fallacies in here to make an introductory textbook. Here’s a snippet:
[T]he Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, a nonpartisan panel that advises Congress, estimates that in the 1990s, between 800,000 and 1.6 million low and moderate income high school students who were both academically qualified for and intent on attending a four-year college did not go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. In this decade, the panel concludes, another 1.4 million to 2.4 million similarly situated students face the same fate. The panel’s report describes the formula used to produce its “loss” estimates and projections (which is described below) as “extremely conservative.”
“These bachelor’s degree losses are an unmistakable signal that our nation has yet to make the full investment in student aid necessary to secure our economic future — a dire warning that we are requiring millions of students to mortgage their future and ours as well,” the panel writes in its report, which the advisory committee presented to Congress this week, drawing contrasting reactions from leaders of the two parties (more on that later).
The "contrasting reactions" were that the Democrats really, really want to spend more government money on financial aid, and the Republicans just really want to spend more government money on financial aid. Get it? It’s not how hard a student works in high school or once they are in college — it’s about the man keeping them down.
As you can tell, I continue to be unconvinced about the whole "access" issue; my college funds well over half of the expenses of the majority of our students, and a significant minority get well over 80% of their college paid for, and that’s just from garden-variety financial aid, without taking other scholarship opportunities into account. If a kid can’t afford to get into Harvard, then that’s not a problem with "access". There are plenty of high-quality schools that will lay out whatever amount of money it takes to get talented students enrolled — and retained.