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Affluent Students Dominate Top Colleges

From Georgia Tech to Michigan to Harvard, affluent students dominate top college enrollment. We’ll look at what that means for the country.

Graduates walk at Harvard's Commencement exercises. (linoleum jet/Flickr)

Graduates walk at Harvard's Commencement exercises. (linoleum jet/Flickr)

From the Ivy League to the great state colleges and universities across this country, going to a top school can be a very real advantage.

Look at our top execs. Google — Michigan. Wal-Mart — Georgia Tech. Exxon Mobil — Texas. Or our last four presidents, with Columbia, Yale, Georgetown, Yale — and Harvard, too.

But who gets into the top schools? Disproportionately, the affluent.

Despite years of effort now, the golden door is still opening most widely to “them that’s got.” That’s a problem for a “land of opportunity.”

This hour On Point: top colleges, affluent students.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Anthony Marx, president of Amherst College.

Kevin Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin system.

Jeff Strohl, economist and research director at  Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    Is it old money[IQ?]? or old culture? Gradually integrated geo-history? or do affluent yet 1st generation youth, strive, and succeed IN LIFE? as well as academically.
    One or two dimentions is just not the whole/big picture, x-ray vision? or hidden truth??? [igno-safety? pre-vantage]

  • Shrazat

    Remembering Mark Haines of CNBC – What a Loss!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTppoBZKC4s&feature=related

    To Tom Ashbrook’s Interns:
    Could you please make sure that Tom sees this clip about Mark Haines.

  • Anonymous

     This comes as a surprise? Welcome to the new gilded age.

  • Joseph

    And thanks to Obama’s failed economic policies, this years top college graduates might get a job making Happy Meals at McDonald’s, if they’re lucky.

    • Butchfoote

      The economy failed because GWBush II, an ‘affluent’ student who  couldn’t have gotten into the schools he went to on his own merits, dropped taxes, increased federal employment and doubled the National Debt on an unparalleled spending spree.  I takes years to recover from this kind of stupidity. 

    • Cory

      We oughta impeach that guy.  I heard he’s a socialist.

  • Roger Runnalls

    Rising income inequality in US leads to lower social mobility…no surprise here.  The current generation of college graduates is the first to face less opportunity than its parents.  Thank you Ronald Reagan for lowering taxes to start this ball rolling and George Bush and Barack Obama for continuing it another decade.  Question is, will Obama give in again to the the hostage-takers in 2012?  He needn’t since he should be easily reelected before the tax cuts sunset.  Restore tax rates to those under Eisenhower and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: federal deficit will disappear as will income inequality.  Let’s go back to the 50′s when allot more seemed right with America.

    • Joseph

      The U.S. has experienced two consecutives years of unemployment above 9% and you think raising taxes in a recession is going to restore economic prosperity?

      President Kennedy cut tax rates across the board and tax receipts to the goverment actually increased, along with economic prosperity. 

      • Jim978

        Bill Clinton increased the top tax rate from 31% to 39.6%.  Tax revenues rose throughout his presidency.  In addition, we enjoyed economic prosperity during his two terms.

      • Cory

        Joe is so right.  We must cut taxes, especially for the affluent.  They are the job creators!

      • ThresherK

        The next time the top marginal tax rate is 90%-ish, yo’ll have made a good point.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sympathetic to your where your comment is coming from but I have to ask have you ever head the saying “you can’t go home again”. We can’t go back to the 50′s. By the way that was also a time when industry polluted the air and water without and regulations and they sprayed DDT in the streets. We also had Jim Crow laws in effect in the South. Nostalgia has the tendency to only bring up found memories.

  • Zing

    The fix is easy; teach the poor for free.

  • notafeminista

    Can’t teach the poor for free for two reasons:  1)It ain’t free  2)Humans (being self-interested first and foremost always and forever) will all want to be free.

  • notafeminista

    Darn it, everyone will want to be POOR.

    • Anonymous

      No, only people who think as you do.

    • ThresherK

      Those damn Lucky Duckies!

  • notafeminista

    What I find more interesting is how this is anyone’s business? People are still attending top colleges despite the discrepancy in tuition cost, thus keeping untold numbers of professors, administrators and support staff employed in these trying times.  Isn’t that a good thing?  No, apparently instead we’re going to wring our hands over the fact that someone didn’t get to attend Harvard or Stanford or fill in the top college of your choice because he or she couldn’t afford it.   Talk about glass half empty time.

    • Anonymous

      By your comments I see you think if one is not able to afford higher education they should be denied it. That even if they have the brains and the ability they should be denied education. This is idiotic.
      I recently heard a doctor in being interviewed from Pakistan, where there is serious talk of putting together a National Health care system, that government should have a hand in taking care of health and education.  That education and health were the keys to a productive society. Seems like a rational idea.

  • twenty-niner

    If they have money, they might want to stay in school for the next decade.

    “Fresh out of college, slim hope for a job”

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/05/19/vanhorn.zukin.jobs/index.html

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/mcdonalds1.jpg

  • Amy from Canton, MA

    I cannot wait to hear this show. I’m almost certain it will be suggested that domination of college enrollment by the affluent is a worrisome trend. I tend to agree, as I highly value education. At this point in history, it really is time that less-than-affluent people are able to get a college education without spending their lives in debt. However, I’d like to ask your guests to play devil’s advocate, and suggest some positive outcomes of the trend. Are there any benefits to college enrollment being dominated by people who can easily afford it?

  • Ellen Dibble

    As I understand it, top colleges are angling their endowments to position themselves to guarantee that no student turns away because of financial considerations.  The idea being that top education should be as free as the student needs it to be.  If a college cannot guarantee that, how can the college get the top students?  How can it continue to be a top college?
        Next question:  How does that college build an endowment that allows for that?  Answer:  Make sure you have a student body that will become alumni/alumnae who will be willing and able to replenish that endowment.
        Next question:  Would such a student body be a bunch of achievers?  Climbers?  In a truly free market system, with equal opportunity for all, “top” education would seem to guarantee that.  
       But would such a student body be a bunch of well-connected individuals, pre-networked into the best-heeled corners of society.  To the extent we have a sort of caste system, there would need to be a greater share of the already affluent in highly selective institutions such as Amherst College and the University of Wisconsin.
        Final factor:  the projected cost of supplying said education.

  • notafeminista

    The key comment in your response is finding people “who will be WILLING to replenish the endowment”….if they are not willing, then able becomes a moot point.

    • Ellen Dibble

      So you (the college president) tell the students upon graduation:  “You ‘owe’ us; nobody at this institution pays full freight; every single one of you is being subsidized by the benefactors to the tune of X thousands of dollars each year.”
           And then you make sure to maintain the esprit de corps, especially as those graduates grow older, giving them plenty of opportunities, especially for those who are richer, to renew friendships and connections to that institution.  It must at least appear that the particular education is vital to success, if not theirs, then that of others.
          I think the object is for students to be influential, more than successful in the monetary sense, but I suppose we’ll hear more this morning.  

  • twenty-niner

    We should have a national technical university similar to IIT in India, where tuition and expenses are fully paid, and where admission is based on an entrance test, and that alone – no points for being an alumni, wealthy, poor, or of a certain ethnicity.

    • Cory

      That’s un-American.

      • Anonymous

        No it’s not. My father went to City College in NY City for almost nothing. He came from a pretty lower middle class background.
        Of course he did have the GI bill, but CUNY use to be free if you were smart enough to get in. This is how it use to be. He had a very successful career and life.

        Higher education like health care is broken in this country. The other problem is how intellectualism is shunned by many in this nation.  

        • Cory

          Obviously you are correct.  You should know me better by now, Geffe!

      • rl

        In what way?  Are you one of these who confuse being American with Capitalism?  India graduates thousands of engineers a year. That’s where all our good jobs are being outsourced by your capitalist heros who have no allegiance to country but only to the bottom line.

        • Cory

          You are absolutely right.  I was just feeling sarcastic and parroting the usual silly conservative mantra.

    • An_IITian_Alumnus

      Some facts about IITs in India:

      1. Tuition and Expenses are NOT paid in full, though they are less when compared to tuition in private engineering colleges.

      2. There is India’s version of affirmative action and a certain percentage of seats are reserved for certain populations based on caste (and there are talks to offer reservation based on religion), and the threshold for entrance is much lower for those who qualify under affirmative action than it is for regular students.

      3. These colleges are subsidized by the government, and many/most students from IIT choose to move to USA or Europe for higher studies and work, thus shafting the tax-payers. The purpose of subsidizing the tuition  – by tax-payers – was so that the students would give back that lower tuition fees by choosing to work in India and improve the conditions in the society. Sadly, that has not happened and in that sense, the investment in IITs by offering subsidized tuition rates has not been successful – at least not to the extent it was meant to be.

      Why should Indian tax-payers take on the burden of paying for someone else’s education who would not return anything back to the society?

      • twenty-niner

        Interesting.

        I know several Indian engineers who studied in the South (of India), none from IIT.

  • Patrick

    The extreme cost of college is easy to understand.  All of the absurd amenities found at many private schools are just a convenient justification for the high price tag, which is actually an end in itself.  This way, colleges can focus on making bids for the narrowing slice of wealthy and super-wealthy in this country, and secure a donor base that will last into the aristocratic future that awaits us all.

  • http://twitter.com/iambrandsuz Suz Carter

    I am thrilled to see Wisconsin as part of the program – go badgers.

  • notafeminista

    “Tuition and expenses are fully paid….”  by whom please?

    • Ellen Dibble

      No one will be denied entrance because of inability to pay.  The endowment must provide for those.  It is a privilege to the privileged to be educated among those from nonprivileged backgrounds, so the cost to the endowment pays off in terms of the diversity of the student body, which keeps everybody on solid ground, hopefully.

    • twenty-niner

      We gave $4.46 billion in aid to Pakistan last year, only to find Bin Laden holed up in a compound big enough to crash a helicopter in, about 100 yards from the Pakistani military academy. $4.46 billion would be a good start.

  • William

    The education industrial complex in America has really destroyed a once great upper education system. Overpaid and under utilized professors, bloated administrative staffs, out of control costs of books, never ending list of “fees”. Congress ignores the problem and just allows these “education welfare queens” so soak the average college student dry.

  • notafeminista

    “You owe us” is a great idea, and then what?  The Universities demand replenishment of the endowment?  That’s not willing, that’s coercion and it’s not free.

    • Ellen Dibble

      “You owe us” is very different from straight out taxation.   Arguments on this thread go to the idea that higher education should be socialized.  A private college can be very persuasive without being coercive with regard to appeals for donations.

  • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston Aki Stamatelaky

    I always wondering why is it so hard to be educated in America. It will cost a fortune to be a college graduate and pay off the college debt until the student reach retirement age not including house mortgage and car payments. My college tuition fees are paid off before I have my degree. It only cost me $25,000 for a 4 year college degree and education is decent not great but highly competitive with other Asian countries. Some of my high school classmates are even working for the US Government, United Nations and Top notch Hospitals all over the world with a diploma from a third world country. Education should be Free in my opinion

  • Pancake

    How are intelligence and ability measured? I’m a rich girl and I know. Intelligence is being smart enough to manage the family money by networking and colluding with people above and in the same bracket. Ability is being able to zip your lip when you see injustice that when being corrected will diminish your fortune or income. I know this because my mother and my uncles tell me I’m dumb and inept almost every week. And yet my trust checks arrive every month as appointed. If I had never been bought into Vanderbilt and Union Seminary and NYU I’d continue to receive the same amount. And if I’d flunked out, the same.

  • Contactdavidf

    The net result of this trend will be less innovation. Wasn’t there a study recently published that said Scandinavian countries had a greater degree of market innovation than the U.S.?  Their authors concluded national health care and subsidized education led to those citizens being able to take chances, raising their countries’ overall wealth and GDP. 

    • Pancake

      “Market innovation!” So, selling non-essential stuff and finding new ways to cheat people is the height of technology? I should think that the engineered and unpunished Meltdown indicate where this line of reasoning leads. And here you are living in a country where one can hardly become a doctor without first being a prodigy in financial vampirism. (medicalization) Reading Foucault these past weeks has alerted me to look for the disciplinary technologies being deployed on a captive and dependent population. Co-opting any higher education student accidentally originating in the working class should be no challenge at all. (inducting new blood) Concentration of wealth and power in an economy intensifies it’s own monetary gravity exponentially until a black hole of debt is achieved. All property and intellect are sucked into a vortex  that will only get hungrier. (And this in normal times of resource plenty and a healthy diverse ecology)  So that is how we keep the able ignorant and the ignorant able.

  • Cory

    This one is easy.  The affluent are affluent for a reason.  They are better than the rest of us in every measurable way.  It only makes sense that their children should attend the most prestigious and expensive schools and succeed as well.  The riff-raff ought not ask questions and should stay out of their way.  Obstructing the “Ubermenschen” is ultimately bad for all of us.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Well said.  And it is the admissions committees that select those Ubermenschen, with an eye to $$$.  I’m waiting to see the best answer to you, Cory.

      • Cory

        Sometimes the worst thing you can do to conservatives is simply state their arguments/feelings.

    • ebw343

      I hope you’re being sarcastic. I’m 90% sure you are but you can never tell on the internet.
      If not, I can counter your argument with two words.   Paris Hilton.

      • Pancake

        Using them German words always means it’s sarcastic. “Marx” and “Hitler” are the icing on the cake for the junk philosophy consumers.
        Such is the state of higher education: intellectual caps. Wealth and income caps would be a better solution. Some one should bust a cap in their endowments. Education can occur under a tree using a stick in the dirt if people really want to learn. Feed your head, don’t sell it.

        • Cory

          Can’t slip the ole curveball by you, pancake!

      • Cory

        Busted!

  • Emiller

    Access to education is one of the major vehicles for social mobility in modern societies. As it tightens we waste more and more talent and become less and less democratic. We can’t afford NOTto make education more accessible.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    One of the many reasons (besides cost) that kids from poor families aren’t going to college is illiteracy. We have a growing (not shrinking) amount of illiteracy in these families.

    We could pay for all of these people to go to college (figuratively) and they’d still have a rough time or flunk out for lack of literacy.

    The decline of American public education, a rise in immigration and ESL issues, and a growing population of language learning disabilities is leading to a lack of literacy in young people that’s frightening.

  • Former 1st-generation student

    I went to an Ivy League school as the first in my family to attend college. I had substantial aid (this was a while ago), a work study job, and a federal loan.

    I had a great education, but no one helped me with the next step, trying to figure out what I wanted to do (or COULD do) with my degree. One professor suggested grad school, but I was concerned about my student loan and couldn’t see how a graduate degree in English would help me. I ended up in a string of deadend jobs and finally did go back to grad school, but I still earn less than many of my cousins, who studied voc-tech subjects in high school and got jobs right afterward.

    Today, when colleges DO admit students who aren’t part of the old-college network, I hope they’re following up and guiding these students for the post-college world, because those like me probably have no idea what to do next. (Unless they go to law or med school,  that is.)

  • LinP

    Affluent Students Dominate Top Colleges–no kidding, is the only polite way I can put it.

    I have 4 children. Two currently in two of the top private colleges in the country. The youngest on track for same. The oldest in grad school at Cambridge in the UK. I am first generation college who figured out how to get a good education and has done well. My husband went all the way through undergrad and grad school at MIT paying his own way. We are not uber wealthy, but we are educated, and were lucky enough to buy in a in a community (before the housing price bubble) where the public schools are tremendous

    Long way of saying, being surrounded by high achievers makes high achieving seem possible, and my community provides that. My children regularly sit around the dinner table talking about whether they want to pursue medicine vs. law vs. research vs. farming.

    Let me tell you, coming from their background, as opposed to where I came from, their privilege has made the idea of college and lives of service and professional fulfillment real to them. Money and living where we live has played a huge role in that mindset. I have no doubt about that.

    Growing up with NO money as I did with NO role models, and NO ONE helping me figure it out I was VERY lucky to have overcome the obstacles accomplish what I have. Now the odds are stacked even higher for children of lesser privilege, and how they get in the game is beyond me. My service work is to help such kids, and I see the odds against them are deep and daunting.

  • Cory

    Go figure.  Left wing NPR show has a guest named “Marx”.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    It gets worse: In California, a bill has been proposed that would allow students to “pay their way off of waiting lists” as a way of generating money for the broke state.

    http://www.good.is/post/should-college-students-to-be-able-to-pay-their-way-off-wait-lists/

    Ugh.

  • Gabi

    Trio Programs are a sure way to get lower income kids whose parents never attended higher education to go to college. I was selected by my guidance counselor to attend Upward Bound, a summer program to get this demographic into college, helping them understand the options, etc. It is a government program that addresses exactly this issue.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Private schools are exactly that:  private.  They get to set their own standards and their own tuition rates.  The state colleges have a different obligation.  Too many don’t want to pay for an educational system (read taxes), but the state colleges ought to admit anyone who is qualified.

    The concern that I do have is that the standards for admission will get lowered in an effort to improve the situation.

    • Former 1st-generation student

      My son is a junior looking at colleges. We borrowed an old guide to the “best” colleges from a friend, and comparing the SAT scores and GPA and class rank from that 2009 book to the scores etc. online about this year’s freshman class at the same colleges, we’ve found that all of these numbers have gone UP, not down, over the past few years.

      It’s even getting hard to get into Northeastern U, which used to be a popular choice among the kids of working and middle class families in the Boston area because of coop.

      It’s NOT that standards are or will be lowered; it’s a question of how expensive it is to apply to colleges ($75 per school, and more kids are encouraged to apply to 6-8 schools), and how expensive their tuitions are. Not everyone realizes you could get better financial aid at some of these high-priced schools.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Agreed. Best to work on illiteracy and basic reading skills so that more people are qualified.

  • nj

    Some of the countries in which some of all “higher” education is offered at no or very reduced direct cost to citizens, and, sometimes, even foreign students: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, England, Australia, Scotland, France, Greece…

    Just sayin’…

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Those countries also have no demand for universal education.  Students get sorted into tracks in the lower levels, and only the university track students go to those excellent schools.  Others go to trade schools.

      • Cory

        Funny thing is, I understand the German education system much better than I understand our own.  Why don’t we have something workable that facilitates everyone from prince to pauper and genius to moron?  Can’t all find productive and meaningful lives?  More trade schools would be a good start.

  • rl

    It’s also the cost!

    An *average* private college in New England costs $40K – $50K per year.  This is out of reach for many middle class people who don’t qualify for Federal financial aid.

  • Wsloane

    I teach at Bunker Hill Community College.  I work on sending these students to top schools.  We have two at Amherst, thanks to Tony Marx.

    With Tony Marx stepping down, this situation is very bleak.  I went to Williams and to Yale.  I know what my students can do.  This situation is a nightmare.  We do well with the few seats there are. 

    However:  There are very few seats at the top colleges.  Even if the top colleges opened their doors to all community college students, you’d fill maybe 200,000 seats.  Well, there are six million in community college.

    This policy debate has to keep its eye on the ball.  I am, of course, speaking for myself here. 

    Tony Marx:  Thank you.  I miss you already. 

    Wick Sloane
    617 230 2181
    wsloane@well.com

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the K-12 education did produce multiples of the current number of students qualified for top-flight college education, does the United States have enough college to provide that education?
        How many Amherst College or Williams College or Harvard or Yale must we have?  I believe the United States population has more or less tripled since about 1950, and I don’t think we have tripled our top-notch college base.

  • J. Myers

    As a low income student who did attend a top tier college (Harvard) – I came away with a concern about how the lack of economic diversity skews the views of those who will lead this country.  From my perspective, it seemed that most students at my top tier college DID NOT REALIZE they were affluent.  They looked around – and since everyone looked like them, economically, they assumed they were middle class – and they extrapolate their opinions on policies and politics from this faulty assumption.
    These are the people who will likely be leaders in our businesses and government – and they graduate from these schools with a completely inaccurate view of the social and economic make-up of this country.

    • ThresherK

      I came away with a concern about how the lack of economic diversity skews the views of those who will lead this country.

      My instinct tells me that is also why this subject isn’t much in the media: It doesn’t get talked about by the right people at the right parties.

  • Willaworks

    It is my understanding that students that apply early decision/action give up most opportunities for financial aide. That coupled with a VERY high rate of the incoming freshman are indeed Ed/ea applicants, in some cases over 50% of the incoming…

  • Sanel

    I don’t think that US educational system is “second to none”. I studied in Europe and their schools are far more superior compare to US schools, and the best part is, they are free.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Money buys good things.  That’s obvious.  I wish that I could afford a Porsche, but I can’t.  I get by with a Nissan.  To continue the analogy, some people have to get places on a bus.  Should we have better public transportation?  Yes.  Should we ban people from owning and driving Porsches?  No.

    What I’m saying is that we have work to do in the elementary and secondary school system.  Cut class sizes and school sizes.  Have enough schools that students will live within a mile or two of their schools.  Pay teachers the equivalent of others with the same levels of education.  This will cost money, but it will work.  In a generation or two, the problem of grinding poverty will solve itself as better educated students work their way up.

    • Parent of High School Student

      It is supply and demand. You defined the supply side (i.e. money, teachers, etc). Let us no forget that we need to demand more from the students.

    • Cory

      Do you want to increase taxes for education before or after the republicans dismantle social security and medicare?  Baby boomers whose children have left the nest and the affluent who can pay for private education make a huge voting block that will never support your noble and wise plan.

  • Mike in PA

    Having graduated from a well-respected state school (similar to Michigan), I know that a huge amount of this has to do with MONEY and government subsidization.  All the time, I would run into a classmate who was from out of state.  My friend would have a much lower entry exam score than myself BUT he or she pays OUT OF STATE tuition which is much much higher.  This also happened with my wife who worked in a subsidized private school in the admissions office, where foreigners with unremarkable or unprovable entry scores were admitted.

    Moreover, society continues to up-its-nose at community colleges.  Indeed, there is a huge issue as to the revolving debt on lower income individuals who are given a less than mediocre education at these schools in order for that school to obtain financial income by accepting said student.  BUT, I can also say that there are many many community college students who work way harder than their affluent peers at high ranked schools.

    Read Clarence Thomas’s opinion in the Michigan affirmative action cases, and he was predicting this issue many years ago. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I teach at a community college, and I have taught at a mid-rank college.  My community college students are much more dedicated to working, while the rich kids just believed that they deserved a degree.

      The quality of teaching may actually be higher at the community college, since there, a student gets a professor, not a teaching assistant, and the class sizes are under thirty.

      • Cory

        I re-educated myself a few years back to restart a dead career.  I used a small tech school and was mightily impressed with their commitment to their students.  Don’t underestimate these hidden gems.

  • Mike

    Is this trend a reflection of the pressure that regents have put on schools to become more independent?  The more affluent students provide better sources of income for universities both during education and graduation (as part of endowments).  

  • Freeman

    Good Morning Tom;
                               Social Engineering; America is Already a  Plutocracy and on the was to becoming an Oligarcgy. Look seriously at ALL those countries in the Middle East an ask WHY they are in tumult. Now you can add Spain, getting in line for Revolution. You can not ignore the WILL of the masses and believe your going to be “safe”. Do you remember the Sixties-Kent State ?

    • Cory

      You forgot corporatocracy.

  • Dr_acg

    If you want to read more about this issue, you might check out the book “Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class and Gender in American Higher Education” by Dr. Ann Mullen that came out last November. Dr. Mullen was just interviewed on CT NPR’s show “Where We Live”. Very, very interesting study comparing Yale U students with Southern CT State U students and their understanding of their “place” in higher ed and the meaning of education itself.

  • Joseph

    The truth is, employment for college graduates is not going to improve until Barack Obama is voted out office in 2012.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, everything is Obama’s fault. Get a grip.

    • Jim in Omaha

      Just out of curiosity, what kind of education did you have that has resulted in the type of thinking expressed in your comments?  Or are you, like Cory, just being sarcastic in all of your comments today?

      • Sam Wilson

        Jim,

        Joseph is the messiah who will save us all…

    • Cory

      You forgot to use the key phrase “failed Obama presidency”.  Just sayin’…

  • David Small

    Wall Street and many eastern colleges will only hire people with PhDs from the elite schools, no matter how good your record might be.  Recently, a friend graduated with a PhD from a second tier school having published 10 papers as a graduate student in top journals.  He got no job offers.  A friend at MIT who published one paper got several offers.  I hold a PhD in engineering from one of the top schools in the field, but not a top university and have been shut out of academia, quantitative jobs on Wall Street etc.  I’m tired of people thinking that only Ivy League (or similar) graduates are intelligent.  This country is wasting huge amounts of talent. 

  • PeterH

    As a graduate student at one of these elite institutions, I think an important trend in academia is missing from the discussion: “internationalization.” It isn’t just affluent elite kids from the US who go to these schools but international elites. This seems like an important and growing dynamic at many post-secondary institutions and I would be interested to see what your guest has to say on the topic.

  • Ian

    Its not where you go, its who you know!

    • Jim in Omaha

      Where you go has a lot to do with who you know.

      • Cory

        …and where you go and who you know can cost alot of dough. 

  • Salzburg

    The social connections and social networks these schools offer for the future of their students must be one of the biggest payoffs these schools offer. Trying to get ahead and open the doors that most people don’t have available to them without these ivy school degrees must be invaluable, too. Of course they can charge prices that most people will find out of their price range when you would pay any price to have your kid ahead in the game if you can.

  • Ashley King

    To address this topic and to battle bad for-profits players in the higher education market, eight years ago I founded the Hollis F. Price Middle College High School is a Memphis City School, located on the historic campus of LeMoyne-Owen College. It is designed under the Early College High School Initiative where students can earn both a high school diploma and two years of college credit toward a bachelor’s degree. Hollis F. Price Middle College also has the distinction and recognition of being the first Early College located on a historically black college or university. Ashley King 615 829 6171

  • Lroth53

    It’s all about fundraising! The colleges are admitting the wealthier students because they are interested in future donors and poorer families will most likely not be able to make a sizable donation.  

  • Elizabeth

    I really identified with that ex-community college student who said at Amherst, “I feel more at home here than I’ve ever felt anywhere else.” That was what happened to me when I went to Princeton in 1972. I was not a poor student, and I’d been to a good high school, but the atmosphere of intellectual inquiry was totally different from any I’d ever been in. Before or since!

    Now I teach at a community college.  There ARE some amazing students there that go on to good four year universities, but they are a tiny minority.  Most of the students can’t do college level work. Many are functionally illiterate. This is a result of the failure of our public school system, and a culture that doesn’t value reading, books, thinking, or intellectuals very much.

    Like it or not, families have a huge influence on the way students “turn out.” In families where books are not seen, much less read, it’s hard for students to develop an academic work ethic. I’ve seen this in affluent families as well as working class families. Also, many families don’t know how to help students apply to college or apply for financial aid. Many assume that good colleges are out of reach financially.

  • Ashley King

    Hollis F. Price Middle College is an Early College designed for students who may be underrepresented in a traditional setting, but have the academic potential and are willing to accept the challenges of a rigorous high school and college curriculum. Students will have full academic schedules consisting of high school and college courses. It is a “school of opportunities” for students who would like to take advantage of a dual enrollment program in a small nurturing academic environment. Financial and other barriers to college are removed. Ashley King 615 829 6171

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    A number of years ago, I taught in urban high schools, and there I saw another problem.  The students had no desire to learn.  The parents saw no value in education (a diploma, yes, but an education, no).  I spent most of my time dealing with discipline.  A student has to be willing to do the work that education requires before that person can be educated.

    • Sam Wilson

      Greg,

      completely agree..

      you cant make stones learn :-)

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        That is often what I get paid to do.  It does have its amusing moments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=762047997 Tracy Shields

     I find this discussion fascinating, and even more striking given the recent testimony by Mike Rowe (from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs) before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (see http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/dirtyjobs/mike-rowe-senate-testimony.html). I’d be interested in what the guests would have to say about Rowe’s argument that the emphasis on college/university is problematic.

  • Mary in Laingsburg, MI

    It’s wonderful that institutions of high education want to work to make sure low income students can find a way through college, but what about those of us who aren’t LOW enough??? There are kids of lower middle income (or higher low income) families who cannot afford to go to college without SIGNIFICANT amount of loans. What about a kid whose parents make less than $100,000, but more than $50,000 . . .  these are the kids who lose out in a MAJOR MAJOR way. Colleges are missing a whole demographic of kids who are afraid to take on $30,000+ worth of debt for a 4-year degree!!

  • Steve Robillard

    I’m a graduate of UMass/Amherst – right up the road from Amherst College – and one thing President Marx didn’t touch on is that Amherst College is part of the 5 College program that allowed us to take courses at Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith as a UMass student.  This collaboration between the 5 colleges truly enriched my experience at UMass.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    We also need to ask the question as to why we insist that everyone gets a college degree.  College is supposed to be for about a quarter of the population, and while many jobs require college degrees, those employers don’t want workers who can read Shakespeare or talk intelligently about Tacitus.  They want workers who know mathematics and computers and who are willing to work.  We need a system of trade schools for people who are going into the trades.  A plumber will make more than I ever will, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Let plumbers learn that skill at the appropriate school.

    • Former 1st-generation student

      A recent study at Harvard made this point. (I think there was an On Point show on the topic, too?)

    • Cory

      I went to a 4 yr college and (in 5yrs) earned a classical liberal education.  It has never directly gotten me a job, but they were the best and most enlightening years of my life.  Too bad this is a luxury that most can no longer afford.

  • Gary

    It was stated that a $125,000 college debt was a good investment because a college grad earns $1,000,000 more than a non-grad. Financially, it’s not such a good investment. If $125K is invested at between 5% and 5.5% will grow to $1,000,000 over 40 years, a working life.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If the markets keep rising, of course.  And the problem is that no bank will loan out that $125,000 to an eighteen year old for the purpose of making investments.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ve had a suspicion for a while that employers require college degrees so they can hire white employees.  Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, so companies have found another way.

  • Gabi

    As I wrote before, Trio Program really work to get people to college, to build confidence, to help fill out applications and study for the SATs. Why are the guests not discussing the fact that these options actually do exist?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Career development offices at colleges need to be able to launch graduates.  I suspect Amherst has alumni networks to help out in that as well.  I know as a female at a women’s college, pre-feminism, there was no career help whatsoever.  I think liberal arts were ornamental.  If you needed a graduate degree, you had failed.  You had failed if you needed a marketable skill.
        Things have changed.

  • Enhabit

    too much talk about post-graduate income levels…higher education is about more than increasing one’s income potential…seems to me that this is one of the unsung casualties of the tuition spike…u penn was $21,000 in ’93 btw

  • Soli

    I have to say I heartily applaud Mr. Marx’s work to make Amherst so accessible to people who may not have had  the opportunity. Maybe community college needs to lose its stigma since it can be a place for a lot of people to figure out if they really WANT or NEED to go to college. Following up Greg Camp’s comment, there need to be more options than just the four year degree. Trade schools should be just as viable and not looked down upon so much.

  • the drop out

    Please comment on how  D. I Y. education that uses Open Source learning materials might become a real option for low income. I suspect that the careers of people who run the colleges and the financial bottom line is more important than education.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      As a college instructor, I can tell you that having students gather in one room with a teacher to teach and to lead the discussion is valuable.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      I agree with Greg. As a long ago retired college professor (a number of schools including some elites) I can say that with the amount of ADD in the world coupled with lack of literacy and study skills, online education as a bridge would be a disaster for real learning for many students, especially the population we’re talking about here. Fine for a degree mill but that’s not going to help.

      Best to have smaller classes with skillful instructors (not necessarily Nobel laureates) so that students actual learn things rather than memorize for a single test.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I hear I think Anthony Marx saying we need to increase the “space” that offers top education.  I see posters in this thread saying that it is tough to find placements for the best students. 
        I recall Hampshire College being started in Massachusetts aiming to be top-flight, about 1974.  It is MORE costly (because less endowment at the git-go).  And it is very small.  It is an excellent choice for self-motivated students.  
        What else is coming down the pike in the way of new and promising higher education? 

  • Elizabeth

    Maybe you’re asking the wrong question here.  Maybe it’s not so important for more poor kids to go to “top” private schools.  Maybe it’s more important for poor kids to get a good college education, wherever they go. We should support public universities, instead of under-funding them. We should stop the draining of funds away from community colleges, which are strapped right now, at least in TX. This obsession with getting into “top” colleges is silly now, and it would be even sillier if public colleges and universities were as excellent as they are in other countries.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Just so.  The education at the mid-rank schools will get those graduated into decent jobs.  Those graduates will send their children to better schools.  It’s the process that immigrant groups went through for generations, and it works.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Well said Elizabeth. It’s about literacy, not cache.

  • Blankmaxine

    I grew up working class, in rural Michigan, and now live in Boston. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know about the world of prep schools and college admittance. I can’t help but wonder if I had known more about the real process, and possible financial aid from colleges themselves, I may have had more opportunities.

  • Terry

    The poorest students are affected most by the inflation in higher education costs.  I went to a state uiniversity in 1958; the total cost for a year including housing, tuition, misc. was $850.  I was able to earn that amount and save it on my summer job and work my way through school.
     
    How can the universities justify the inflation, which is exceeded only by medical care?  My university now costs 20 times what it did in 1958.
     

    • Ellen Dibble

      Someone once told me that a year of college has always cost about the same as the cost of a car.  I’m thinking maybe there is a similar spread in costs, with a high-end car and high-end education tracking, and low-end car and low-end education tracking.  Have both multiplied 20-fold?   

  • lumpen-academic

    Like everything else, the university has been turned into a purely profit-making engine.

    Part of the engine is to select clients who can pay the most money. The other part is to hire those who teach them at the lowest wages possible. 

    Right now about 70% of university teaching is being carried out by adjunct faculty who are paid on the order of 1/2 to 1/5 what a full-time faculty member would earn for the equivalent work. Equal pay for equal work is a slogan only applied to women and minorities. Adjunct faculty are kept part-time to avoid having to pay benefits and hired on a term-by-term basis in order to avoid unemployment insurance. This is all despite the $40,000 tuitions that are being charged on the other end for their services.

    Even if one teaches 3 courses a semester as an adjunct, the income is not adequate to maintain a middle-class life, let alone afford to put one’s children through college. This is the Walmartization or McDonalization of the university system — a race to the bottom, a paradigm for skilled work in America.

    I imagine that Amherst College is just as bad at the rest by the way that it treats its adjunct faculty, even though their leadership professes goals of social equality for the students they admit. Those students will graduate in 4 years and enter the job market earning considerably more than those who taught them.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I am there, my friend, and everything you say is true.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Faculty who go through the wringer and land with a PhD in a tenure-track position may have dwelt among the ivory towers too long to have a sense of how success in the real world operates.  I’m not speaking of adjunct faculty right now, but the lifers at places like Amherst.  I can only say that where I live, the local newspaper covers a huge state university as well as four private colleges, including Amherst.  So I get to read about the exploits of the faculty, the honors, the commercial ventures.  And the view is skewed by the fact there are far more faculty at the university due to its size, but it seems to me more faculty there have shed the academic skin and joined the real world (to various extents).  They have private ventures that use their interests and knowledge, and in this sense they can be path-breakers for their students.   It is my sense there is an improvement in the last couple of decades, and that the faculties of the private colleges are coming out of the ivory, um, woodwork.  They don’t look to academia as the be-all-and-end-all.  Not so much, anyway.
          Disclaimer:  Maybe my perspective has changed, and this is wishful thinking.  Still.  
           There can be faculty who see their turf, a particular specialty, as the only turf worth fighting for, regardless of how unprofitable it might be.  

    • Anonymous

       This is spot on. 

    • LinP

      Right on.

      Add to this the inconvenient truth that the president of Amherst (skillfully) did not address when he counted “international students” as part of their diversity. That’s true on one level. But those same students are NOT eligible for financial aid. They pay full freight. Follow the “international student diversity” hoo-haa line right back to the money. Also circles round to topic of this program–rich students dominating top colleges.

    • ancient phd

      So…  By your numbers, if we paid the 70% of adjunct faculty (a group that included yours truly for many years) two to five times as much to bring them in line with full-time faculty, an education would then cost the students $150,000 to $200,000 per year at the better schools.  Now that would separate the haves from the have-nots!

  • Freeman

    Tom;
           Mr Robert Reich in several of his publications penned a phrase numerous times ” its rigged “. Higher education is a “scam” ! All these institutions of higher learning “totally” ripping off the communities with tax exempt status and giving their students a false sense of hope.

  • UncleMarty

    This is elitism writ large …. the middle class is shrinking, and not because of a lack of college graduates …. bit of a waste of time speaking with Mr. Marx …. he is a dream merchant, and is personally profiting … 1986 University presidents were paid $98K …. now Ivy Leauge presidents get well north of $700K … are they (or anyone else) that much smarter? … this is a class issue, and more education is not the answer ….. what good is a PhD when there are no jobs ….? 

    • Cory

      And a ballplayer or a CEO making 20 million a year are more of the grotesque slaries you highlight.

      • Zing

        Let’s not leave out entertainers…Oprah! pony up!

  • Reachclark

    A few decades ago, good state universities were cheap enough that a student could work/his or way through four years and not amass great debt. I cannot believe that today’s exorbitant costs reflect only inflation for providing the same services or that the basic service, LEARNING, has improved that much.

    I think today’s student are paying largely for a host of ancillary services/activities that support the advancement of the school, its faculty, its staff, its subcontractor (in short the “education industry,” rather than student learning. 

  • Guest

    On topic of discusison should eb the increase in tuition over the last 30-40 years while there has been a stagnation of income. What you have, then, is affluent student having an advantage to afford for college and those that can’t will have to take out more loans. Furthermore, when you charge 30k-40k per student you then have a larger pool of money for scholarships. However, there has been a trend, especially amongst the smaller, prestiguous private colleges to becomes distracted with physical exapnsion with new fancy buildings subtracting from  the pool of money for students. It’s a spiraling trend that takes more from parents and students and place them squarely in debt in a lot of cases that is much more than 30 years ago.
    My Aunt went to Centre college and paid 12-15k. Now we paid 32-40k increasing each year I was in college. It’s a shame really. The only way we were able to afford it was my parents work at a university and that university cover 70% of the tuition. the other 28% was covered by scholarships.

  • Terry

    Reachclark that comment was well put.

  • Robvious

    This program is more an advertisement for Amherst than anything, one of the few colleges that can afford financial aid for every student. It’s an exception and the president’s comments have little application to the world outside the richest schools.

    The key question is why tuition rates have increased 3-5 times the rate of inflation since 1980. In this system, you’d expect only the rich could afford tuition costs, no?

    Lousy job.

    • Reachclark

      It seems that today they want to shuffle off to two-year community college programs those students not willing to pay the exorbitant prices, but then NOT allow the community college credits to roll into a four-year degree in the same field, thus assuring the high cost of a four-year degree. 

  • Anonymous

    80% of Americans own about 8% of the wealth. American Dream? Well it seems to me the reality is anything but.
    As the late George Carlin once said, “ It’s not called the The American Dream for nothing, because you have to be asleep to believe it”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

    The other thing not addressed at all is huge amount of debt that college grads are now carrying. This is a financial crisis that is just waiting to explode.

    • Cory

      Absolutely love Carlin!  What a loss.

  • Ssstessa

    while at college in happy valley in the late 1980s i remember that one of the area’s premier women’s college tried a need blind admissions process that later had to be halted. The reason stated in the local papers was that they had not realized how many smart poor people would qualify.  the college felt they could not sustain the need blind approach.  So… when my child was ready to apply to college, knowing some of the inner workings of college admissions, i purposefully omitted the need for financial help when filling out a few applications and the result worked out as planned. my child was accepted as several premiere colleges and because of the acceptance once the college found out the enormous financial need they awarded a scholarship. i did however plan ahead and filled out all forms needed for financial aid, fafsa and such knowing they would need to be filed before an award could be determined.  i am convinced that the outcome would not have been as good had the college admissions known the true income level of my family.  we fell into the pool of the lower class and this is a very difficult class to come from and be admitted.
    stephanie 

  • Dennis.in.Omaha

    Mr. Marx of Amherst is saying many of the correct things.  I like how he said they got rid of loans in their financial aid package.  The tyranny of the debt-for-degree paradigm is harmful for everyone.

    What I want from a school is that they teach true things.

    Overall, our university system is teaching falseness.

    Foggy obfuscation of true costs and financial aid teaches students, our future leaders, that running a society this way is normal. 

    If the majority of colleges, that have business schools, cannot get together to provide an honest straightforward financing for education, are they able to teach true things?   If they can’t get honest financing to run a business school, then what can we expect from our future businesses?

    As a process for accreditation, university systems that cannot honestly finance their school without student loans, should be closed because they do not teach true things.

     

  • Kevin

    Please, spare me! The former President of one of the most upper scale colleges in the country now talking about the need of the lower economic scale student. His former university made it’s bones by charging students top dollar and leaving them with massive amounts of debt afterwards, plain and simple. Also not sure who it was, but whoever mentioned the statistic about community college students paying “more” as a percentage for their tuition out of pocket…..forgot to mention something…..a community college tuition may be in the range of $2000-$4000 a semester…..as compared to $40,000 room and board for a college like Amherst for the year…..yes you may be able to get tuition assistance but you are still paying a incredible amount of money…Again, I appreciate the thought, but I would love Tom to do a show about “College Incorporated” FRONTLINE did this and showed that again behind the curtain tuition is going for a bunch of fat cats making six figure salaries, with not a lot of justification for their jobs. That is the real hidden cost in education. 

  • Will

    Here’s a radical idea – stop educating foreign students.  Let’s take care of our own and put our resources behind American children.  What would happen if 20% more American kids had the opportunity to be educated at our top schools? 
     
    If you look at this from a business perspective, when a local business makes a profit, that profit stays local, whereas a foreign business returns most of it’s profits back to their HQ – outside of the local economy and the US.  Why should we educate a student who may very well bring the immense benefits of their education to their country – especially at the expense of an American student?
     
    Are we not creating our own competition and funding our own demise?

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Not only can foreign students afford to pay, they can afford to pay more. Your point is a good one though in one respect: many schools hide behind the idea of “diversity” when in fact they’re chasing bigger dollars.

    • Lroth53

      Don’t foreign students pay the very highest tuition rates, which help fund other school programs? Don’t these students also contribute to the local economy not to mention their cultural contributions among the student body as well as the community?  Are you narrow-minded, a bigot or just ignorant? 

    • Foreignstudent

      Ha Ha.. spoken like the sceptic american..its the education, that is a big selling point for this country…because education here is so good, it attracts students from all over the world (the smart ones) which inturn drove the research and innovation in this country..and also foreign students need to pay 3 to 4 times for fees than the native counterpart..thus foreign students are extra income.. it will help if we can see beyond our nose..

    • Suem

      Colleges take foreign students primarily because they pay full price.  They need those students to offset the ones (US) who do not.  Foreign students are not eligible for US grants and loans.

  • I can’t afford it

    University Mass announced tuition increase this week. They stated that ‘we are still much less costly than private college’. No kidding. Isn’t that the whole point of having a university supported by the State? State tuition should be affordable. Really affordable. (Indeed at U.Mass the bill is mostly something called “fees.” The “tuition” part is affordable I think.) Tuition should be measured against the earning power of the student, not the graduate. If they are arguing for a tuition baised on what the market will bear than I think they need to be better regulated in the interest of education. And the State has to take responsibility for the cost.

  • Karen

    My cousin has gone to a state college and is graduating this year without owing any money.  He has paid for his college himself.  I want him to write a book on how to go to college even during a recession without any debt.  The key to this was that he chose the college that was the right fit for him.  Not everyone needs to go to the ivy leagues. When I went to college there was a bell curve.  Some kids went to ivy league, some to state colleges, some to community and others to technical schools.  Now many students feel like failures by not going to an ivy league. My cousin is a success in my eyes and I am very proud of him.  

    • Dirhart

      This situation is becoming more and more rare and difficult.  Thus this program.

  • Karen

    @I cant afford it, Umass is not a good fit for you.  You have to shop around now when it comes to education.  Even if one is going to culinary school or even cosmetology school.  I know people who come out of tech schools with debt.  My mother switched colleges a long time ago because the college she started with did nothing for their graduating students.  Students need to be more savvy and shop for the best deal.  Like I said, I wish my cousin would write a book.  Everyone keeps asking me how is doing it.  

  • Lroth53

    Of course colleges want wealthly students so the school’s endowment will grow. Blind admission is just b.s. A few token poor students do get in to the ivy schools so the schools can make the claim that they are reaching out to those in need. The salaries and future careers of people at the top of  university development departments (fundraising) are directly tied to the amount of money raised under their leadership. Ditto for the university presidents. If they are successful at raising money some of these people may go on to head huge companies and make even bigger salaries. The higher the ratio of poor students attending means less money/smaller donations and that doesn’t reflect well on someone’s career now does it?.     

  • Anonymous

    This is ridiculous, You can talk all you want and nothing will be done the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, More true today than ever before.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      So, how can the poor get richer? One way is to learn how to read. It doesn’t cost much and it can lead to a lot more opportunity.

      You have to start somewhere. This is the place to start.

  • Jeffreysc

    Private universities should be able to admit anyone they want based on whatever criteria they want. 

    Public universities should ideally be meritocracies. 

    This won’t stop Tom from his classwarfare diatribes.

    • ThresherK

      Meritocracies? Are Upper Peninsula applicants still getting those bonus points when it comes time to decide who gets into U of Mich? I remember the big brouhaha on Fox News about that.

    • Anonymous

      This belief system – that those with the money are entitled to anything they want – will erode the foundations of what made this country great.  Without a disinterested (dis invested) overseer, the overwhelming majority of us will be relegated to a step above farm animals.  The loss of individual potential and the inability of a system to optimize this, would be soulless, a world that could never satisfy our human longings.  Funny though how still so many ascribe to it!  We can use our intelligence and work out a better system. More people are becoming aware of this and we are still working it out hence the angst. But striving for the bottom line in everything only acts as a machete to the spirit and would bore us all to death.

      • Jeffreysc

        Pursuit of a better life is the foundation of this country.  We don’t need bureaucrats micro-managing private entities, they should be focused on bettering the public ones.  Let’s not let envy drive public policy. 

    • Anonymous

      Spoken like a true monarchist, oh wait did we not fight a war of independence to rid ourselves of Tories?

      • Jeffreysc

        Sounds like sour grapes. 

        • Anonymous

          Sour Grapes? Hardly. You made an absurd comment based on a belief system that seems to me to be very self centered. 

          • Jeffreysc

            Linking monarchy and meritocracy is absurd. 
            Your belief system is based on envy and intolerance, not much I can do there.

          • Anonymous

            Not really, in monarchies people with talent moved up. Michelangelo with Pope Julius II. Holbein was the court painter for Henry the VIII.
            Bach worked for a several courts. You mention envy and I’m not sure why you think I’m envious of you. I don’t know you from Adam. As for intolerance, well I do have intolerance for people who think they are better than others just because they do one thing well. That’s obnoxious. I’ve had plenty of scholarships and have won awards for my abilities in art but I don’t go around acting like a snob. I’m not against merit based results per say, just an even playing field. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        Per President Obama speaking in Dublin the other day, we owe a large part of our victory over the British in the Revolution to Irish fighting those Tories.  (I was wondering how his speech writer found that out, or whether the Irish themselves told him that.) Anyway, the tale of the Tories among the colonists may not have been told (not a politically correct theme, I suppose), and I am not enough of a historian to grandstand here, but I think the Tories, like the poor, have always been with us and will always be.  

    • JimmyKl

      Democrats are closet Communists, envious of others’ success and hell bent on lowering the lowest common denominator.  Private enterprise in any form is evil no matter what the pursuit.  We should all drive Toyota Camry’s, have 32″ flat screens and get our clothes at Sears. Anything else is elitest snobbery. 

  • Joseph

    You have to feel really bad for all the college graduates who are entering this terrible economy that President Obama has straddled us with.

    • Anonymous

      you win today’s troll award.

      • Joseph

        Hurling insults is always the first sign of desperation, as well as the fact that you have lost your argument.

        • Jeffreysc

          but he won the award!

          • Joseph

            Try growing up.

        • Anonymous

           If you’re going to post a lot of comments blaming Obama for everything wrong with economy I dare say that’s nothing short of troll activity. I’m desperate for people like you to get a grip.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t you mean “saddled”?  (Unless you’re thinking of Ace and Gary.)  By the way, the economy was heading south well before Bush left office.

      • Cory

        Texanfromdc, I’d like to buy you an ale or lager of your choosing!

        • Anonymous

          Thank you for the offer!

      • Robert hennecke

        As a non American I get the impression that it was G.W. Bush’s intent on racing the SS America through the North Atlantic in february without checking the radar for possible Icebergs, damn the icebergs so to speak. Well surprise, surprise.

    • Cory

      Still forgetting the phrase “failed Obama presidency”.  There are certain expectations of conservative posters and various Obama haters on this site!

    • Alan

      There IS a very difficult economy indeed, and it is too bad if you’re one of the current graduates looking for employment in your chosen field. No arguments there, but “an economy that President Obama straddled us with?” I think you mean saddled, and in any case, surely you can’t really be serious about that. It took a concerted effort by folks in both parties over a long period of time and a good deal of shadiness from Wall Street bankers, mortgage lenders, hedge-fund operators, et al to bring us to where we are. Perhaps Geffe’s epithet was harsh but your conclusion of fault-finding by singling out Obama lends little to the validity of your argument.

  • Peggy in Santa Barbara

    Focusing only on the percentage of admissions from the affluent classes doesn’t adequately reflect the problem. We are now living in a very class divided society in the United States, and the cost of a university education at top-ranked universities is proof in point. Tuition alone exceeds $100,000 for a 4-year degree in most of these schools; living expenses and books generally come to another $100,000.

    The debt that non-scholarship students will acquire at such schools makes them a poor fiscal choice. I talked a nephew out of going to a top-ranked engineering school because he would have graduated with over $100,000 in debt, the consequences of which he could not begin to imagine. 

    • Robert Hennecke

      Books are a MEGA rip-off and now with pdf files on cd’s costing maybe a dollar for the publishers to make it is outrageous that they charge 100 +/book. Service fees are off the wall as well. It’s a total business and alternatives to the standard university model are overdue. There is MORE than enough info available on the internet, it’s a paper saying you know something that people are coughing up for. Sorry to be less than erudite amongst all of these phd’s etc… but I think there is a considerable amount of hubris and pretentiousness amongst the educated elite and it is not firmly rooted in actual reality rather them benefitting from a byzantine bureaucracy meant to have the lower classes spinning their wheels while back room deals are made for those with the right connections and legacy students and athletes. Jack Nicholson said it best in One flew over the cuckoos nest, Nurse Ratchett likes a rigged game. Indeed, the establishment likes a rigged game and just like the house usually holds the high hands at casinos because it is after all their racket they keep the uppity spinning their wheels. It’s a racket.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure what the president of Amherst college makes a year but I bet it’s about 2 to 3 hundred times what an assistant professor makes and many more than the adjuncts who make almost nothing. Amherst college is one of the most expensive colleges in the nation and cost over 50k a year with all the extras besides tuition.  (From the Amherst web site: tuition, room and board: $53,370) They say the average financial assistance package is about 35K. That still leaves upwards of 18 to 20K a year to cover. That’s a lot of money.  If you ask me part of the problem is how inflated the salaries of the presidents and other officers in these institutions have become. If I hear the argument that they want to be competitive to the private sector I’ll say this, go work in the private sector and stop acting like education is some kind of noble calling.

    Here’s the other issue: if the average income of the majority of American’s is between 40 and 100K a year how do most American families pay for college? Answer, debt and a lot of it.

    • Jeffreysc

      Between work study, financial aid, and scholarships, I graduated from a four year state university where I reside with less than $10K in debt three years ago.  I consolidated my loans into a single federal student loan package with an interest rate just higher than the 10 year T-note at the time, very attractive terms.  As the first in my family to have a BA, I’m thankful for the opportunities I have as a result of my education.  I intend to get my MA in a couple of years.

      • Anonymous

        Good for you. I hope you’re saving for the MA. There are almost no scholarships at the graduate level.

        • JimmyK

          I’m guessing someone who got through undergrad with less than $10K of debt probably has that figured out.

        • Anonymous

          All three of my kids got their Masters’ degrees paid for.  My older daughter got an MSW paid for by the state of Washington with the condition that she work for them for 18 months.  My son got his Civil Eng. Master’s paid for by his job, and he now also has his PE.  My younger daughter got her two Master’s (Civil Eng. and City Planning) sponsored at Berkeley (just finishing now).  The opportunities are out there, and we are definitely not upper class.  Both my wife and I went to CCNY because it was free (mostly), and the only thing we could afford.

  • Dhrosier

    Genetics has a much greater influence on intelligence than most liberals are willing to contemplate, much less discuss or admit.  Yes, nurture has a great deal of influence, but it is expected that there will be strong correlation between higher income families and intelligence.

    • Lroth53

      One needs to be born with a basic level of intelligence in order to succeed in society and learn but no matter how intelligent someone is at birth, lack of opportunity is really the key. It doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative, it’s just common sense. Most wealthier kids are exposed to a huge number of things in school as well as outside of school that help nourish and educate them while most poorer kids never have any opportunities to do much of anything. It’s very difficult for kids to learn much at school if they live in a poor school district where there aren’t any books or if they haven’t had anything to eat for two days or they might even be homeless. Many poor kids parents work 2-3-4 jobs just to keep a roof over their heads, so there isn’t much time for reading or homework or going to the public library if they can even find one in their community that’s still open with all the cuts in programs and it doesn’t help that many of the wealthiest people at the very top are very greedy and need MORE tax cuts. Intelligence has less to do with genetics and more to do with opportuntity. Perhaps if more people and especially those who are very fortunate and are doing well could do some volunteer work once in a while and help those who are less fortunate, they just might learn something… I don’t suppose you have ever done any. Try it sometime, it might broaden your perspective about the less fortunate and hopefully educate you…..

    • Cory

      Are you saying that the affluent have better genes, Dhoser?

    • Kdouglas

      Could you cite your sources on that?

  • Lroth53

    In order to raise more money, some public colleges have been admitting more and more out-of-state students and denying admission to or wait-listing more and more in-state students. There have been some newspaper articles about this in Washington State recently and I assume it must be going on everywhere. What’s the percentage of in-state students that a public university has to admit?

    • Dnichols

      It is a state by state basis.  In Texas it is required that a certain % of students (can’t remember how many) are in state. 

    • Robert Hennecke

      It’s a hideous practice. Universities are a sacred trust and the idea that those who risked their lives on various battlefields fighting for freedom and those that have contributed to these universities endowments and generally through taxes are having their childrens futures bargained for foreigners that more often than not are not even friendly to the US and Canada such those from the repressive regime of the PR China. Universities such as Concordia university are run like personal fiefdoms as for profit entities even though their very existence has come about due to the voluntary efforts of many and the benefaction of the YMCA and government tax transfers. The end result is that if you have a surname that is in conflict with the administrators means that you’re out of luck.

    • Ohio Advisor

      Dnichols is right about there being differences in state expectations.  Ohio State, for example, is what is called a “land-grant university” and must admit all the Ohio students with HS diplomas and GEDs that apply, but they found a loophole about a decade ago: regional/satellite campuses count towards admissions.  In this way they moved the poorly-prepared (and usually less wealthy) students to Mansfield, Marion, Lima and Newark where, ironically, fees are lower but there are more full-time professors!  Not all students appreciate the difference though as they wanted to go to parties in Columbus and flunk out in the first year.  Meanwhile, all state universities benefit from more agressive marketing to non-state students as STATES SHARE OF INSTRUCTIONAL COSTS HAVE BEEN CUT CONTINUOUSLY FOR DECADES.  Sorry, the all caps is necessary because this is the primary source of the “heist” – lower taxes = less benefits = all in-state students get screwed.  This is likewise the case of educational quality when a state like Ohio pairs cuts to state subsidy with tuition caps as such situations willfully erode state univeristy buying-power when it comes to affording faculty and anythning else.  It also makes them more beholden to donors that demand certain buildings be constructed over others.  State legislation might even mandate such construction when, say with new recreation facilities, the state then cuts funds to help with costs of maintenance.  It makes non-in-state students attractive because in-state students are a constant source of financial loss.  If a state school can convert to 100% non-in-state students, they can essentially privatize and abandon traitorous state governments.

  • Gary2

    This is in the category of DUH! The rich have everything and the rest of us need to eek out some type of life with their crumbs.  The rich have one political party totally dedicated to their needs and whims-the GOP.  They have a second party partly focused on their needs the Dems.  How can they not succeed with that wind at their back.  I wish the powers that be cared about the rest of us this much.  Our dolt gov in WI gives the rich tax cuts and cuts programs such as badger care that help the poor.  What has this country become?  How can so many Americans be so uninformed as to ever vote GOP?  Which unless you are rich does not represent you?

    • Jeffreysc

      Might want to check the construct of your belief system, you may have some of the details wrong.  Or you could go on thinking everyone else is dumb. 

      • Kdouglas

        I would be interested in what construct(s) of Gary2′s belief system you find wrong. It is trivial to dismiss someone outright without any clarity or support for your own position–and makes you appear more ignorant than the person you are dismissing. IMHO.

    • Cory

      I live in Wisconsin as well.  I feel your pain, brother.

    • JimmyK

      Wisconsin is a guiding light in this spend what you aint got world.  Thanks for retiring Feingold!  We owe you one. 

  • RM

    Unfortunately many opportunities are gained through socializing and
    making connections during and after college. If middle to lower income
    people aren’t able to get into the places where the affluent are then
    they won’t be as able to make the social connections that will propel
    them ahead in their careers. I really wish the world didn’t work this way, but unfortunately it does.

    Also if the playing field became equal then who would do all those
    horrible
    jobs that nobody wants to do – picking vegetables out of the fields,
    mining coal, working in a slaughter house? I’m pretty sure the rich
    prefer to stay rich so they don’t have to do this kind of work. Keep
    education out of the reach of the commoner so they will be kept in their
    place where they belong – doing the grunt work.

    • Dave

      It works both ways, in terms of connections.  Affluent people desperately need to get to know that there are people “outside the bubble” and how most of the world actually lives. If they never meet anyone unlike themselves serious misunderstandings rule in high places.

  • Someguy302004

    The president of Amherst is spot on.  There is a huge gap in what information on college (choosing, applying, paying for, etc) the upper-middle and the upper classes have, and there is lack of willingness to try for the top schools.  As the last of ten kids and the first in a lower/ lower-middle income family to go to college, I knew nothing about getting into college.  I chose the first college I toured (Colby College) (based on a hand-me down brochure I got from a friend).   I didn’t apply to Harvard simply because I knew that my friend who had the same grades, same activities, similar SAT score was a legacy and had a dad who knew an athletic coach there.  I knew he would get in, and I had no chance. Why bother? 

    • a fellow White Mule.

      Yay, Colby College!  I am a Colby grad, too.

  • Mike

    Indeed, children from affluent families are going to have better access to  resources to help them be successful through school elementary and high school. Their parent’s have money to buy tutors and private schooling which can make a difference.  The best investment your politicians can make is to strengthen the public school system in America.  While charter schools have their benefits – it says that it is acceptable to have failing schools in this country.

    I was the product of an inner city public high school, and was accepted to a brand name engineering school.  It was a rude awakening. I was not prepared for the ammount of work that was in front of me.

    If admission is merit based, better prepared kids are always going to take the top spots.

  • alex

    I don’t think that a diverse student body adds to the quality of an individuals education. A diversity of ideas in an intellectually honest atmosphere is much more important. And it is hard to stay intellectually honest when political issues (affirmative action, socio-economic status, etc.) drive admissions and hiring.

    College admissions should colorblind and wealth-blind; merit is should be the only criterion for admission at any school.

  • alex

    Edit for typos:

    I don’t think that a diverse student body adds to the quality of an
    individual’s education. More important is a diversity of ideas in an intellectually honest
    atmosphere. And it is hard to stay intellectually
    honest when political issues (affirmative action, socio-economic
    status, etc.) drive both admissions and hiring.

    College admissions should be colorblind and wealth-blind; merit should be the only criterion for admission at any school.

    • Roymerritt

      You are without a doubt one stuck up arrogant snob with an attitude like this.  I suspect you are also a very lazy individual who think people of color or anyone who comes from a disadvantaged situation are merely the hired help there to tote and fetch for you.  What’s intellectual about such a mindset?  I suppose you think an intellectual atmosphere is one that is made up of those who look like you, talk like you, and who think you are superior to those who don’t hail from the same high tone neighborhood that foisted you onto the planet. I also suspect your degree choice is one that will take you to Wall Street where the game is rigged and criminality is rampant and why not since the possibility of punishment for the misdeeds you are no doubt already planning are minimal at best unless you rip off the rich themselves like Bernie Madoff?  You wouldn’t want the athletes scholarships ended though would you for
      what would you do for entertainment on the weekends besides swill beer and overpower some poor female whose had a pill slipped into her drink?  It’s people with your mindset who are taking this nation into a new Gilded Age.  I tell you what you could do.  You could enlist into the military like many of those you so abhor and defend our way of life.  That’s what I did.  I grew up in poverty and had no opportunity for college out of high school.  Indeed they immediately tried to draft me.  I chose to enlist and still got sent into harms way in VN.  I had to wait and take advantage of the GI bill to get an education.  You would likely want that ended as well.  Just how long do people like you think the American people will put up with dubious characters like you?  First thing you should do out of college is get you some empathy.  I have to warn you however, it’s not for sale.     

    • JimmyKl

      I don’t think the other guy read what you wrote, but I agree with you.  However, I would differentiate between state-sponsored and private universities.  Private should do whatever the market dictates. 

  • Zing

    Parents and poor education and career choices give no one the right to confiscate other people’s property. 

    • Cory

      Now THAT is banal.

    • JimmyK

      Amen brother.  Unfortunately that’s how they get even for their inadequacies.

  • Lalala

    fyi … the link for the audio doesn’t go to the right file. 

  • Anonymous

    I was able to attend the University of Illinois in Chicago (the lesser of the two campuses) almost for free back in the 70′s, because back then, tuition was low AND there were grants for anyone older than 23. I took out loans from age 20-23, then got grants and finally graduated at age 25. It’s older than average, but I was able to go on to graduate school (I have an MSW and an MBA; am still paying off loans for the latter degree). 

    My main point is that there were more state funds back in those days, and, I think, a different attitude about attending college. I think we thought that anyone who wants to should be able to go, and it was more to enhance quality of life than to qualify for any specific job (at least, that’s why I went). 

  • Cathy

    US News and World Report rankings should include racial/ethnic and socio-economic diversity in their ranking criteria so colleges are incentivized toward inclusivity.

    • JimmyKl

      I’m not spending $200,000 so my son can get inclusivity. 

    • twenty-niner

      Politically correct clap trap.

  • Zdanishmend

    It is my hope that The Open University in the UK and other programs like this on the web will make these expensive country club universities irrelevant in the next ten years. Good riddance.

  • JimmyKl

    The facts don’t match Tom’s tired narrative.

  • http://charleszigmund.com CZigmund

    Cannot believe over 20 minutes into this segment there is no talk about where the money will come from to get these lower income students through these colleges. Education at a university costs a lot of money, no? Why is money not even mentioned? Let alone explored as a major, if tnot THE major, issue here?

    Reminds of a couple of weeks ago, when oil and new drilling was discussed on this show from a purely economic viewpoint, for an hour, without ONE MENTION of global warming.

    Tom, are you starting to specialize in avoiding really important aspects of issues you discuss?

    I hear your show on WNYC at night on tape, when I cannot call. Otherwise, you would hear from me plenty.

    And more sour grapes: everyone is saying America needs an elite of leaders. Good leadership. Well, if our best and brightest of the past have gotten us into this mess of unaddressed climate change and runaway spending where 40c of every dollar is borrowed from our poor roasting grandchildren, and every slow recovery sends more middle class professionals to work at McDonalds, and McDonalds is now looking at robots to check out customers in Europe… well, maybe we should start looking for our elite leaders in NON-COLLEGE graduates. 

    • Robert Hennecke

      The joke is that universities essentially package information and the supreme irony is that information has never become more available via the internet and yet university costs have skyrocketed. What it is in reality is they are simply taking advantage of the fact that the escalator to success has been off-shored to the slave labour camps in the PR China and India and that has upended the job market thus far greater demand for a university degree and instead of using the internet to drastically cut costs and have people learn at home they are charging a fortune. It is unsustainable and reprehensible. I ultimately taught myself electronic engineering from info that was free and a good chunk of it came as a result of finding the US Navy eletronic training program on the internet and you could be mildly retarded at the beginning but end up being able to do extremely complexe work. WHY ? Because the emphasis of the US Navy is to take high school level people and BUILD THEM UP, not tear them down. It was free and I will forever be angry at Concordia for restricting my ability to get that education and yet permit others into these programs I know to less competent that are unable to write several sentences without having made three or four mistakes.

      • Cponcy

        Why didnt you join the Cdn forces then? Oh sorry your kind can only hind in sugar momma’s house and write garbage on the net. The military would have straightened you out.
        Too late for that though. Try taking ESL classes and some anger management stuff. Someday you will end up in deep $hit though.

        • Falconlake

          Anytime you want to take this to the street you spineless puke >>> 514-510-8390. trouble, bring it on. Sugar mommy ??? I was brought up in multiple foster homes, on my own at 18, paid for all my schooling so sgut the fuck up you miserable puke. I can out machine you, out design you and extrude your head through a sewer grate if need be and I don’t hide behind pseudonyms whilst commenting on year old discussions. Trouble, bring it on !!!!! You’re the one who’s scared or else you wouldn’t be posting on a year old discussion trying to threaten me. There is currently a great deal of anger at univ’y admins, so you as one surely are nervous with viable options being presented. The new religion is under attack and your sacred place is npo longer secure. I will now post a thousandfold just to anger you, you miserable puke. I was in the reserves. Robert Hennecke, on cellphone. Oh, and fuck you !!!!!

          • cponcy

            Sure Mr Cosette (or Mr Branco) post whatever and dig yourself into a bigger hole.

  • ancient phd

    I didn’t hear the whole hour as I was in and out of heavy traffic, but one thing I missed was any discussion of the value of education in terms other than monetary.  That might be another difference between affluent and non-affluent students – education versus jobs.  Affluent students are more likely to want an education for its own sake, and that may translate into a higher probability of admission to competitive schools, whose selection committees prefer those like themselves who truly value education.

    In my experience as a professor, students from less affluent backgrounds want grades more than education, jobs more than knowledge.  I went to college for an education and not for a job.  In my family a truly educated person (as opposed to highly trained) was respected no matter what their income level.  College is just the starting point of education, not the ending point.

    • guest_lis

      Where are you a professor?  Your claim is opposite of what I see among my affluent and less-affluent friends and acquaintance.
      Most people I know of less affluent backgrounds want education.  They want the education that might help them to get jobs that might make a difference in the future.  There are plenty of affluent ppeople who just want to get the paper document and know they have connections to get them jobs that they may not even need since they know they will inherit financial stability.  I have not seen empirical evidence in 42 years of life to support your claim.  Could it be that you focus on the affluent students you have vs. the less affluent?  As I was one of the less affluent students, I can tell you my collegiate experience was that many professors played favorites and those favorites tended to be the more affluent students.

      • ancient phd

        I was anything but affluent when I went through.  However, if you read through my post again, my point is that affluent students are more likely to want education as an end in itself, while less affluent students see it more as a means to economic prosperity, which is what you said.  I play favorites too – those who want to learn, who do the work, who don’t cheat, who don’t sleep in class, who come prepared to participate.  Whether they want the education for itself or for a job, or the economic background of the student doesn’t matter to me.  I just notice that affluent students are more focused on education for its own benefit.  And that is why they may have a better chance with admissions committees.  That’s my point.

        • InNJ

          I need to agree with guest_lis.  I am involved in an elite private high school.  The children I come in contact with there want to succeed in order to get into an elite college in order to be recruited to a high power corporate situation or investment firm situation.  If you read their career goals a vary large number want to be in finance.  The talk among them is all “what looks good to colleges.”

        • InNJ

          I need to agree with guest_lis.  I am involved in an elite private high school.  The children I come in contact with there want to succeed in order to get into an elite college in order to be recruited to a high power corporate situation or investment firm situation.  If you read their career goals a vary large number want to be in finance.  The talk among them is all “what looks good to colleges.”

      • Robert Hennecke

        I say university admissions offices play favourites and TEACHERS definitely play favourite BIG TIME based on the outlook in terms of social engineering be it racial or sex based. Once a university degree became the principle means of getting a living wage there became the potential for massive abuse. The assumption that universities are egalitarian entities that are run by computers effectively is completely false as there are all kinds of racial and political issues being fought over and ultimately a grade is not a grade and admissions is not open to public review you have the potential for MASSIVE abuse of individual rights. I was refused access to engineering and chemistry at Concordia on the basis of race and I waw others get accepted into Engineering with 70′s when I had 80′s & 90′s. Race isn’t an issue it is THE ISSUE !!

        • Robert Hennecke

          People I gave my term papers to help them frequently got higher grades than I did in subsequent semesters from the SAME professors and with far more grammatical errors.

        • cponcy

          Most of Concordia faculty is white, so your nonsense about race doesn’t cut it Mr Hennecke (or is it Mr Cosette?).

  • Louiricc

    I think what gets you to where you are is perseverance and ambition. People like Barack Obama and Lloyd Blankfein came from working class backgrounds and worked their way to get where they are from. I attended undergraduate and graduate school from institutions that are not first tier. However, I am not discouraged from trying to get to the top. I will do what it takes to get there.

  • guest_lis

    Listened to your program about affluent students at top colleges and have to add my point of view. 

    Coming from a lower middle class immigrant family, even though I had a 1300 sat score and graduated at the top 5% of my class, I did not even consider any ivy league schools because I knew my parents did not have the savings to put my through an out of state ivy league school.  I had no good counselors to tell me anything about loans.  My parents did not speak English and without any teachers/counselors to tell me about college applications and loan/scholarship applications, I just applied for and easily got accepted to both state schools of my home state. 

    I saw high school teachers/counselors pay all their attention to the popular kids, the athletes, the attention getters.  Those of us that quietly did well in school, had less visible extracuricular activities (art), and worked at our family’s small business after school got overlooked. 

    As a working adult now, I advise teenagers to ram down the doors of counselors and educators to get help with college applications.  Teenagers really don’t know what’s out there to help them and our society does put out the message that if you’re not of blue-blood lineage, getting into ivy league schools is impossible.   

  • Bemoaning BU

    Seems like the caller from BU with high grades and low-income background had an experience which mirrors my own in many ways.  When I went to BU some 25 years ago, the sort of treatment the caller experienced was already in place.  It was made even worse, though, by the university’s aggressive recruitment efforts targeted to wealthy foreign students (who could afford to pay fully without financial aid) and, from all appearances, had admissions requirements seriously relaxed in terms of ability and merit.

  • David

    Lets face it, higher education is not an altruistic endeavor, but is big business. The prospect of admitting a student with an above average SAT or ACT score, but originating from a family which may not be able to support him for 4+ years at an (average cost of $25-30K / year) will weigh heavily on the admissions board. A freshman class of 500 students is enviable, but if the graduating class falls to 300 due to lack of money for tuition, etc, the institution looses. Better to insure a large graduating class as well, and keep the money flowing. 

  • Katherine

    Perhaps the primary limiting factor is not the universities’ willingness to admit students from the lower income levels, but rather the cost of tuition.  I grew up in a very low income household and always knew I would be going to college.  But when the time came to apply for school, my only options were to go to my local state school (which at the time had VERY low tuition), to attend the inexpensive community college, or to find another school willing to cover all but a few thousand dollars a year through scholarships.  Even if though I could get in to those top schools, I could never have afforded to go to school there.  Given the astronomical cost of education at those top universities, the lower-income population will never be well-represented at those schools unless more money becomes available.  And student loans over the minimal federal stafford limits have absurd interest rates (8.5%).  

    • sb

      Not true for at least some of the Ivies now. At Yale, anyone with family income under $65K who gets in pays NOTHING. 

    • sb

      Not true for at least some of the Ivies now. At Yale, anyone with family income under $65K who gets in pays NOTHING. 

  • http://www.meetprescott.com/ Prescott Paulin

    Tried to call in but no response — please call me for comment.  Would like to discuss how veterans fit into this mix.  We are building veterans fraternity homes on college campuses and must deal with this issue.

    Prescott Paulin
    202-596-8788
    Acting Director for Semper Fi House, Inc.
    Twitter: @SemperFiHouse:twitter

  • sjfone

    Just so they have valet parking.

  • Goodrich

    I never saw myself as capable of going to a top school because of neurological issues, but my youngest brother applied to U of M and not only got in but got a full scholarship. I admit to my shame I was surprised, I thought if you grew up poor you wouldn never be able to get in because you wouldn’t know the ropes or have the advantage of a good education. My brother proved me wrong. I hope more kids follow in his footsteps and apply to the top schools–though starting out in community college helps you to learn how to do school. A lot of low and middle income kids are getting ripped off by vocational schools, ending up way in debt, setting their sights too low.

  • Franklin

    I wonder if you could turn the lens back on yourselves here and ask if affluent people also dominate NPR … the newsrooms of public radio and TV affiliates? 

  • john magill

    In a future show, I would love to hear a discussion of why we educate.  Technical or professional skills are important, and are tied to financial success. There are other reasons, though.  Learning about health factors and how to raise healthy children are important. What about enabling participation in civic organizations or coaching youth athletics? Thoughtfully casting a ballot? What else?  I hear plenty of talk on HOW to educate, or WHAT kids should know.  How about a conversation about the bigger pictures – fundamental goals?

  • Nunyabusiness

    OK listen to this story, when I was in the third grad in Israel I got 3rd in the national math test. When I was in fifth grad in San Diego they tolled me my IQ was 164. I left home when I was 13 and lived on the streets till I could work when I was 18. I never spent a day in high school. Got my GED and went to SDCC for 4 years and finished 63 units. After trying to pass the basic algebra class 3 times I quit. The first time I took this class I missed the comprehensive final exam by 1 question, and 2 questions. I quit half way through the third time. I cannot get a degree with out passing this class, why? e-mail me @ dlowe75.com60@yahoo.com

    • Who Am I

      because you need to be able to do math. if you have an IQ of 164, you should be able to pass algebra. That stuff is easy and universal.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      You leave an impression your high IQ comes with a price – and you need professional help. 

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      You leave an impression your high IQ comes with a price – and you need professional help. 

    • Slipstream

      You clearly are very talented, but it sounds like you have some serious problems too.  I hope that you can get the help that you need and further your education.

  • WAlistener

    When I hit the “listen to this show” button I get a different show on education–not “On Point.” Hoping this is fixed…would love to listen. 

    • Ken

      Here’s the direct link: http://audio.wbur.org/storage/2011/05/onpoint_0526_1.mp3

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Stanganelli/100001253984798 Steve Stanganelli

    I am a financial adviser. I have added college financial planning strategies to my practice because the comments I heard on the show and that are posted here are similar to what I have encountered. Surprisingly, the cost of college can actually be less to go to a private school (not necessarily the Ivies but that’s possible, too) than it is to go to a public college. As one caller noted, the problem is that guidance counselors are overwhelmed (about 300 students per counselor on average) and they and parents don’t know how to navigate the system.  And without knowing this, “buyers” of higher education end up paying a higher price.  It is funny, too, that while the rest of the economy has seen pricing pressure, only higher ed (and in some ways health care) seems immune from pricing pressure. People need to get educated about their options.  There’s more to paying for college than just funding a 529 plan.  Too often I find folks come to me with kids who are already in high school. They don’t know how to use cash flow and tax strategies to lower the overall cost of school and probably qualify for more aid as well.  Without taking these proactive steps, we’ll end up with two crises: retirement – for the parents who will sacrifice saving for it; and ballooning education financing burden on the next generations.

    I will be commenting more on this topic on my blog because I think it is so important:  http://www.moneylinkpro.wordpress.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Stanganelli/100001253984798 Steve Stanganelli

    I am a financial adviser. I have added college financial planning strategies to my practice because the comments I heard on the show and that are posted here are similar to what I have encountered. Surprisingly, the cost of college can actually be less to go to a private school (not necessarily the Ivies but that’s possible, too) than it is to go to a public college. As one caller noted, the problem is that guidance counselors are overwhelmed (about 300 students per counselor on average) and they and parents don’t know how to navigate the system.  And without knowing this, “buyers” of higher education end up paying a higher price.  It is funny, too, that while the rest of the economy has seen pricing pressure, only higher ed (and in some ways health care) seems immune from pricing pressure. People need to get educated about their options.  There’s more to paying for college than just funding a 529 plan.  Too often I find folks come to me with kids who are already in high school. They don’t know how to use cash flow and tax strategies to lower the overall cost of school and probably qualify for more aid as well.  Without taking these proactive steps, we’ll end up with two crises: retirement – for the parents who will sacrifice saving for it; and ballooning education financing burden on the next generations.

    I will be commenting more on this topic on my blog because I think it is so important:  http://www.moneylinkpro.wordpress.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Stanganelli/100001253984798 Steve Stanganelli

    I am a financial adviser. I have added college financial planning strategies to my practice because the comments I heard on the show and that are posted here are similar to what I have encountered. Surprisingly, the cost of college can actually be less to go to a private school (not necessarily the Ivies but that’s possible, too) than it is to go to a public college. As one caller noted, the problem is that guidance counselors are overwhelmed (about 300 students per counselor on average) and they and parents don’t know how to navigate the system.  And without knowing this, “buyers” of higher education end up paying a higher price.  It is funny, too, that while the rest of the economy has seen pricing pressure, only higher ed (and in some ways health care) seems immune from pricing pressure. People need to get educated about their options.  There’s more to paying for college than just funding a 529 plan.  Too often I find folks come to me with kids who are already in high school. They don’t know how to use cash flow and tax strategies to lower the overall cost of school and probably qualify for more aid as well.  Without taking these proactive steps, we’ll end up with two crises: retirement – for the parents who will sacrifice saving for it; and ballooning education financing burden on the next generations.

    I will be commenting more on this topic on my blog because I think it is so important:  http://www.moneylinkpro.wordpress.com.

  • Dirhart

    As a community college professor, and the father of a daughter who just graduated from Wake Forest, I would like to have extended this discussion in a couple of ways.  The real middle class (not poor enough to get Pell Grants, etc., nor rich enough to write the big checks) is the group that is really caught in this dilemma.  More needs to be said about this.
    The change in the student body at these colleges is very striking to those of us who graduated years ago.  I worked summers and was able to pretty much pay my way through Wake 40 years ago.  Most of my friends were lower middle class guys from small towns in N.C. Today more than half the student body comes from outside the state, and many are very affluent.  My daughter, from a family with two teachers as parents, felt like the poor kid through most of her four years, and she was well taken care of.  The only reason she was able to attend this fine school was my dear departed mother’s money (it took it all), and scholarships (which just seemed to increase the EFC).  That, and being an only child.  But “on point.”  The economic imbalance that now exists on a small liberal arts campus is disturbing, as is the lack of not just racial diversity, but class diversity.

  • Sysyphus

    is anyone curious about what the politics and direction of the country may be with the most affluent students the most likely to hold influential positions, whether corporate, or political?

  • Nunyabusiness

    I suggest having them all take the PCL-R test.

  • Robinegg

    It’s always about MONEY!  This man can act “naive” but there is just so much money these colleges WANT  to use for scholarships.  And the privileged ones have the money…  

     now all the “scams” that are coming out about giving students loans that ultimately put a great burden on many

  • http://www.peterfosl.us KYSkeptic

    As a professor for 20 years at small, private liberal arts colleges who’s also taught at state universities, I’ve observed a shift over the last decades that this show hasn’t addressed: the presumption that commonly-regarded “top” colleges are in fact better than others, that it’s not a reasonable option for high-scoring students to choose, say Penn State over Yale (as a friend of mine did in the 80s). Years ago, people thought, certainly, that some colleges are better than others, but people also acknowledged that different colleges were better suited for different students and that many, many colleges offered fine educations, including public schools that don’t exclude high numbers of applicants. Increasingly, however, in large measure because of misleading indicators of educational value like the US News “rankings” as well as because we’ve turned away from egalitarian ideologies, people believe that there is a linear hierarchy of colleges for all students and that the higher ranked colleges are categorically better than those lower ranked. So, this program worries not why people have stopped regarding Penn State as just as fine an option for talented students as Yale but rather why fewer poor and middle class students are attending Yale. In other words, we face the problem not only of why the “top” schools are becoming increasingly engines of inequality but also why colleges not ranked as “top” colleges are less and less regarded as engines of fine education. The wealthy are collecting more and more in the gated (selective) “top” schools. But the problem isn’t just that the poor and middle class are moving into the gated communities but also that the wealthy won’t live anywhere else and that we on the outside have come to agree that nowhere besides the gated communities else is a good place to live (or be educated).

  • Guest

    As a community college professor for 13 years, I confirm the comments by my colleagues from various university positions who have commented here.  But, one observation I am compelled to make is that if we subscribe to the idea that higher education admission should be based exclusively on academic merit, then we are discriminating based on class–too many students from working-class families are graduates of low-performing schools that don’t prepare them for the SAT/ACT or college-level course work. We are simply maintaining the status quo as the educated become more educated while simultaneously creating an economic glass ceiling within our society. I want to teach students who want to learn, regardless if they have had a quality public school preparation. I have been trained to teach the most under-prepared students in my community and it is a challenge I believe benefits all of us by giving opportunity for more Americans to give back to our country.

  • Slipstream

    I thought there was some confusing information in this show.  Mr. Strohl starts out by saying that talented, lower-income kids are being passed over by a lot of colleges.  But nobody pointed out the problem here – that it is in the interest of schools, both state and private, to accept kids from wealthier families because they are more likely to donate money in the years and decades to come.  None of this is ever stated as policy, in fact many schools say they have “need-blind” admissions, but it is hard not to notice that it goes on.  I don’t think it is because the people who run colleges are elitist or racist or biased against kids from humble backgrounds.  But how are you going to change the basic economics of the situation? 

    Then the 2 college presidents got on and talked about how their schools do not favor well-off white kids, and how diversity and supporting students from less influential backgrounds is essential.  That sounds good, but how is this to be accomplished in an era of shrinking budgets and weakening government support for education?  I think more needs to be discussed here – it is a big subject.

  • Anonymous

    Some good comments below. The point, of course, is that we cannot allow this sort of behavior to continue.  I say more about this on my blog http://www.nicholasmusings.com/Philosophical%20Musings/files/a864c84fd74fe87d9df19adf33067cf6-145.html

  • Lecyoj

    how many yrs to be an x-ray tech

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