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Posts Tagged ‘College’

Study Shows Many Colleges no Longer Educate

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 1, 2014

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit advocate for college/university accountability has issued a critical report on the efficacy of college or university degrees in the United States.  The report concluded:

  • Examples of weaknesses include that graduates do not know: 1) the US congressional term length, 2) what the Emancipation Proclamation was, 2) or the lead Revolutionary War general at Yorktown.
  • Few colleges today mandate core subject courses such as U.S. government, history or economics. (This may help explain the incompetence of the current President.)
  • Only 18% of colleges require an American history course to graduate with only 13% requiring a foreign language and a mere 3% one in economics. (It is likely that these Progressive educators fear that an economics education would out the incompetent fiscal management of our government.)
  • Whittier College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California was graded an F because it required only one core course; composition. This school had no requirement for courses in literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science.  Incredible!  Two other of the 98 schools that received F’s were Wesleyan University, Connecticut and Brown University, Rhode Island.
  • Only 23 schools received grades of A’s from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni with one being Christopher Newport University in Virginia that required students to take core courses including literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science.

A recent book titled “Academically Adrift” followed a group of freshman who graduated between 2009 in 2010.  It concluded that the followed students studied only an average of five hours per week.  In addition, for 2013 30% of the group earned less than $30,000 annually in full-time jobs.  While it is hard to justify a college degree based on results, these results are understandable given the low quality of the offered education.

There is a growing chorus questioning the value of a college or university degree.  At the same time the cost of the education has skyrocketed faster than the rate of inflation, a direct result of governmental subsidizes for the cost/borrowing for tuition.  This broken system should have been repaired long ago, but power of the education industry circumvented repairs.  However, as with any free lunch, there are always consequences and changes that intervene and stop the cycle.  Two currently attacking the education industry include poor economic conditions and job market, and the Internet that will move much education online causing significant financial damage to bricks and mortar schools.

As competition for students increase with the education industry encountering the new economic realities, schools that supply real educations will survive with feel-good institutions becoming irrelevant.

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Student Loan Bubble

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 25, 2014

Evidence of bubbles is becoming more apparent by the day. The first-quarter GDP figures were revised downward today by the Commerce Department by 2.9%. Irrespective of this ominous indicator, the stock market went up. These two opposing occurrences in one day indicates that risk fear has evaporated from investors who believe that with ever continuing Federal Reserve lose money policies the market will to rise indefinitely. These investors sound eerily similar to those that invested in the housing bubble in the early 2000’s. It did not and pretty for that group

Equity valuations are not the only bubble that is growing. Another one with dangerous implications for the economy is student loan debt that now exceeds $1 trillion, greater than the total Americans’ credit card debt. This excessive debt has been saddled on younger Americans who are having difficulty finding jobs. It will be a weight on their shoulders for years to come further inhibiting long-term economic growth.

Successful businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was interviewed by Inc. Magazine where he correctly stated the dangers of the student loan bubble:

“It’s inevitable at some point there will be a cap on student loan guarantees.  And when that happens you’re going to see a repeat of what we saw in the housing market: when easy credit for buying or flipping a house disappeared we saw a collapse in the price housing, and we’re going to see that same collapse in the price of student tuition, and that’s going to lead to colleges going out of business.”

The brief video clip below states a problem, which to a great extent, has been of the making of the US government and its interventions into the student loan program. Not only has the government’s involvement saddled younger Americans with unnecessary debt, but it’s facilitating of this debt has led to significantly increased cost of higher education further exasperating this debt issue. Had student loans not been subsidized and backed by the government, higher educational institutions would have been forced to create more economic ways to educate (serve) their customers, students.

When the higher education bubble pops we can look for a taxpayer bailout that will further inhibit long-term economic growth. As we search for reasons why the current recovery is the most anemic since the Great Depression, we can look at the government interventions and regulations as primary causes.

Posted in Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Student Loan Bubble Caused by Government Intervention in Higher Education

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 31, 2013

Infowars.com posted detailed information concerning the student loan bubble that is about to pop.  The information includes:

  • There are 37 million Americans with outstanding student loans.
  • Of the outstanding student loans, the US Department of Education reports that 11% are at least 90 days delinquent.  This record high is double what it was 10 years ago.
  • Total student loans exceed $1 trillion, the second greatest consumer debt after mortgages.
  • In the past 10 years the amount of student loan debt has risen an incredible 275%.

student debtDebt that does result in future productivity gains becomes a long-term drain on the economy.  One reason is that highly indebted individuals cannot consume products or services.  While the education industry claims that a college degree is necessary to better one’s future earning power, the facts tell a different story.  For example, half of all college graduates work in jobs that do not require a college degree.

One statistic is very telling relating to the growing student debt.  In the past 35 years the cost of college tuition has risen faster than even the skyrocketing cost of medical care.  The reason is simple; governmental intervention.  The government, through grants and subsidized loans, has made easy for the educational industry to raise prices.  Had the government not subsidies the educational industry they would have been forced to supply services at lower prices for them to be affordable.

The negative impact on over indebted individuals and the drain the debt will place on the economy for years are just two issues America will face from inept governmental policies.  In addition, much of this debt has been taken on by the federal government adding to the taxpayers’ liability.

The federal government has completely mismanaged higher education and its industry.  Remarkably, the American people, through the election of this President, have turned over an even larger part of the economy, healthcare, to the same inept government.  Those that expect different results are out of touch with reality.

Posted in Education, Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Student Debt Soars

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 26, 2012

1Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released the figures for overall student debt in the United States.  The numbers are of concern for the economy.  The total student debt now exceeds $1 trillion, 16% higher than estimated by the Federal Reserve just one year ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the huge student debt will be a drag on the economy for some time as it will cause potential buyers to delay housing purchases and therefore recovery in the important housing market.  The Journal also reports that this debt has soared because of more people going to college to escape the weak economic environment, as well as increased tuition costs.

The student debt is one of many over leveraged aspects of American society.  Ironically, some portion of this debt growth can be attributed to government’s intervention into the education market.  Through various loan and subsidy programs, the government has made it easier for many Americans to attend universities.  At the same time, this assistance allowed colleges and universities to increase tuition much quicker than inflation.  The unintended consequence of these student aid programs is not only increased tuition, but another debt bubble.  This is another example of why the government needs to stop the senseless market interventions.

Posted in Education, Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama Refuses to Release his College Transcripts

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 19, 2012

Realclearpolitics.com has reported on yet another refusal by President Obama to honor the transparency promise made while running for the presidency.  Reporter Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about Obama’s refusal to release his college transcripts in the following interchange:

Ed Henry, FOX News: “I don’t know how many years, maybe you do, George Romney released of his college transcripts, but Republicans like to complain that the President has not released his college transcripts.  What is the stated reason for that?”

Jay Carney, White House: “I would refer you to the campaign.  I think we’ve answered this a bunch.  The tradition of releasing income tax records for serious potential nominees, and nominees of the two parties is well established.  It’s not a law.  But it’s well established.  It’s one this President abided by when he was a Senator.  It’s one numerous Republicans and Democrats have abided by and we think it’s a good idea.”

Henry’s response was a clear effort to deflect from the question as he morphed the discussion from one of Obama’s college transcript to that of tax returns.  That’s the typical Washington two-step.

It is curious as to why President Obama refuses to release his college transcripts.  Either he is attempting to hide information or believes that the public does not have a right to the information.  Neither speaks well for the transparency that he so often promised when seeking

Posted in President Obama | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barack Obama’s Education Folly

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 10, 2011

During his run for the presidency, Barack Obama seemed to have all the answers.  He entered office with a mandate and with his party controlling both houses of Congress.  In a rather manic fashion, he pushed through significant legislation including the $800 billion Stimulus Package.  With great conviction, Obama promised that this Package would significantly increase economic activity and keep unemployment from exceeding 8%.  He also promised that significant Stimulus funds would go to “shovel ready” projects, but later admitted that they were not ready.  History shows his economic policies to have failed.

Three years into his presidency, Obama is attempting to change the narrative since he cannot run on his economic record.  Earlier this week, the President made one of his campaign style speeches in Osawatomie, Kansas.  It included Obama’s typical class warfare rhetoric and a call for raising taxes on wealthier Americans.  While higher taxes is not only likely, but also necessary to pay down the debt, Obama has no intention of using the revenue for deficit reduction.  Instead, he would do what politicians always do with increased taxes; spend more and increase the government’s control over its crony capitalism.

Earlier this week, former Congressman Dick Amery published an op-ed (posted below) that reviewed another flawed policy that Obama promoted in Osawatomie.  Obama indicated the desire to use some of the new revenue for “investing” in higher education stating: “We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools – we should be demanding more.  We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college – we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.”

Typical of progressives, Obama promotes spending more on higher education when in fact it was previous government interventions (spending) that damaged the system.  The cost of a higher education has been one of the fastest-growing expenses in the United States over recent decades.  The major cause for this increase has been the government’s support for student loan programs.  Schools were able to charge so much more because students were willing to pay for it.  Had government not made the student loans so accessible were inexpensive, the market would have forced colleges and universities to temper cost increases.  In addition, moving the cost of higher education from the family to government supported loans lowered the pressure on students to be concerned with loan payback.  As a result, many college graduates do not have the skills that the employers need.

Obama overemphasizes the importance of higher education and a successful economy.  The middle-class of previous decades was mainly created by high-paying manufacturing jobs.  As the bubble years developed, the manufacturing jobs was replaced by bankers, paper pushers of all types and government workers.  With the popping of the bubble, the market is taking corrective actions and eliminating inefficient or unnecessary jobs.  Increased education will not change this reality.

As Amery says in his op-ed; Many of our current devices today were created by men and women with little academic background.  Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard University to start his own software company.  The company successfully became one of the leading software providers and Gates ranks consistently among the world’s wealthiest people.”  Another good example is the recently deceased Steve Jobs who also dropped that the college. Successful businesses are created by highly motivated and talented individuals.  This trait is not taught in colleges and is not created by government spending.

Good Education Is Important, But Not as Vital as a Job

Dick Armey. December 9, 2011

President Barack Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kan., called for higher taxes on the rich and an increase of investment – not for businesses – but in national education.

“It starts by making education a national mission – a national mission.  Government and businesses, parents and citizens.  In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class.  The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  And their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  Which means we shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now – we should be hiring them.

“We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools – we should be demanding more.  We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college – we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.”

This should be a concern for young people who feel obligated to achieve a higher education, but are not finding jobs available.  President Obama’s solution for investing in a national education is not going to cut it – we need serious economic reform.

The fact of the matter is that youth unemployment is the highest in the nation of any major demographic – resting at 17.4 percent.  It is now expected for young people to achieve a higher education in order to have a chance of gaining a job.

Jobs are not being created.  The unemployment rate for the country is around 8.6 percent and the workforce is continuing to shrink.  A main reason why young people are struggling to find jobs is because older, unemployed people with more experience are willing to take lesser-paid jobs – the jobs usually taken by the youth.

Thanks to this poor job market, Time magazine reports that 85 percent of last year’s college graduates had to move back in with their parents.  Not only are they stuck at home, they’re stuck with no way to pay their massive student loans.

Younger people have been taken by the hand of big government and ushered into high education with government-provided loans at artificially low interest rates.  This type of fiscally unsound economic policy is exactly what led to the housing bubble.

Accumulated student debt is over $1 trillion dollars and the average debt held by each student is $26,300.  The future for young people is uncertain and rightfully so – to pay off these massive debts, young people need income.  With no jobs and student loans left unpaid, young people will be indebted to big government.

President Obama is convinced: Investing in national education will create a well-educated workforce that will magically solve America’s economic woes on its own.  This is faulty rhetoric and unprecedented logic – education does not create jobs singlehandedly.  Education is important, but entrepreneurship, innovation, and sound free-market policies give businesses more freedom and outlets to create jobs.

For example, the 1920s serve as a decade of excellence that Washington should reflect on.  Rather than investing solely in education, big government economic policies were replaced with market-friendly conditions that created jobs and lead to a booming economy.

I want to highlight a key fact about this decade – when free-market policies were implemented, America experienced an incredible inflection of patent grants.  Innovators were in abundance and the amount of new product markets skyrocketed.  New ideas flourished and jobs followed – the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 3.2 percent.

Our economy demands innovation, not just education.  So President Obama is wrong – education alone certainly is not what makes an economy flourish.  Freedom, innovation, and acting-upon ideas are what move the economy and cause it to grow.  This is not happening under the current policies.

Many of our current devices today were created by men and women with little academic background.  Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard University to start his own software company.  The company successfully became one of the leading software providers and Gates ranks consistently among the world’s wealthiest people.

We face an economy where it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a successful innovator.  Young people are being whipped-up in a whirl of confusion and uncertainty – they want answers and they are looking for a leader to provide them.  President Obama’s rhetorical claims and failed economic policies are leading young people down an unsustainable road.

Education is a great thing, but right now the education being subsidized by the Obama administration is only leading to endless debt, not employment.

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

College Tuition Continues to Climb

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 30, 2011

The Wall Street Journal published the most recent statistics on the cost of a college education and it’s not pretty.  Four-year college tuition continues rising at rates that far exceed inflation.

According to the Journal, the cost of in-state tuition for state-supported schools in the past year has increased by over 8%.  Along with room and board it now exceeds $17,000 annually.  While private colleges fared better, their tuition fees did rise by 4.5%, an amount that also exceeds the inflation rate.  When added to room and board the total cost now averages $38,000 per year.

State-supported college costs have increased more than private institutions because of the poor financial condition of many states.  As states are forced to cover ever increasing costs that include public workers’ pensions and other benefits, an especially difficult task during the ongoing economic downturn, they are forced to cut contributions to state-supported colleges.  This is another example of governments moving ever larger slices of the financial pie from younger Americans to the Baby Boomers.

In addition to the difficult economy, there is an even more insidious reason behind the out-of-control increases in college cost; governmental intervention.  Through governmental programs that have significantly grown over the years including Pell Grants, veterans benefits, the 2009 implementation of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the government has made it easier for students to pay their college bills.  While these programs are well intentioned, they have allowed the college industry to be less efficient and that has resulted in their costs increasing significantly more than the rate of inflation.  In fact, the cost of a college education is one of the few services in the United States to increase faster than the cost of healthcare.  However, unlike healthcare where new technologies and services have been added, the services supplied in a college education has remained relatively constant.

The government’s meddling in higher education has turned out like other interventions.  The results look similar to what occurred in the housing industry in the past decade.  First, through easy money and subsidies, the government helped pump up housing prices.  This unnatural intervention led to a bubble and oversupply that ultimately popped bringing the economy to its knees.  In the education industry, the government’s interventions led to easy tuition money that then led to students willing to overpay for the services.  In addition, an increasing number of students received degrees of dubious value and many now have debt for which they cannot repay due to a lack of jobs.

Unfortunately, instead of learning from the failures of past interventions, the government continues doubling down on bad bets with still further interventions to correct previous mistakes.  This will only lead to other market dislocations and still further corrective actions.  These Progressives will never learn and the government industry will continue pursuing strategies that further their own well-being.

Posted in Education, Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Leftist College Professor has Students Attend “Occupy” Rally

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 16, 2011

As reported by the Blaze.com, a professor at Northern Michigan University offered students extra credit for taking part in an Occupy protest.  Sociology Professor Jeanne Lorentzen offered 20 credits to attend the Occupy the Upper Peninsula rally on Saturday.  Students that did not attend may instead write a 20-page term paper about a social movement and receive the same 20 credits.

It is clear that Professor Lorentzen’s motivations are purely political.  Her offer to students to write the alternative term paper for the same credit is a ruse. Giving college students the choice of a walk in the park or writing a lengthy term paper is tantamount to no choice at all.

The Blaze.com did some research on the good professor and found that her Facebook profile is loaded with Leftist political leanings including backing Occupy Wall Street rallies.  Her true intent is included in her comments about the assignment that include: “The Occupy Movement is not aligned with any particular political party as it focuses on a multitude of social inequalities a topic we’ve been studying for the last week, and which we will continue to study (Global Stratification) for the next week.”   The Occupy movements have a strong and often radical Leftist bent.  It doesn’t take a PhD to know that nearly all in this movement are more closely allied to the Democrats than Republicans.  For Ms. Lorentzen to suggest otherwise indicates she is either being disingenuous or lying.  Neither makes her fit to teach young people. However, she undoubtedly has tenure.

Professor Lorentzen is continuing the indoctrination techniques that elitist Leftist has used in education for generations.  Her use of expensive educational time to promote liberal causes helps explain why reasons college graduates have obtain degrees that have not prepared them for the jobs that society actually requires.

It is interesting that Leftist educators like Professor Lorentzen attack the money grabbing ways of capitalist while ignoring similar traits in America’s higher educational system.  The cost of a college education has risen significantly more than the rate of inflation for years.  It is likely that Professor Lorentzen’s promotion of the Occupy movements is not only due to her Leftist leanings, but also self-serving; i.e. to keep the gravy train going in the education business.

Posted in Occupy Wall Streed, Radical Left | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Can’t Learn, Go to College

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 31, 2010

Progressives are always on the lookout for those in need of their assistance.  Those in need are the prime vehicles that Progressives use to give the government more power.  Dr. Robert Weissberg, a professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois, published an article at Americanthinker.com titled, College for Those How Can’t Learn that reviews yet another example of Progrssives gone wild.

This story starts with an issue all would agree on.  There are those born with the terrible misfortune of being mentally handicapped that includes maladies such as Down Syndrome, autism, and mental retardation.  But from this simple point Progressives degenerate into illogic that calls for the creation of additional governmental bureaucracies, spending and power to the government. i.e. Progressives.

In the example discussed by Weissberg, Progressives start by grouping mental maladies together into a large pool in order to create a more powerful special interest group and to simplify the call for action.  This often requires a new politically correct term, in this case “intellectually disabled.  Then it’s on to the grab for power and money.  Those who dare challenge the Progressive’s are then accused of being heartless, a bigoted, or some other nonsense designed to cut off any debate.

In College for Those How Can’t Learn, Dr. Weissberg discusses the illogic and problems caused by the programs created for the “intellectually disabled” special interest that includes:

  • Eight years ago there were four colleges with programs for the intellectually disabled.  This grew to 250 by 2009.  [The success in this progressive power grab is evident and typical.]
  • Congress appropriated over $10 million for 27 model projects to help coach affected youngsters into college.  [Thus  Congress actually created a program to insure that those in need know that they are in need.  Seems ironic that we need to tell parents what their children need; pure Progressivisms.]
  • There is now a growing political lobby for the intellectually disabled.  [When government money is available, it is inevitable that the lobbyist will be gunning for it.]
  • The push to get intellectually disabled is the “logical” progression of the mainstreaming movement in elementary and secondary schools.  [The slippery slope of the ill-conceived mainstreaming program has its tentacles.]
  • Mentally impaired students cannot achieve success in what is considered college level material.  So the institutions are creating programs to teach lower-level skills.  This lowering of the bar is justified by the excuse that the disadvantaged  students deserve the “college experience.”  [This is a continuation of illogic and the slippery slope that began long ago.  If tests scores are not high enough, simplify the tests or blame a social bias.]
  • Placing the intellectually disabled into the college life also means exposing them to alcohol, drugs and sex, experiences that are challenging enough for any young adult with their  overactive hormones.  [This picture is so obvious and has the potential to be too ugly to deserve further comment.]
  • U.S. Department of Education reported that as of 2010, not a single student enrolled in a program for the intellectually disabled has received a degree from a two-year college or a four-year institution.  [Like all governmental programs, failure never means ending the experiment.  The best example is the U.S. Department of Energy created in the Carter Administration that was charged with ending America’s dependence on foreign oil.  It has failed miserably, yet today, over 30-years later, the Department is larger and more expensive than ever.]
  • Intellectually disabled students require “college experience” facilitators, i.e. more cost and resources.  [The need for more lawyers and bureaucrats is a given and the result of any governmental program.  Beside the drain on the overall society, these new jobs create an even larger pool of workers dependent on the government for incomes.  This ever growing base of dependent workers helps insure that Progrssives remain in power.]

Our colleges and universities should be charged with turning out educated and motivated citizens for the betterment of society as a whole.  By forcing these institutions to accept students who cannot further this prime goal, we degrade the over quality of the graduates and waste resources for non-core objectives.

Since the early 1960’s, Progressives have imposed hugely expensive and bureaucratic programs on society.  There is much common with these programs and the way they were initially sold to the public.  Typically this starts by defining a disenfranchised minority.  Then it evolves into creating governmental programs are promise to correct an ill that the disenfranchised group faces.  There are two problems with this approach.  First, the Constitution does not give the power to the Federal government for the intervention.  But just as important, the intervention never works.  How about a review of the Great Society programs initiated in the 1960’s?  How about a review of the Department of Energy?  The potential reviews are almost endless, but the results would be the same; failure.

Why do we continue down the failed approach of governmental interventions?  While part of the answer lies in good intentions gone wrong, it often  involves more selfish motivations.  “Industries” have grown out of the Progrssives’ vision of protecting Americans from themselves.  These industries of social workers, bureaucrats and lawyers, along with their Progressive political allies, have obtained much power and wealth from the programs.  The cost to society has been huge.

The Tea Party movement threatens this income stream for Progressives and that is why they have been so demonized by the Left.  Bring on the elections.

Posted in Governmental Intervention, Progressives | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »