Friday, June 28, 2013

Tuition lists released

The Department of Ed has released its <a href="">annual lists of the colleges with the highest/lowest tuition and net prices</a>, and a good summary is available <a href="">here</a>.

One nice thing about this list, as opposed to how "most expensive" data has been shown other places, is that in addition to listing the highest tuition as per the college catalog, it also lists net price, which takes into account financial aid. So, yes, Columbia University has the country's highest tuition, but it doesn't appear on the highest net price list.

But I noticed one particular finding: Among private, not-for-profit colleges, the music and art schools are way expensive. The top five for net price (and seven of the top ten) are art or music. Arts instruction is expensive because there is so much one-on-one teaching. Yet - what kind of earning potential do their graduates have? In current discussions of the cost of college, the job market, and both institutional and individual accountability, this is one sector that hasn't received much criticism. If we're going to discuss whether it's smart to get a philosophy B.A., we should also discuss whether a B.F.A is a smart move.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nate Silver's data analyses have become popular for a reason, and here's a new one I like on the "decline" of liberal arts.

In my structure of higher education course, we discuss the putative decline of liberal arts college, liberal arts majors, and the liberal arts in general - all three separate issues that tend to be conflated, even by the scholars studying them. Silver is focused on the second of those, the number of students majoring in the liberal arts, and he succinctly points out that about the same number of young people are going to college and getting English degrees as 40 years ago. It's just that more people are going to college, and we have pretty good reason to believe they are a different population of students. He doesn't unpack that notion very much, but expanding access and intensifying credentialing induces students who might not otherwise go to college to go, and they make different sets of choices. Students aren't converting away from English; we're gaining new vocational students.

I'm going to add this piece to reading list for structure for the fall semester.